The University of Newcastle, Australia

Central Coast Graduation

Thursday, 27 June 2013

More than 400 students will celebrate the completion of their studies at the Central Coast campus on Thursday 27 June and Friday 28 June.

Recognising the unique collaboration between the University of Newcastle, Hunter TAFE and the Central Coast Community College, students across the three institutions will gather at Ourimbah to celebrate their achievements.

Of the 485 students graduating, 427 have completed University of Newcastle programs, 50 have completed TAFE qualifications and a further eight are graduating from the Central Coast Community College.

An occasional speaker will address and inspire graduates at each of the five ceremonies over the two days.


Thursday 27 June – Central Coast business leader a champion of education and work-integrated learning

10am: Faculty of Business and Law, TAFE NSW – Hunter Institute and Central Coast Community College

Occasional Speaker: Mr Daniel FarmerDaniel Farmer

As Regional Manager of the Central Coast New South Wales Business Chamber since 2009, Mr Daniel Farmer provides a voice for Central Coast businesses, lobbying all levels of government to ensure a better commercial environment and providing support to businesses at all levels.

Starting his career as a trained automotive refinisher who gained his qualifications at the North Sydney Institute of TAFE in 1999 and progressing to the role of Chief Executive Officer of a successful firm, Mr Farmer has been deeply engaged with small businesses for the majority of his career, particularly on the Central Coast.

After five years in the automotive refinishing industry, a change in career direction resulted in Mr Farmer honing his skills in negotiation and sales with Ray White Real Estate at The Entrance. From February 2003, he worked with a small team on the start-up of Coast Edge Real Estate, formulating the business plans and overseeing the strategic implementation of the operations and staffing, soon after becoming its CEO.

This entrepreneurial spirit, as well as his extensive sales expertise, led to Mr Farmer successfully managing Australia's second largest circulating community newspaper, the Central Coast Express Advocate, to some of the highest revenue targets in its history. At the Express Advocate from 2005 to 2009, he managed a multi-million dollar budget and led a team of 22 sales, administration and production staff to produce four publications per week, in addition to two inserts.

Mr Farmer's evolving career path, working across a range of sectors, has armed him with an intricate understanding of the challenges small businesses face, which serves him well in his current position with the Central Coast New South Wales Business Chamber, a role that includes advocating on behalf of 650 member businesses on the Central Coast.

Mr Farmer has also been an active champion for the University, particularly our Central Coast campus. He strongly supports the benefits that education can bring to a community. Mr Farmer piloted the Central Coast rollout of the University's successful Work Integrated Learning Program, which connects students with relevant business and delivers real world experiences to students, in line with their learning requirements. He also initiated an annual business development and networking event with the University of Newcastle and Hunter TAFE to foster business relationships throughout the Central Coast region.

Thursday 27 June – A passion for cultivation of food businesses and wine

2pm: Faculty of Education and Arts and Faculty of Science and Information Technology

Occasional Speaker: Mr Bob KennedyBob Kennedy

With twin passions for the cultivation of both businesses and fine wine, Mr Bob Kennedy has had an outstanding career as a global business leader in the food technology industry. He is also a champion of the power of medical research to change lives, leading the University of Newcastle's Hunter Medical Research Institute as Chair of its Board for six years.

Mr Kennedy began his career in industrial engineering at Port Kembla before moving to the United Kingdom to work for British Insulated Callender's Cables (BICC), the largest non-ferrous cables manufacturer in the world. He moved with BICC to Malaysia before returning to Australia to work in management consulting and an exploration and planning role for Peko Wallsend followed by a stint with Reed Consolidated as CEO for the company's New Zealand operations.

For two decades from 1984 to 2004, Mr Kennedy provided leadership and strategic business expertise to some of the world's largest companies. In particular, Mr Kennedy served 11 years as CEO of Masterfoods Australia, owned by global food giant Mars Incorporated. During his time at Masterfoods Australia, Mr Kennedy grew the company's annual turnover from $50 million to $225 million and relocated its headquarters from Sydney to a new, larger facility at Wyong.

For three years until 2001 Mr Kennedy was Managing Director of Uncle Ben's of Australia, another division of Mars Incorporated. Based in Wodonga, Mr Kennedy grew sales six per cent per year to in excess of one billion dollars.  At the same time he managed the New Zealand operation of Mars, overseeing its petfood sales to a record $1 million a year.

He is a Fellow of Certified Practising Accountants, having graduated from the Australian National University in 1970 with a Bachelor of Economics.

