The University of Newcastle, Australia

Students celebrate success at Callaghan graduation

Monday, 16 December 2019

More than 1,000 University of Newcastle students will doff their caps and celebrate the results of thousands of hours of study this week at its graduation ceremonies.

The series of ceremonies will take place from 16-18 December at the University’s Callaghan campus.

Bachelor of Nursing student Jessica Coleman is among the students celebrating their success. Jessica was involved in a camping accident in January 2018, suffering third degree burns to 40% of her body. With an appetite to prove anything is possible, the first-in-family student defied the odds to finish her degree in her burns suit, and even added a baby to the mix, with daughter Mia Grace joining the family earlier this year.

The day will also be special for PhD student Alaa Al-Ahmad, who is graduating with a Doctor of Philosophy in Physics. As part of his studies, Alaa has designed and created a 10-coloured, LED-based solar simulator to help develop a sustainable energy solution. After a severe thunderstorm caused damage to the simulator, Alaa only became more determined to finish his work, with his findings going on to be presented in publications, journals and at conferences.

The ceremonies will also see honorary doctorates awarded to former Senator for NSW, the Honourable Arthur Sinodinos AO; former Pro Vice-Chancellor of the University of Newcastle’s Faculty of Education and Arts and current Charles Sturt University Provost and Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic), Professor John Germov; Conjoint Lecturer in vision impairment at the Royal Institute for Deaf and Blind Children Renwick Centre, Dr Frances Gentle AO; former politician and trade unionist and current Chair of Industry Super Australia and funds management business, IFM Investors, the Honourable Greg Combet AM; renowned journalist and author, Ross Gittins AM; and Blue Bird Group President-Director, philanthropist and entrepreneur, Noni Purnomo.

University of Newcastle Vice-Chancellor, Professor Alex Zelinsky AO, paid tribute to this year’s graduates.

“Graduation is a special time for everyone connected with the University. There’s a real buzz around the place, not only on the day, but in the run up to the ceremonies too,” Professor Zelinsky said.

“It’s an opportunity for us to all to celebrate the amazing achievements of our students, as well as our staff, and be inspired by the many wonderful stories of determination and hard work around us.

“I have no doubt that the future is very bright for our graduates, and I look forward to welcoming them into our growing and inspiring global network of alumni.”

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