More than 700 excited graduating students committed to a better future for themselves, their communities and beyond are celebrating at the University of the Sunshine Coast’s spring graduation.
Seven graduation ceremonies are being held this week at UniSC’s Moreton Bay and Sunshine Coast campuses, and at Fraser Coast on 12 October.
Among those receiving degrees in front of loved ones will be Bachelor of Counselling graduate James Hill, who has earned the University’s top graduate award, the Chancellor’s Medal.
James, who volunteers with Beyond Blue and the UniSC Thompson Institute among others, will be recognised for his award-winning and wide-ranging mental health advocacy as well as his academic achievements, at a ceremony Sippy Downs campus this Thursday 28 September.
“I share my own lived experience with severe mental illness because I want to help reduce suicide rates on the Coast and around the world,” said James, who works in a mental health advocate position he helped develop at Energy Queensland to reduce stigma in the electricity industry.
The 46-year-old, whose approach to mental health promotion challenges traditional notions of masculinity and suffering, said he was extremely proud of his grade point average of 6.21 out of 7.
“I left school in Year 11 with poor grades and lived with undiagnosed ADHD until 2020,” he said.
“Study has always been difficult, and the first years of my degree were mentally and emotionally challenging but UniSC was able to support me with a Learning Access Plan. I now have a deeper understanding of how to apply my experiences and skills to help others.”
UniSC Vice-Chancellor and President Professor Helen Bartlett said the graduates’ successes reflected the resilience of the last cohort to have started studying three-year degrees in COVID-19 lockdowns.
Professor Bartlett said the enthusiasm and dedication of students was not only on display as they crossed the stage to receive their testamurs, it was also embedded in recent student experience surveys.
“The 2023-24 Good Universities Guide rated UniSC as Australia’s number one public university for overall postgraduate student experience, and second best nationwide for undergraduates,” she said.
“We have maintained 13 national five-star ratings from 22 categories and added a 14th top rating, which shows how engaged and satisfied students are with their learning.”
Honorary awards will be presented to Graham Tamblyn, Professor John Lowe, Judy Renouf and Aunty Joyce Bonner.
Monday 25 September: UniSC Moreton Bay, Petrie.
Thursday 28 September: UniSC Arena, Sippy Downs.
Friday 29 September: UniSC Arena, Sippy Downs.
Thursday 12 October: UniSC Fraser Coast, Hervey Bay Hotel
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