Instead of having his Master in Business Administration conferred on him in person at UNE’s Autumn Graduation, originally scheduled for 1st and 2nd May, his testamur was posted to him.
“Yes, it’s disappointing that I was not to be able to attend graduation but I’ll be celebrating with my partner and baby girl, Frankie,” Anthony said.
“Completing this MBA meant a lot to me. It was tough to balance study, the demands of professional sport and life but I had plenty of guidance from UNE. Their online systems are easy to use and the UNE Business School staff was very supportive.
“On a personal level, it means I have achieved in an area other than sport and have a qualification I can fall back on when my playing career is over.”
Anthony is quick to add that he doesn’t have any plans to retire soon but is only being realistic about the future.
“I’m now the oldest player in the team and at some time I’m going to have to hang up my boots. Going forward I hope to remain in the NRL in some capacity, perhaps sport administration. I also have an undergraduate degree in teaching, which means more options for me to choose from post NRL.”
Anthony completed his teaching degree after school before joining the family electrical engineering business. He was signed by the Titans’ Queensland Cup team, the Burleigh Bears, in 2013. Later that same year he debuted for the Titans against the Parramatta Eels. He became the Titans’ leading try scorer during the 2019 NRL season.
Anthony’s graduation story is not unique. Over 1,200 other UNE graduands also missed out on attending graduation ceremonies this autumn due to coronavirus restrictions on mass gatherings of people. Instead they had the option of receiving their testamurs by post or in person at future graduations events.
For a small group of UNE students, the cancellation of Autumn Graduation marks the second time that they have been impacted by events outside their control.
“Some of our students were severely impacted by the bushfires in December 2019, and were unable to travel to graduation. They chose to attend the May event, which we now had to cancel in line with COVID-19 health directives,” Professor Brigid Heywood, UNE’s Vice-Chancellor and CEO said.
“Graduation is traditionally a day of joy and celebration for students, representing the culmination of years of hard work. It is disappointing that we cannot celebrate their achievement together but on behalf of UNE, I congratulate them on successfully completing their studies and wish them all of the best in their future endeavours.
“I hope that when life settles, all out new alumni may join us for one of our celebration events.”