UOW Shoalhaven highlight student achievements with in-person graduation ceremonies
Vice-Chancellor Professor Patricia Davidson takes part in academic procession during event in Nowra
More than 60 students from the University of Wollongong (UOW) Shoalhaven celebrateed their graduation yesterday (Thursday, 28 April), the first time they have been able to do so since the COVID-19 pandemic.
The graduation ceremony was held at Shoalhaven Entertainment Centre in Nowra, with students from UOW’s Faculty of Business and Law; Arts, Social Sciences, and Humanities; and Science, Medicine and Health marking the end of their studies.
Professor Patricia M. Davidson, UOW Vice-Chancellor, attended the ceremony and took part in the academic procession.
“Graduations are one of the happiest occasions for a university. I am excited to be able to celebrate with the outstanding students from UOW Shoalhaven, and to recognise their hard work, tenacity, and triumph during these tough last few years,” Ms Davidson said.
“UOW’s regional campuses are incredibly important to the University and to the communities which we serve. It is a privilege to be able to take part in these graduation ceremonies, as to celebrate our amazing students from all walks of life.”
Chris Hadley, Campus Manager at UOW Shoalhaven, said the staff at the regional campus were delighted to be able to celebrate the students’ success during the in-person ceremony.
“It is wonderful to be able to see our students graduate, after two years of so many bumps in the road. Being a smaller campus, we are there for every step of the students’ journeys, so it feels particularly poignant to be able to see our students take their knowledge and skills in to the world,” Mr Hadley said.
“UOW Shoalhaven is a special place, for the students, staff, and wider community. We are thrilled to have the Vice-Chancellor with us on Thursday to celebrate our students and their academic and personal achievements.”
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.
Penelope McMillan, who completed a Bachelor of Nursing at UOW Shoalhaven in 2021, will deliver a vote of thanks during the ceremony, on behalf of the student cohort.
Originally from Numbaa in the Shoalhaven, Penelope said being able to study locally at UOW Shoalhaven was an “amazing experience”.
“I wanted to become a nurse because I wanted to go out and help people,” she said. “The nurses that I have interacted with have always been so lovely and kind, and this was a way to help out the community.
“I’ve loved studying at UOW Shoalhaven. Everyone has been supportive and kind, the tutors are wonderful. You are on a first-name basis with everyone on campus, and that is such an amazing environment to be a part of.”
Julia Picton, who celebrated her graduation from UOW Shoalhaven with a Bachelor of Arts, said she too had felt incredibly supported during her time at the West Nowra Campus. She is now studying a Master of Teaching (Primary), which she will complete at the end of this year.
“Being at UOW Shoalhaven was the best experience ever,” Julia said. “The opportunities I have been given, the activities I have been involved in, the support I have received, I can’t speak highly enough of it all. It was my first time studying as a mature aged student. It’s a beautiful campus and it feels like all the staff just want you to achieve and to do well.”
Julia was the recipient of the UOWx Award during her Bachelor of Arts degree, a remarkable achievement as it saw her devote more than 150 hours of her time to volunteer positions across UOW Shoalhaven as well as taking part in UOWx seminars and workshops.
This year marks 22 years since UOW Shoalhaven was opened at its West Nowra location.