September graduation puts a spring in students’ steps


Thousands of students will mark the formal completion of their studies when Western Sydney University hosts September graduation this week.

The University's Parramatta campus will be awash with colour and excitement as graduands and their families come together for the 12 ceremonies, being held from Tuesday 13 September until Friday 16 September.

Over 2600 graduands will make the transition from dedicated student to proud alumnus this graduation season.

They will receive degrees in a wide range of disciplines, including education, nursing and midwifery, social sciences, psychology, science and health, medicine, management, accounting, marketing, computing, engineering and mathematics, humanities and communication arts, and law.

Eight high achieving students will be presented with the prestigious University Medal, and members of the community will also be recognised with Community Awards presented to recipients in recognition of their contribution to Western Sydney.

A highlight of each graduation ceremony is the Occasional Address. In September, Western Sydney University graduands and their guests will have the opportunity to hear from a group of distinguished Australians.

Tuesday, 13 September 2016

9:30 am Chris Presland President of the NSW Secondary Principals' Council and Principal of St Clair High School

Chris Presland 

Chris started his career teaching English and history at Belmore Boys High School in Sydney. He was later appointed Deputy Principal at Pendle Hill High School before becoming Principal of Airds High School, near Campbelltown, at the relatively young age of 40. He was then appointed Principal of St Clair High School and has been at St Clair High for eight years.

Chris has a strong history of developing a shared understanding of learning across the school, leading to improved teaching and learning, greater levels of professional dialogue between teachers and improved outcomes for students.

Chris has received numerous awards in recognition of his service to public education, including the John Laing Professional Development award from the Principals Australia Institute, as well as the prestigious Patrick Duignan Award for Leadership. He also received the Australian Council of Educational Leaders Presidential Citation.

In the 2015 Australia Day honours, Chris was awarded the Public Service Medal for his outstanding service to education over his 34-year career.

12:00 noon Mark Scott AO Secretary of the NSW Department of Education

Mark Scott 

Mark has a distinguished record in public service, education and the media. His career began as a teacher in Sydney. He built on his interest in education with senior policy and leadership positions with two NSW education ministers, Terry Metherell and Virginia Chadwick.

Mark held a number of senior editorial roles at Fairfax, including Education Editor of The Sydney Morning Herald and Editor-in- Chief of metropolitan, regional and community newspapers.

From 2006 to 2016, Mark was Managing Director of the ABC, overseeing the creation of new services like iview, News 24, ABC3 and digital radio, as well as the expansion of online and mobile services, such as the ABC News site and podcasting.

Mark was named an Officer of the Order of Australia for distinguished service to media and communications, and to the community through advisory and governance roles with a range of social justice and educational bodies.

Mark holds a Bachelor of Arts, a Diploma of Education, a Master of Arts and a Master of Public Administration.

2:30 pm Andrew Newton General Manager of Westmead and Auburn Hospitals

Andrew Newton 

Andrew is the senior operational manager accountable for the management and performance of Westmead and Auburn hospitals. He is responsible for clinical operations across the Western Sydney Local Health District.

He has significant experience in health service delivery, strategic and operational leadership, and capital development and implementation.

Andrew is overseeing a multi-million dollar, major capital works program to rebuild Westmead Hospital. He is also leading the implementation of the Electronic Medical Records Program and the Electronic Medication Program to improve access to clinical documentation and improve technology to manage patients' medications.

Previously, Andrew was General Manager for Blacktown Mount Druitt Hospital as well as Doonside, Mount Druitt and Blacktown Community Health Services. He successfully managed the $322 million stage one expansion project for the Blacktown Mt Druitt Hospital, due for completion in 2016.

Andrew is a Western Sydney University alumnus, first graduating with his degree in nursing. He held nursing roles in speciality areas including elective and emergency surgery for the operating suites.

Wednesday, 14 September 2016

9:30 am Grainne O'Loughlin Chief Executive Officer of Karitane

Grainne O'Loughlin 

Grainne joined Karitane in 2014 and has over 26 years' experience in the public health care sectors in the UK and Australia. She is committed to the sustainable delivery of exceptional quality care to parents and carers, taking a whole-of-government approach to achieve the Karitane vision of keeping our children safe, healthy and nurtured by confident families and communities.

Prior to joining Karitane, Grainne held a variety of senior health executive roles and has extensive strategic and operational management experience in acute, sub-acute and not-for-profit healthcare settings.

Grainne has a strong commitment to clinical teaching, education and research. She worked in partnership with the University of Sydney to develop the inaugural role of Professor of Allied Health in NSW public hospitals. She also led a number of state-wide projects and initiatives on inter-professional supervision and education in partnership with the NSW Health and Education Training Institute.

Grainne is a member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors and is currently Non-Executive Director for the Association of Children's Welfare Agencies, the NSW Health Services Association Board and the Australasian Association of Parenting and Child Health Board.

12:00 noon John Geoghegan Director of Nursing and Operations at St Joseph's Hospital


John relocated to Australia from the UK as a registered nurse and registered mental health nurse, and worked in the justice health system as well as public and private hospitals across Sydney.

