The University of Newcastle’s April graduation ceremonies will continue this week with ceremonies to be held today, Friday 20 April and Saturday 21 April.
More than 3900 students are graduating across 12 ceremonies at the University’s Callaghan campus over two weeks. The first eight ceremonies were held last week.
Information regarding this week’s ceremonies and graduation highlights follows.
► Bachelor of Laws graduate and disability advocate, United Nations.
University of Newcastle law graduate Heidi Forrest has taken a different journey to the cap and gown than most students.
Ms Forrest suffered an aneurysm when she was 13, leaving her paralysed down one side of her body. She went on to complete her HSC in 1981 and, while she very much wanted to continue onto university, the resources to support her needs only became fully available years later with the introduction of online lectures.
After completing the university’s Open Foundation program in 2000, Ms Forrest went on to study sociology, majoring in politics. She became active in a number of disability advocacy organisations and was elected President of People with Disability Australia. In that role, she travelled to the United Nations and was involved in drafting the Disability Convention.
“After graduation, I hope to work in a community legal centre of Legal Aid and be in a position to help people with a disability,” Ms Forrest said.
“Without the assistance of the University and the confidence that comes from completing Open Foundation, none of this would have been possible.”
Ms Forrest will graduate on Friday 20 April at 2pm.
► From the depths of the ocean to in-depth research
After spending 294 consecutive days under water in one calendar year, completing a PhD in reproductive biochemistry proved a different, yet equally challenging experience for graduate and former Royal Australian Navy Submarine Squadron member Matt Dun.
Dr Dun joined the Navy as a 17-year-old and spent more than eight years in the military, mostly underwater. He was granted a shore posting in 2001 to the Submarine Operations Centre in Sydney, where he also completed the Higher School Certificate through TAFE at night.
On completing his last exam he re-joined his submarine, where he nearly died in one of Australia’s most infamous submarine floods when the submarine HMAS Dechaineux took on eight tonnes of water while conducting operations.
“The equivalent of an Olympic swimming pool flooded into the submarine’s motor-room in less than eight seconds through a hole smaller than eight centimetres in diameter,” Dr Dun said. After leaving the Navy, Dr Dun went on to complete a Bachelor of Biotechnology at the university before enrolling in his PhD.
Dr Dun has published in five international scientific journals and received seven national and international awards for his research. He holds a University Blue for sporting achievements, represented NSW country in rugby union for five consecutive years and in 2011 was awarded the Newcastle and Hunter Rugby Union representative player of the year award. He captained Newcastle and Hunter to four consecutive NSW Country Rugby Union Championships, a feat that has never before been achieved.
Dr Dun is now working as a postdoctoral fellow at the university and Calvary Mater Hospital and recently secured a $100,000 Cancer Institute of NSW Fellowship to investigate the effects of novel anti-cancer drugs on leukaemia and breast cancer.
“The project is a stepping stone aimed at designing novel drugs for the treatment of two of the most lethal types of cancers that affect members of the Hunter – leukaemia and breast cancer.”
Dr Dun will graduate with a PhD in Biological Sciences at the Faculty of Science and Information Technology ceremony on Saturday 21 April at 2pm.
►Friday 20 April
10am: Faculty of Business and Law
Occasional Speaker: Dr Eileen Doyle. Over three decades, Dr Eileen Doyle has forged a distinguished executive career at notable heavy industry corporations in the Hunter region. A respected leader within the steel, coal and building industries, Dr Doyle is revered as a pioneer for women in industry. She currently serves as a fellow of the Australian Institute of Company Directors, a member of the Australian Mathematical Sciences Institute and a member of the Enterprise Connect Advisory Council.
2pm: Faculty of Business and Law
Occasional Speaker and honorary doctorate recipient: Professor John Dai. Internationally-respected across business, education and renewable energy research sectors, Professor John Dai has forged a successful career working with high profile, global companies, and higher education institutions both in Australia and overseas. He has contributed significantly to the education sectors in Australia and Asia. Professor Dai played an integral role in founding the Shangri-La University Alliance, established between the University of Newcastle and four Chinese universities. Professor John Dai will be presented with a Doctor of Business honoris causa.
►Saturday 21 April
10am: Faculty of Science and Information Technology
Occasional Speaker: Mrs Chrissie Goldrick. Mrs Chrissie Goldrick is a former UK broadcast journalist with a passion for natural history illustration and photography. Today, she uses that passion to set the pictorial agenda for one of Australia’s most prestigious nature magazines, Australian Geographic. Valued by her peers for her vast industry knowledge, Mrs Goldrick is regularly invited to judge photographic competitions including the prestigious Australian press Walkley Awards and renowned Australia, New Zealand, Antarctic and New Guinea (ANZANG) Photographic competition. Her legacy is the annual Australian Geographic Prize for Natural History Illustration for the University of Newcastle, which she established four years ago.
2pm: Faculty of Science and Information Technology
Occasional Speaker: Tim Besley AC. A former Chairman of the Commonwealth Bank and Leighton Holdings, Dr Morrish Alexander (Tim) Besley AC is regarded as being among the top echelon of Australia’s company directors. In 1994, Dr Besley was appointed Chancellor of Macquarie University, a position he held until 2001. Dr Besley is a former Chairman of the Australian Research Council and the Cooperative Research Centre for Greenhouse Gas Technologies. He was President of the Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering and has held directorships with companies including Amcor, Fujitsu Australia and Clyde Industries.
For interviews with any of the occasional speakers or graduates please contact Carmen Swadling in Media and Public Relations on 02 4985 4276 or 0428 038 477.