Published on 3 October 2012
A University of the Sunshine Coast student who worked tirelessly to assist other students, despite the physical limitations of having cerebral palsy, will be honoured at USC’s Graduation ceremony on Friday 5 October.
Patrick Walden, 23, of Woombye will receive the Chancellor’s Medal – USC’s highest award for a graduating student – before a crowd of more than 1,200 people at the University’s Sports Stadium.
The medal is presented to one student at each graduation in recognition of that student’s excellence in academic performance, University governance, community service and student welfare.
Patrick will also receive a Graduate Diploma of Education and deliver the Graduate Response at the end of Friday’s ceremony, which will run from 5-6.30pm.
The 2010 USC Business graduate achieved a near-perfect grade point average of 6.917 during his postgraduate program, and his dedication to study was matched by his involvement in the University.
He worked as a Peer Adviser for USC’s Student Services, was a member of the University’s Student Liaison Committee, and helped promote USC’s award-winning Headstart Program.
Patrick said he felt a great sense of pride in being selected to receive the Chancellor’s Medal.
“I have put a lot of time into both my studies and making positive contributions to USC, so it is an honour to be recognised by USC through this prestigious award,” he said.
“I find it satisfying to help others and believe the more you put into an organisation like USC, the more you get out.”
Patrick said his Graduation speech would focus on how USC has changed since he first started studying Headstart in 2006 as a Mountain Creek State High School student.
“Also, as a major chapter like university draws to a close, it is important that all students reflect on their journeys, remember and thank the university for all it has given in order to help everyone make their dreams a reality,” he said.
“There are many key people who support each and every person through their university years and this is something which I believe needs to be recognised.”
USC’s Student Service Director Dr Eva-Marie Seeto said Patrick had been popular at USC in his role as a Peer Adviser.
“Patrick really immersed himself in the university experience by being actively involved in extra-curricular activities,” she said. “He was an inspirational mentor for new students as he had a clear idea of what he wanted to achieve and he made the most of every opportunity.”
Patrick recently completed his first teaching contract at Coolum State High School, where he taught Business and Information and Communications Technology.
— Terry Walsh