About 2,500 people are graduating from the University of New England this autumn, with almost half of those preparing to attend graduation ceremonies at UNE over the next two weekends.
A highlight of UNE’s Autumn Graduation, 2009, will be the installation of the Hon. Richard Torbay MP as the University’s new Chancellor during the first of the ceremonies, which will be on Friday 27 March.
That ceremony – for the graduation of candidates for degrees, diplomas and certificates in the Sciences and Health – will be followed by others on Saturday 28 March (Education), Friday 3 April (Economics, Business and Law), and Saturday 4 April (Arts). All the ceremonies will begin at 10.30 am, and take place on the lawns of “Booloominbah”.
Each of the four ceremonies will include an Occasional Address by a guest speaker who has achieved distinction in a discipline or profession appropriate to the degrees being conferred on the day. The speakers, in the order of the ceremonies, will be: Dr Ed McAlister AO, former Assistant Director of the Adelaide Botanic Gardens and Chief Executive Officer of the Royal Zoological Society of South Australia; Ms Debra Kelliher, Head of School at the Presbyterian Ladies’ College, Armidale; Mr Tony Windsor MP, Member for New England; Emeritus Professor Peter Sheehan AO, who retired in January 2008 as Vice-Chancellor of the Australian Catholic University after serving in that role for 10 years.
Both Dr McAlister and Mr Windsor are graduates of UNE (having gained Bachelor of Science and Bachelor of Economics degrees respectively), and Professor Sheehan was a Lecturer and then Senior Lecturer in Psychology at UNE from 1968 to 1972 before becoming Professor of Psychology at the University of Queensland in 1973.
The Vice-Chancellor, Professor Alan Pettigrew, will present Dr McAlister with a University of New England Distinguished Alumni Award during the ceremony on Friday 27 March, and, on Saturday 4 April, the Chancellor will present an honorary degree of Doctor of Letters to Associate Professor John Ryan. Dr Ryan, an internationally renowned scholar, is one of UNE’s most eminent and long-serving researchers and teachers, and is well known in the wider community for his ground-breaking work as a regional and cultural historian.
The University is expecting the graduation ceremonies to bring about 4,000 visitors – family members and friends of the graduands – on to the UNE campus over the four days.