UWS congratulates its Spring Graduates

Grad generic

The University of Western Sydney will celebrate years of hard work and dedication with thousands of students as they mark the completion of their degrees at the 2013 Spring Graduation ceremonies.

More than 2,000 students will join the UWS Alumni between Tuesday 24 September and Thursday 26 September as they graduate across 12 ceremonies.

Degrees will be conferred in a wide range of disciplines including science and health, medicine, humanities and communication arts, social sciences and psychology, nursing and midwifery, education, law, business, computing, engineering and mathematics.

Eight prestigious University Medals will be presented to students who achieved consistently high results throughout their studies.

Members of the community will also be recognised, with UWS Community Awards being presented to six recipients for contributions to the Greater Western Sydney region.

A highlight of each graduation ceremony is the Occasional Address. In September 2013, UWS graduands and their guests will have the opportunity to hear from a range of distinguished guest speakers:

Ceremony 1, 9.30am Tuesday 24 September 2013:  Professor Stuart Hill, Emeritus Professor, School of Education, UWS

Prof Stuart Hill

Stuart has been an outstanding researcher with a long and successful career at the University of Western Sydney and, prior to that, at McGill University in Canada. He joined UWS in 1995 as Professor and Foundation Chair of Social Ecology. Under his leadership, social ecology as a discipline flourished. Through his research, scholarship and community engagement work, he has been an ambassador for UWS on the national and international stages, giving numerous keynote and other presentations representing the value of social ecology as a means of understanding and acting upon the world. The University will confer on Stuart the title of Emeritus Professor as part of this ceremony.

Read the Occasional Address by Stuart Hill.

Photo: Sally Tsoutas 

Ceremony 2, 12.00pm Tuesday 24 September 2013:  Mr Jorge Aroche, Chief Executive Officer, STARTTS

Jorge Arochy

Jorge is Chief Executive Officer of the NSW Service for the Treatment and Rehabilitation of Torture and Trauma Survivors – STARTTS. It is an organisation which assists people from refugee and similar backgrounds who have experienced torture or other traumatic events before arriving in Australia. A trained clinical psychologist, Jorge joined STARTTS in 1989, becoming Executive Director in 1997. Under his leadership, it has grown from its beginnings in a small suburban house in Fairfield, to an organisation with over 100 full and part-time staff working from nine different offices and a range of outreach locations in metropolitan Sydney and in rural and regional areas. The University will be awarding Jorge Aroche an Honorary Fellowship as part of this ceremony.

Read the Occasional Address by Jorge Aroche.

Photo: Sally Tsoutas 

Ceremony 3, 2.30pm Tuesday 24 September 2013:  Professor Andrew Francis, ARC Future Fellow, School of Computing, Engineering and Mathematics, UWS

Andrew Francis 

Andrew is a Professor of Mathematics at the University of Western Sydney. He has a first class honours degree from the University of Sydney and a PhD from the University of New South Wales, both in pure mathematics. After his studies he spent two years in the United States as a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Virginia, before joining UWS in 2000. Since 2011, he has been a full-time researcher supported by a prestigious Australian Research Council Future Fellowship, studying bacterial genome evolution using ideas from algebra, the area of pure mathematics in which he trained. Aside from research he has a strong interest in mathematics and science education.

Read the Occasional Address by Andrew Francis.

Photo: Nicholas Smith 


Ceremony 4, 5.00pm Tuesday 24 September 2013:  Ms Amanda Larkin, Chief Executive Officer, South West Sydney Local Health District

Amanda Larkin

Amanda is the Chief Executive of South Western Sydney Local Health District, and has over 25 years of experience in health service management, working in the areas of community health, corporate services and acute service management in small and large health services. In her current role, Amanda is responsible for all the public health services from Bankstown to Bowral - from small community health centres and district hospitals, to large major referral hospitals. Amanda provides strategic leadership and is responsible for the District's sound governance to provide safe, equitable, quality healthcare to the people of south western Sydney.

Photo: Nicholas Smith 


Ceremony 5, 9.30am Wednesday 25 September 2013:  Mr Stepan Kerkyasharian AO, Chairperson, Community Relations Commission

Stephan Kirk

Stepan has been the Chairman and Chief Executive of the Community Relations Commission for a Multicultural NSW, and its predecessor, the Ethnic Affairs Commission, since 1989. He has also been the President and Chief Executive of the NSW Anti-Discrimination Board since 2003. Stepan has had a life-long commitment to the service and support of multiculturalism within Australian society. Through the 1980s, he headed SBS radio and played a major role in establishing ethnic broadcasting as a major national resource and feature of Australian cultural diversity. He has been at the forefront of public policymaking and debate on issues affecting ethnic communities. In January 2011, Stepan was made an Officer of the Order of Australia for distinguished service to the community. The University will be awarding Stepan Kerkyasharian an Honorary Doctorate as part of this ceremony.

Read the Occasional Address by Stepan Kerkyasharian.

Photo: Sally Tsoutas 


Ceremony 6, 12.00pm Wednesday 25 September 2013:  Mr John B Fairfax AO, Director, Marinya Capital PTY Limited

John Fairfax

John is a director of Marinya Capital Pty Limited. Beginning his career in 1961 as a cadet journalist at the Sydney Morning Herald, John worked in management positions throughout Fairfax before he joined the company board in 1979. He resigned as Deputy Chairman in 1987. John was Chairman of Rural Press Ltd from 1990 until 2007 when it merged with Fairfax Media. He re-joined the Fairfax Board until 2010. John has been a director of other public companies including Westpac Bank, and is currently on the board of Thomson Reuters Founders Share Company. He is actively involved with several not-for-profit organisations, and also served as Chairman of the Royal Agricultural Society of NSW Foundation from 2008 to 2012. The Vincent Fairfax Family Foundation provided significant funding for a Chair in Agriculture which continues today.

