University of Canberra: Ngunnawal Centre graduation celebration recognises Indigenous graduates

Thirty-four graduates from the Ngunnawal Centre at the University of Canberra were celebrated last night, in a graduation event featuring Assistant Professor Benny Wilson as guest speaker.

The annual event, intended to celebrate the successes of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander graduates, was held ahead of the upcoming graduation ceremonies later this week.

Also in attendance was University Chancellor Professor Tom Calma and OATSILS Acting Associate Director Kirsten Tapine.

“Attending this wonderful celebration of all our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander graduates is a perfect way for the Ngunnawal Centre to kick off 2022,” Ms Tapine said.

“This is a milestone moment for both the University and the students. Each one of the graduating students here tonight have achieved so much throughout their time at UC, and should be very proud of themselves.”

The University’s Elder in Residence Aunty Roslyn Brown provided the Welcome to Country, welcoming the graduates and their families to Ngunnawal Country

“It’s time to be proud and a time for celebration. To have the family and friends of so many of our graduates here – many of whom are first in their family to attend university – shows what a significant achievement it is for this cohort,” Ms Tapine said.

“They have demonstrated such resilience. They have studied through bushfires, floods, the COVID-19 pandemic, and the resultant state border closures – which kept many students off country for extended periods – and they have done it all with heart and passion.”

The event was hosted by current student and SRC Member (Ngunnawal Centre) Adina Brown, and attended by Ngunnawal Centre staff and University executive, including Deputy Vice-Chancellor Academic Professor Geoff Crisp.

While unable to attend the event, Acting Pro Vice-Chancellor Professor Shane Hearn said the night was also an opportunity for the students to farewell their peers, network, and reflect on their time at the University.

“Whether this group of graduates plan on staying in Canberra or moving away, the connections they’ve made through the Ngunnawal Centre will stay with them for life,” he said.

“The university experience is so rich, and extends beyond learning and education, it’s about leaving with social connections and life experience – both of which the Ngunnawal Centre provides.”

The Ngunnawal Centre has been in operation for over 30 years, supporting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students throughout their studies. The Centre provides academic, personal, and cultural support to students.

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