11 November 2020: Thirty-six Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander student graduates were recognised in a graduation event at the Ann Harding Centre at the University of Canberra this week.
The graduates, who completed their studies this year, were given the opportunity to celebrate with the rest of their cohort and listen to words from University of Canberra Chancellor Professor Tom Calma AO.
Professor Calma extended his congratulations to the group and their families, who were in attendance.
“It is a real honour in this year of great adversity that included the fires, hail and COVID that our students have been able to continue to progress their studies and graduate,” Professor Calma said.
“It's great recognition of their efforts and a vote of appreciation to all the staff who have helped make it happen.”
Professor Calma said that the University of Canberra is a great place for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students to come and study.
“Each year our spread of Indigenous students across all disciplines is increasing, which is welcomed. We are well-placed to be a go-to university for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students to study,” Professor Calma said.
University of Canberra Pro Vice-Chancellor Indigenous, Professor Peter Radoll, said it is important to recognise the achievements and successes of the University’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cohort.
“We’re very proud of these students, many of whom are the first in their family to receive a university education,” Professor Radoll said.
“It’s important to take this opportunity to celebrate and congratulate them on what is an outstanding achievement.”
The Ngunnawal Centre at the University of Canberra has been in operation for over 30 years, supporting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students throughout their studies. The Centre provides academic, personal, and cultural support to students.
“Many of our graduates have been regular visitors to the Centre and benefited greatly from the services provided,” Professor Radoll said.
“They’ve also made connections with the Ngunnawal Centre staff so being able to say a proper farewell is a meaningful moment for them.”
Bachelor of Physiotherapy graduate Adam Doyle attended the event, after he became the first Indigenous graduate in his degree at UC. He said that being UC’s first Indigenous physiotherapy graduate is ‘surreal’.
“I actually had no idea that I would be the University of Canberra’s first Indigenous Physiotherapy graduate until I was nearing the end of my degree and was told by my course convener,” Mr Doyle said.
“Now I know there are other Indigenous students in the first or second year of their physio degree who I’ve actually reached out to so I can offer a bit of support to them.”