A dedicated and passionate advocate for the Central Coast, Mr Kennedy became heavily involved in the Central Coast community and was a member of the group charged with reviewing the future provision of higher education on the Central Coast which included recommendations on the governance of the Central Coast campus.

Mr Kennedy is the former Chairman of the Hunter Medical Research Institute Board, a role he held for six years from 2007. Mr Kennedy was a driving force for the Institute during a period in which fundraising, research staff numbers and economic contribution all trebled. In 2012 he oversaw the appointment of international director Professor Michael Nilsson and the completion of the $90 million HMRI building.

During his career Mr Kennedy has also shared his expertise with various organisations, particularly in his other area of great passion: wine. He served as Director of the Hunter Valley Wine Industry Association from 2005 to 2010; led the Broke Fordwich Wine Association as President for two years until 2007; and is currently on the trust board for Masterfoods Superannuation Fund and Director of the Trustee for the Mars Retirement Plan.

With his wife Therese, Mr Kennedy runs Beyond Broke Vineyard in the Hunter Valley, recently completing its 15th vintage, with the slogan "If it ain't broke, don't drink it."


Thursday 27 June – "The Little Rev" - a social justice campaigner

6pm: Faculty of Education and Arts

Occasional Speaker: Reverend Elenie PoulosElenie Poulos

A Minister of the Uniting Church in Australia, for the past 11 years Reverend Poulos has been the National Director of Uniting Justice Australia, an agency responsible for the development of policy, advocacy and education on issues of social justice, peace and the environment.

She is a passionate communicator whose Christian faith drives her to work for justice and the compassionate treatment of asylum seekers and refugees. This theme – of communication harnessed to achieve the goal of a fairer and more just world – runs throughout Reverend Poulos' remarkable career.

A love of language and the written word led to Reverend Poulos beginning her career in the publishing industry. Graduating with a Bachelor of Arts in Linguistics at the University of Sydney in 1986, Reverend Poulos' first role in the publishing sector was as a trainee editor at an educational publishing house. However, her call to theology came soon after and she ended her publishing career in 1989 as senior editor at Simon and Schuster Australia.

The desire for learning remained strong, and Reverend Poulos completed a Masters of Arts in Language Education in 1994 prior to being ordained in 1995. The following year she graduated with a Bachelor of Theology from the Sydney College of Divinity. Educating young people became her passion, with her first Ministry role as the chaplain at MLC School Burwood, where she remained for six years until 2001.

Reverend Poulos is equally passionate about providing leadership within the Uniting Church, and on behalf of the church, through public advocacy, political lobbying and education. She is a campaigner and expert speaker on asylum seekers and refugees, climate change, domestic human rights and justice for Indigenous Australians. In her role, she communicates the church's vision for a just and peaceful society in the public sphere.

Reverend Poulos is the Chairperson of Act for Peace and is a member of the World Council of Churches' advisory group, the Commission of the Churches on International Affairs. She is Interim Chair of the newly formed Australia Churches Refugee Taskforce and represents the Uniting Church on a variety of national civil society networks.

As a professional communicator, Reverend Poulos understands the need to shape her message through channels that have global reach. She has embraced new technologies, in particular social media, to share her views and advocate for a more just society. Through her blog, "The Little Rev", and her Twitter account, she communicates her sermons, opinions and experiences on issues such as refugees, social justice and human rights to a broad audience worldwide.

Reverend Poulos is also now working towards a Doctorate in Public Theology and Human Rights at Macquarie University.

Friday 28 June – Driven to break down health barriers to address disadvantage

6pm: Faculty of Health

Occasional Speaker: Mrs Judith HopwoodJudith Hopwood

A Member of the NSW Parliament and the first female representative for the electorate of Hornsby - a role she held for over nine years – Mrs Hopwood started her career in a profession that many of you here today will go on to share: nursing.

She originally trained as a Registered General Nurse at Sydney's Royal North Shore Hospital, graduating in 1976 and later obtaining a Child and Adolescent Health Certificate at the New South Wales College of Nursing.

Following her graduation, Mrs Hopwood practised as a nurse for two decades, working across fields as varied as surgical, accident and emergency, recovery room and intensive care, nurse education and management. Her passion for learning new skills never abated; in 1995, after transferring to community nursing at the Sydney Home Nursing Centre, Mrs Hopwood earned the Edith Cavell Scholarship at the NSW College of Nursing.

