Published on 30 September 2015
Two motivational speakers who have pursued dreams of sporting glory and adventure – while helping others along the way – are set to inspire hundreds of graduating students at the University of the Sunshine Coast on Thursday 1 October.
Triple Paralympian and USC graduate Marayke Jonkers will deliver the graduation address at one ceremony at 10am, while Arctic adventurer and popular TEDx presenter John Cantor will speak at a second ceremony at 3pm.
The two ceremonies in the USC Sports Stadium are expected to attract crowds totalling 1,700 people and will see more than 330 graduates cross the stage to receive degrees and certificates. The 10am ceremony and the 3pm ceremony will both be video-streamed live by USC.
Ms Jonkers, who became a paraplegic in a car accident as an infant, represented Australia as a swimmer at the Paralympic Games in Sydney in 2000, Athens in 2004 and Beijing in 2008, claiming a silver and two bronze medals along the way.
During her international career, she broke more than 70 Australian records, won many medals and was the Australian flag bearer at the 2010 World Swimming Championships.
Ms Jonkers holds two USC degrees in Social Sciences and Communication and founded Sporting Dreams in 2008 to help athletes with disabilities pursue their sporting potential.
Adventurer, writer, film-maker and professional speaker John Cantor has braved dangerous terrain, wild animals and frostbite on several recent Arctic expeditions.
He has surfed and snowboarded all around the world and his television appearances have included being Bear Grylls’ stunt double for a car commercial.
Having suffered from severe anxiety in the lead-up to his Arctic expeditions, he is now an ambassador for beyondblue, an organisation that works to reduce the impact of depression and anxiety in the community by raising awareness and understanding.
The USC ceremonies will feature plenty of pomp and ceremony, including academic processions, medals for high-achieving students and the presentation of honorary awards to retired auditor Phil Procopis and Queensland Folk Federation Executive Director Bill Hauritz.
— Terry Walsh