UOW graduation ceremony stage with a smoking ceremony in the foreground and academics in the background.

Message to students

Message to students

Dear Students, I hope you’re feeling refreshed and re-energised after the short mid-term break. We’re thrilled to have you back!  

As we gear up for another busy Session, I wanted to share some highlights of our recent Autumn graduations, which we hosted in the UOW Sports Hub last week.  

What a time it was! 

Over three amazing days, we celebrated the graduation of more than 2200 students from all four faculties of UOW. It was a heart-warming occasion that brought together ancient Indigenous practices and Western graduation traditions to honour the diverse cultural heritage of our UOW community. It was truly inspiring to see families and friends coming together to celebrate their loved ones’ achievements, taking photos, hugging and smiling. 

But what truly made this event special were the stories of resilience and perseverance shared by some of our graduates. These are the students who overcame immense challenges, both personal and external, to reach their goals and make a difference in the world. 

Students share their stories of overcoming life’s challenges 

One such student is , who’s just earned a degree in engineering and telecommunications. Lord is the third in her family to have graduated from UOW, following in the footsteps of her two brothers, Fadi and Majd. But her journey to this achievement was not an easy one. Lord and her family fled Mosul in Iraq in 2014 as ISIS stormed the city, before relocating to Australia two years later. Despite having to start her life over in high school, Lord worked hard to excel in her studies, volunteered at various organisations and become a next-generation leader in engineering and telecommunications. 

Another inspiring story comes from , who graduated from the Faculty of Arts, Social Sciences and Humanities with a degree in arts (majoring in history), boasting a University Medal for his academic achievements. His experiences are a testament to hard work and perseverance, and an ode to his supportive parents. Since childhood, Rhys struggled with mental health problems, and this was the third degree he had started. Now on a clear path to a PhD, Rhys said that this graduation meant everything to him, and he was very grateful to be a part of UOW. 

UOW student community is amazing 

As we celebrate the achievements of our fresh UOW graduates, I want to express my immense pride in the entire student community. You have all proven many times that hard work, resilience and passion for learning lead to great success, and I believe that we will continue to make a positive impact in the world through your achievements. I can’t wait to see what journey life will take you on.  

To all our Autumn 2023 graduates, let’s give a round of applause for your hard work and dedication. Your achievements are something to be truly proud of, and I hope you had an unforgettable graduation ceremony. Congratulations once again, and we can’t wait to see where your future takes you! 

Become a UOW ambassador 

I am excited to inform you about the opening nominations for the 2023 Chancellor Robert Hope Memorial Prize, the University of Wollongong’s most prestigious award for soon-to-graduate students who go above and beyond in demonstrating exceptional leadership qualities, academic excellence and a remarkable contribution to the University and the broader community. 

Justice Robert Hope was the founding father of the University of Wollongong, serving as the Chancellor here from 1975 to 1982. He was also a respected business leader and philanthropist who made significant contributions to the development of the Illawarra region. 

In the same way, this award is quite significant too. Not only does it include the Chancellor Robert Hope Medal, a monetary prize of $7,000 and a $3,000 donation to a chosen charity or community organisation, but it also presents the recipient with an opportunity to become a UOW ambassador, contributing to its global reputation.  

You can seek a nomination from a University staff member or a fellow student, or nominate yourself. Applications close at 5 pm, Monday 20 November 2023. For more information, please visit our .


Care for your wellbeing 

As in Australia, we’re currently heading into a cooler season, I want to remind all students to prioritise their wellbeing. While you’re busy navigating your studies and daily routines, please remember to take care of your physical and mental health. Whether it’s getting enough rest, staying active or reaching out for support when needed, we want you to thrive both academically and personally.  

Taking care of ourselves is one of the main takeaways from the COVID-19 pandemic, which has been a challenging time for everyone, and it had disrupted our lives in many ways. Now, as we move towards a post-pandemic world, it is crucial that we continue to protect ourselves and our loved ones from this disease. Getting vaccinated is one of the most effective ways to do this. For our Wollongong students, you can get access to the flu and COVID-19 vaccines at the campus pharmacy. I encourage all our students to keep up with their covid vaccination schedule, wherever they may be located.  

Wishing you all the best for the week ahead. 

Take care,