Throughout her remarkable career, Mrs Hopwood has thrived on breaking down barriers to address disadvantage. As the first Executive Director of the New South Wales branch of The Australian Podiatry Association, a role she was appointed to in 1988, Mrs Hopwood contributed to the establishment of a foot clinic at the Matthew Talbot Hostel for homeless men. She also supported the set-up of fly-in/fly-out podiatry services to underserviced rural and remote areas such as Bourke, Brewarinna, Lightning Ridge and Walgett.

In 1996, Mrs Hopwood's career took a significant turn when she exchanged the familiar environment of the hospital ward for the uncharted territory of Federal politics.

Taking on the position of office manager and media advisor for the Honourable Phillip Ruddock, the then-Minister for Immigration and Multicultural Affairs, she rapidly adapted to this new challenge, learning Parliamentary procedures and media management as well as gaining the skills in community engagement that would stand her in good stead for her future political career.

During this fast-paced period of her life, Mrs Hopwood also undertook further study, completing a Master of Bioethics at the University of Technology in 1997.

Given a taste of politics, Parliamentary service became Mrs Hopwood's main focus and in 2002, she was elected to the New South Wales Parliament in the Legislative Assembly as the sixth Member for Hornsby and the first female representative for the area.  Mrs Hopwood represented Hornsby for more than nine years, in which she was an active champion for social issues and public health reform, before retiring from politics in 2011.

Her commitment to serving the community is reflected in her membership on the Northern Sydney Local Health District Board and the Board of the Schizophrenia Fellowship of New South Wales. Mrs Hopwood is also patron of numerous community organisations in the Hornsby, Kuring-gai and Berowa areas; and she is a life member of the Royal North Shore Graduate Nurses' Association.

A true lifelong learner, Mrs Hopwood is currently pursuing her fifth educational qualification, undertaking PhD studies at Avondale College on the very important issue of homelessness.


Friday 28 June – Acclaimed journalist 'shines light' on sexual abuse allegations

2pm: English Language and Foundation Studies Centre Attainment Ceremony

Occasional Speaker: Ms Joanne McCarthyJoanne McCarthy

Ms McCarthy is an accomplished newspaper journalist, who for the past 11 years has written for the Newcastle Herald. In March, her campaign to uncover the truth about child sexual abuse allegations in the Catholic Church earned her one of the highest accolades of her profession, the prestigious Graham Perkin Australian Journalist of the Year award.

Like many of you here today, Ms McCarthy's road to tertiary study was not a straightforward one. In 1977, Ms McCarthy began training as a nurse at Sydney's Royal Prince Alfred Hospital but soon realised that a career in journalism was her true vocation. In 1980 she began honing her skills at the free weekly Central Coast newspaper the Gosford Star, before moving to the Central Coast Express Advocate.

In 1996, while still working at the Express Advocate, Ms McCarthy began the University of Newcastle's Open Foundation course, originally entertaining thoughts of a shift to a career in the law. Ultimately, her love of journalism prevailed, and she went on to study a Bachelor of Arts at the University of Newcastle, during which time she progressed to the Newcastle Herald, the Hunter's largest local media organisation and the only Newcastle-based daily newspaper serving the Hunter and Central Coast. In 2003, Ms McCarthy crossed this very stage to graduate with her Bachelor of Arts.

It soon became clear that law's loss was journalism's gain, as Ms McCarthy's investigative skills and unwavering commitment to justice resulted in one of the highlights of her stellar career.

It was at the Newcastle Herald that Ms McCarthy, with the support of her editor Chad Watson, initiated the Shine the Light campaign to highlight child sexual abuse claims within the Catholic Church. Her determination to uncover the truth earned her praise from her industry peers and community, and the 2012 Graham Perkin Australian Journalist of the Year award.

Such commitment did not come without great personal cost.  During her campaign for justice, Ms McCarthy faced significant resistance from established orthodoxies, including the Church, the police force and many in the community. Ms McCarthy has recounted these obstacles in her award-winning series of articles, and it is a great tribute to her journalistic grit and personal resolve that she persisted in her search for the truth.

In November last year, Prime Minister Julia Gillard announced a Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.  The commission is examining the history of educational institutions, religious groups, sporting organisations, state institutions and youth organisations. This major national inquiry, and the closure it could bring to the many victims of child sexual abuse across the country, might never have happened were it not for Ms McCarthy's series of groundbreaking articles.

  • Carmen Swadling
  • Phone: +61 2 4985 4276 or 0428 038 477

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