An Aboriginal Elders blows on a handful of leaves during a smoking ceremony for the Shoalhaven graduations. Photo: Paul Jones

UOW’s regional students take the stage in annual graduation ceremonies

UOW’s regional students take the stage in annual graduation ceremonies

More than 100 graduates from UOW's South Coast campuses to celebrate alongside UOW Vice-Chancellor

Students from the South Coast and Southern Highlands will celebrate the end of their studies this week when the University of Wollongong’s (UOW) regional campuses hold their annual graduation ceremonies.

UOW Bega’s graduation ceremony will take place on Monday (23 January) at Bega Civic Centre, with 30 graduates across six degrees. Master of Teaching (Secondary) graduate Emily Martin will deliver the vote of thanks on behalf of the student cohort.

UOW Batemans Bay will hold its graduation ceremony the following day, on Tuesday (24 January) on campus, with 33 graduates drawn from eight degrees. Larissa O’Neill, who is graduating with a Bachelor of Nursing, will speak on behalf of the students.

On Wednesday (25 January), UOW Shoalhaven will celebrate with an on-campus ceremony, with graduates from the Shoalhaven and Southern Highlands campuses. Forty-seven students will take part in the ceremony, with Emily Nield, who has completed a Bachelor of Social Work with Distinction, to deliver the student vote of thanks.

UOW Vice-Chancellor and President Professor Patricia M. Davidson will be the Presiding Officer of the academic procession during all three ceremonies and said she was delighted to be able to visit UOW’s regional campuses.

“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.

“UOW’s regional campuses are vital to the University and to the communities they serve, offering a chance for students to maintain their local connections while still accessing a world-class education.

“It has been a tough few years, but it is a privilege to be able to take part in these graduation ceremonies and meet our students from the South Coast and Southern Highlands.”

Sam Avitaia, Campus Manager at UOW Bega, said the University’s regional campuses were truly special, offering students a strong sense of community and connection.

“We have usually been there for every step of the student’s UOW journey, from the moment they need help with finding the right degree to the moment they don their caps and gowns on the graduation stage. It is wonderful to see our students graduate and to celebrate with them,” Ms Avitaia said.

“We are always so proud to see our students achieve their dreams and set off into the world, to embark on the next chapter of their lives.”

Students will reflect on the conclusion of their studies and be joined by their family and friends, during the ceremonies, which bring together traditional graduation proceedings with rich Indigenous history. The ceremonies acknowledge that UOW’s campuses are located across several Aboriginal nations.

The blending of ancient Indigenous 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.

UOW has campuses at Bega, Batemans Bay, the Southern Highlands, and in the Shoalhaven, with the aim of making university education accessible to students from regional areas.