Graduands urged to ‘care for the planet’

Published 04 April 2008

award.jpgDr Kerry Schott spoke from her own experience as Managing Director of Sydney Water today when she urged graduands at the University of New England to “care for the planet” and “plan for change”.

Dr Schott was giving the Occasional Address at the first of UNE’s four Autumn Graduation ceremonies. She spoke about projects at Sydney Water – including a wind-powered desalination plant – to combat changing weather patterns and their effects on Sydney’s water storage and supply.

Another piece of her advice was: “Don’t get bored – diversify your career.” Again she spoke from experience, as her own diverse career has included roles as a PE teacher, academic, investment banker, economic policy adviser and company director. She was Deputy Secretary of the NSW Treasury before becoming Managing Director of Sydney Water 18 months ago.

Dr Schott holds an Arts degree with First Class Honours from UNE. “Over 35 years ago I sat on these lawns with my mother at my own graduation ceremony,” she said. (Her mother graduated from Armidale Teachers’ College in 1929.) Going on to gain a Master’s degree from the University of British Columbia in Canada and a PhD from Oxford University in the UK, she found that her UNE training had been as good – and, in most cases, better – than that of her fellow students at those two universities.

“You’re graduating from a fine university,” she told the graduands.

About 250 UNE graduands from disciplines in Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences listened to Dr Schott’s address before being presented with their testamurs by the University’s Deputy Chancellor, Dr James Harris. They, together with those unable to attend the ceremony, make up a total of 570 people graduating from UNE today. Altogether, more than 2,300 people will graduate over the four days of ceremonies: today, tomorrow, Friday 11 April and Saturday 12 April.

During today’s ceremony the Vice Chancellor, Professor Alan Pettigrew, presented a Vice-Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Learning and Teaching to Isabel Tasker, a Lecturer in Chinese (and Convener of Chinese) at UNE. (THE PHOTOGRAPH DISPLAYED HERE SHOWS THE PRESENTATION OF THE AWARD.)

“Isabel’s special contribution to Chinese language learning is the way she manages, through example, to encourage and stimulate all students – in class and online – to pursue their learning,” Professor Pettigrew said. “She clearly loves the Chinese language and shares her enthusiasm with her students, as well as making it seem an attainable goal for them.

“Isabel is an asset to her learners, and to UNE’s reputation as a centre of teaching excellence.”