A shot of students' graduation caps with people standing on stage in the background. Photo: Paul Jones

Graduation ceremonies to showcase amazing students

Graduation ceremonies to showcase amazing students

Honorary Doctorates, Emeritus Professorships to be awarded in first in-person ceremonies in more than two years

Thousands of students will have the opportunity to celebrate their graduation with family and friends when the University of Wollongong’s (UOW) graduation ceremonies are held this week.

From Monday (2 May) to Wednesday (4 May), more than 2500 students from all four UOW faculties – Science, Medicine and Health; Arts, Social Sciences and Humanities; Business and Law; and Engineering and Information Sciences – will don their caps and gowns to mark the end of their studies.

The ceremonies will be held in the UOW Sports Hub on the Wollongong Campus to accommodate the larger than normal numbers. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it is the first time in two and a half years that graduation ceremonies have been held in person and those who missed out on in-person graduation events over the past two years were invited to participate.

The University will also bestow eight Honorary Doctorates and Emeritus Professorships during graduation week.

Renowned artist Ben Quilty; internationally celebrated theatre producer Michael Cassel; environmentalist and Director of the Australian Museum Kim McKay AO FRSN; and Chief of the Royal Australian Navy, Vice Admiral Michael Noonan AO RAN will be recognised with Honorary Doctorates for their services to their respective fields.

UOW academics Professor Linda Tapsell AM, from the Faculty of Science, Medicine and Health; Distinguished Professor Shi Xue Dou AM and Distinguished Professor Hua Kun Liu AM, both of the Australian Institute of Innovative Material; and Professor Richard Kenchington, from the Australian National Centre for Ocean Resources and Security, will all be honoured with Emeritus Professorships. An Emeritus Professorship is conferred on staff who have demonstrated outstanding achievements and a significant contribution to the University. 

UOW Vice-Chancellor Professor Patricia M. Davidson said she was delighted that the University was finally able to recognise the achievements of the student cohort with in-person graduations.

“It has been a long road to holding graduation ceremonies in person, and despite our best intentions, the pandemic has thwarted us a number of times,” Professor Davidson said.

“Graduations are one of the happiest occasions for a university and a rite of passage for every student. Seeing our graduates off into the world, celebrating their success, their hard work, and their accomplishments, is a moment of immense pride for the entire university community. 

“We are so excited to be welcoming back our graduates, with their families and friends, on to our wonderful Wollongong campus for this momentous occasion. We will be celebrating in style.”

In acknowledgment of UOW’s campuses being located across several Aboriginal nations, UOW has been working to create new graduation traditions by weaving Aboriginal ceremonies into graduation.

The blending of ancient practices and European traditions brings to life UOW’s vision for an inclusive, reconciled and united Australia where Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are positioned as the knowledge holders of Country.

Australian singer Mahalia Barnes will perform the musical interlude at each graduation ceremony throughout the week.