20 May 2016
A Sydney manager who leads a team of financial planners at the Commonwealth Bank has relished the opportunity to finally embrace her alma mater when she attended a 20-year anniversary celebration of the University of the Sunshine Coast.
When Priscilla McCullough, 35, recently visited USC at Sippy Downs for the launch of the University’s Graduate Walk, it was the first time she had stepped on to campus – despite having graduated in 2008 with a Master of Financial Planning.
“I completed my studies part-time and online between 2004 and 2007,” said the Brisbane-raised financial planner, who was promoted to Financial Planning Manager at the Commonwealth Bank in Sydney in April 2013.
“I submitted all assignments online and took all exams online, which was really uncommon among my colleagues and school friends who either attended university on campus or went straight to work.
“Having never attended campus, I didn’t go to my graduation ceremony. Rather than stop and take the time to celebrate my achievement, I just kept on working and built my career.
“But when I received the offer to donate to USC’s Graduate Walk, I thought it would be a perfect opportunity to recognise the contribution USC has made to my career and finally allow my Mum to share in my accomplishment.”
The Graduate Walk, a pathway of pavers bearing the names of alumni who together raised $80,000 for USC Study Support Bursaries, is part of USC’s 20-year celebrations in 2016.
“As I listened to the speeches of graduates and faculty, I realised the difference our donations would make to students who were struggling to meet financial commitments,” Ms McCullough said.
“It was also exciting and fun to locate our names and I felt a sense of pride, accomplishment and belonging to the University. Who would have thought I would be so interested in a brick?
“It was priceless to share this experience with my Mum, Dorothy Benfield, and my partner, Rory Martin, and see how proud they were of me. I am so lucky to enjoy a successful career I love – giving people peace of mind about their financial future.”
Ms McCullough said gaining a USC degree had helped her career as a financial planner and resulted in many professional development opportunities.
— Julie Schomberg