Read the Occasional Address by John B Fairfax AO.

Photo: Sally Tsoutas 

Ceremony 7, 2.30pm Wednesday 25 September 2013:  Mr Alastair Metcalf, Non-Executive Director and Investor

Alastair Metcalf

Alastair has enjoyed a successful and varied career in the Australian business sector. Beginning his career as a taxation consultant at PricewaterhouseCoopers, he moved into investment banking with Rothschild Australia and then Bankers Trust. He has advised a wide variety of domestic and international companies and governments, specialising in mergers and acquisitions and corporate strategy. He has also worked for companies such as Telstra and General Electric, becoming the Managing Director of GE’s corporate finance business across Australia and New Zealand. Alastair now has a portfolio of business interests, is a director of the Lincoln Centre medical research foundation, and a member of the UWS Finance and Investment Committee.

Read the Occasional Address by Alastair MetCalf.

Ceremony 8, 5.00pm Wednesday 25 September 2013:  Mr Talal Yassine OAM, Managing Director, Crescent Wealth

Talal Yassin

An experienced lawyer, banker and non-executive director, Talal spent nearly 10 years at PricewaterhouseCoopers in Sydney as a director and strategist. Talal then joined investment firm Babcock & Brown Ltd in the Corporate Finance Group, and later in the Technical Real Estate Division. Currently the Managing Director of Crescent Wealth, he also serves on various boards, including Australia Post, Whitlam Institute, the Australian Multicultural Council and Chairman of the Council of Australia-Arab Relations. Awarded a Medal of the Order of Australia for his service to business and to the community in 2010, he was also appointed as a Professorial Fellow in the Crawford School of Public Policy, at the Australian National University, in 2012.

Photo: Sally Tsoutas 

Ceremony 9, 9.30am Thursday 26 September 2013:  Mr Dan Gregory, President and Chief Executive Officer, The Impossible Institute

Dan Gregory

Dan is the President and CEO of The Impossible Institute™, an innovation and engagement organisation founded to make what’s not … possible. An author, educator, and social commentator, Dan’s specialisation is human behaviour – our motives, drives and belief systems, the things that make us buy, the things that make us buy in and the things that pull our strings. Dan’s business acumen is matched by a rapier wit and rare human insight gained during a three-year sabbatical working on the US and UK stand-up comedy circuits – skills put to great use in front of 1.4 million viewers as a regular on ABC TV’s ‘The Gruen Transfer’.

Photo: Sally Tsoutas 

Ceremony 10, 12.00pm Thursday 26 September 2013:  Mr John Wells, Chairman, Wells Haslem Strategic Public Affairs

John Wells

For 21 years, John was a founding partner and senior consultant in one of Australia’s leading public relations companies, Jackson Wells. Beginning his career as a cadet journalist in 1970, John has worked both in Australia and internationally at the most senior levels of journalism and media management across print and broadcast media, including London’s The Evening News, radio 2UE, Channel Nine, and News Limited. He has also worked as a press secretary and advisor to John Howard and Andrew Peacock. In 1992 he established his own practice with Keith Jackson called Jackson Wells to manage a growing list of Australian and overseas clients. In 2012, John joined with former Jackson Wells colleagues to establish Wells Haslem.

Read the Occasional Address by John Wells.

Ceremony 11, 2.30pm Thursday 26 September 2013:  Mr Paul Smith, Quality Teaching Consultant - Secondary Attainment, NSW Department of Education and Communities

Paul Smith 

Paul spent 20 years working as a chef and hotel manager in the hospitality industry in Australia, the United Kingdom and France before gaining a scholarship with the Department of Education in 2003 to retrain as a teacher. After graduating from the University of Newcastle with honours, Paul was appointed to Kingsgrove High School, serving in the capacity of hospitality teacher and VET Coordinator. In 2010, he was the recipient of the Outstanding Service by a New Teacher Award in the Department’s Sydney Region Achievement and Service Awards, and the Director- General’s Award for Excellent Service to Public Education and Training. In 2011 he was named in the Sydney Morning Herald’s Sydney magazine as one of the ‘Top 100 Most Influential People’.

Read the Occasional Address by Paul Smith.

Photo: Sally Tsoutas 

Ceremony 12, 5.00pm Thursday 26 September 2013:  Greg Whitby, Executive Director of Schools, Catholic Education Diocese of Parramatta

Greg Whitby

Greg has led a system of Catholic schools in both the Dioceses of Wollongong and Parramatta for the past 14 years, and is acknowledged as an innovative educator, passionate about ensuring schooling meets the needs of today’s learners. The author of Educating Gen Wi-fi, which argues for a radical rethink of learning and teaching in a connected world, he is also a regular presenter on educational change and leadership, school innovation and technology. Greg was acknowledged for his outstanding contribution to Catholic education with a Papal Knighthood in the Order of St Gregory the Great, and was named the most innovative educator in Australia by The Bulletin magazine in its ‘SMART 100 Awards’.

Read the Occasional Address delivered by Greg Whitby.

Photo: Sally Tsoutas

WHAT: UWS Spring Graduation Ceremonies 2013

WHEN: Tuesday 24 September 2013 – Thursday 26 September 2013

WHERE: Ian and Nancy Turbott Auditorium (Building EE), UWS Parramatta Campus, Corner Victoria Road and James Ruse Drive


Graduation ceremonies commence at 9:30am, 12 noon, 2:30pm and 5:00pm. Graduands are advised to arrive on campus to register no later than 90 minutes prior to the commencement of their graduation ceremony.


20 September 2013

Contact: Hannah Guilfoyle, Media Assistant 

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