A group of students celebrate their graduations by throwing their blue hats into the air. Photo: Paul Jones

Remarkable students shine in Autumn graduations

Remarkable students shine in Autumn graduations

Professor Judy Raper and Professor Paul Else to be honoured during three days of ceremonies

It will be a week of celebrations at the University of Wollongong (UOW) when thousands of students descend on campus for the Autumn graduation ceremonies.

From Tuesday (11 April) to Thursday (13 April), more than 2200 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 to accommodate the larger than normal numbers. Students who were conferred in 2022 and in 2023 have been invited to participate.

The graduation ceremonies will bring together ancient Indigenous practices and European graduation traditions, in acknowledgement that UOW’s campuses are located across several Aboriginal nations.

During the graduation ceremonies, the University will bestow an Honorary Doctorate and an Emeritus Professorship.

During Wednesday’s afternoon ceremony, Professor Judy Raper AM will receive a Doctor of Science (honoris causa).  Professor Raper, who was previously Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research and Innovation) at UOW before launching The Engineering and Design Institute London (TEDI-London), will be recognised for her immense contributions to engineering, science and education, her commitment to women in science, and her passion for collaboration and innovation.

Professor Paul Else, from UOW’s School of Medical, Indigenous and Health Sciences, will be named an Emeritus Professor during Thursday’s afternoon ceremony. A renowned biomedical scientist and researcher, Professor Else spent close to 30 years at UOW, where his work centred on metabolism and the role of cell membranes.

The University’s remarkable students will be in the spotlight during the week of celebrations.

Lord Thabet is the third member of her family to graduate from UOW with a degree in engineering, following her two brothers Fadi and Majd.

In 2014, the Thabet family fled Mosul in Iraq as ISIS stormed the city before moving to Australia two years later. A high-achieving student who has forged a name as a next-generation leader in the world of engineering and telecommunications, Lord has worked hard to undertake her studies after starting her life over in high school.

Rhys Smith, who is graduating from the Faculty of Arts, Social Sciences and Humanities with a degree in arts, has achieved a University Medal for his outstanding academic achievements during his time at UOW. But the accolades were not without a tremendous amount of hard work.

It was the third degree that Rhys had started, after a years-long struggle with anxiety and depression. Graduating “means everything to me,” Rhys said. “I am so grateful to be here.”

UOW Vice-Chancellor Professor and President Patricia M. Davidson said graduation was a wonderful time to reflect on how hard UOW’s students have worked and how far they have come.

“We want to welcome the family and friends of all our graduating students for what is such a proud and inspiring moment. I love graduation and being able to celebrate the achievements of our hardworking, tenacious students. Graduation is one of the happiest and most exciting occasions for the university,” Professor Davidson said.

“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.”