He continued his studies in Australia and, subsequently, now holds a Bachelor of Health Science (Nursing), a Masters degree in management, a Graduate Certificate in Leadership and Catholic Culture, and – as a proud alumnus – a Master of Health Science (Honours) from Western Sydney University.

John is a member of the executive committee at St Joseph's Hospital, a peak executive body for St Vincent's Health Network in Sydney. He is currently enrolled in the Doctor of Health program

with the University of Tasmania, undertaking a study to investigate what consumers and care givers value in the standalone public sub-acute hospital.

He was conferred the honorary title of Adjunct Professor with the Australian Catholic University in 2010.

John is a member of the Australian College of Nursing and the Australian College of Health Service Management.

2:30 pm Dr Cassandra Goldie Chief Executive Officer of the Australian Council of Social Services (ACOSS)

Cassandra has extensive public policy expertise in economic and social issues, civil society, social justice, and human rights. She has represented the interests of people experiencing poverty and inequality, and the interests of civil society in major national and international processes. She has worked globally as a human rights advocate for organisations such as the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women and UN Habitat.

Cassandra is a regular social commentator in mainstream media and regularly appears on Australian television and radio, including the ABC's Q&A program, ABC TV's News Breakfast, ABC's PM, Radio National Breakfast, Seven's Sunrise program and Nine's Today show.

Cassandra was listed in the Australian Financial Review's 'Power 2015' as one of the 15 most powerful people in Australia and has twice been named one of Pro Bono Australia's 'Impact 25', which lists the 25 most influential people in the social sector. She was also selected as an AFR/ BOSS magazine 'True Leader' and recognised as one of the inaugural

Westpac/Australian Financial Review '100 Women of Influence'.

Thursday, 15 September 2016

9:30 am Raelene Castle Chief Executive Officer of the Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs

Raelene Castle 

Raelene is the first female Chief Executive in the National Rugby League for 15 years and joined the Bulldogs from Netball New Zealand where she was the Chief Executive for six years.

She was a member of the ANZ Championship Board and played a key role in bringing the competition to market. She has also previously been a board member of the International Netball Federation.

Raelene has extensive experience across marketing, sales, sponsorship and communications, having worked for a number of leading New Zealand companies including Telecom, BNZ, Southern Cross Healthcare and Fuji Xerox.

Raelene is the Chair of the NRL CEO group and is also a Trustee of The Rising – a not-for-profit organisation helping to unlock to potential of South Auckland Youth.

She was recognised with a Sir Peter Blake Emerging Leader Award in 2011 and was made an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit (ONZM) in 2015.

12:00 noon Matt Graham National Managing Partner of Assurance PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC)

Matt Graham 

Matt is a member of PwC Australia's Executive Board and the National Managing Partner of PwC Australia's Assurance Practice. He is also a member of the PwC Global Assurance leadership team.

Matt has worked with PwC for 21 years. In addition to his role as an external and internal auditor for ASX100 companies, Matt has extensive experience delivering confidence and insight to boards and senior management of some of Australia's largest companies on risk and internal audit, transactions, accounting advice, and board and audit committee effectiveness. Matt's professional career has afforded him the opportunity to work in London, the United States and all states in Australia.

Matt is a member of the Foundation Council for Western Sydney University. In this role he advocates for young Australians who might not otherwise be afforded a tertiary education – helping them realise their potential.

Matt holds a Bachelor of Economics and is a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants.

2:30 pm Charles Casuscelli RFD Chief Executive Officer of the Western Sydney Regional Organisation of Councils (WSROC)

Charles Casuscelli 

As Chief Executive Officer of WSROC, Charles leads an organisation that provides drive and vision to local Government of Western Sydney – one of Australia's fastest growing regions and the nation's third largest economy.

In addition to his WSROC role, Charles is also an Australian Defence Force Liaison Officer with the Army, providing advice to the NSW State Government on defence capability and policy as it affects emergency management. He was awarded the Reserve Force Decoration for his military service as an officer in the Australian Army Reserve.

Formerly, Charles was the State Member for Strathfield. During his electoral term, he was Chair of the Transport and Infrastructure Committee and Deputy Chair of the Transport Management Centre Review Committee.

Charles has held a number of senior executive appointments in the public and private sectors including Project Director for the then NSW Roads and Traffic Authority. He was responsible for the building and commissioning of the NSW Transport Management Centre, a world-class facility, in time for the Sydney Olympics.

Friday, 16 September 2016

9:30 am Dr Michael Myers OAM President of Engineers Australia - Sydney

Michael is a mechanical engineer who spent 30 years leading his own technology start-up, implementing high-end, computer-aided engineering technology into major manufacturers around the world, including Boeing, Toyota, IBM, Australian Department of Defence and Tata Technologies.

In 1998, Michael founded the Re-Engineering Australia Foundation, with the goal to engage, inspire and educate students, teachers and industry. The foundation focuses on implementing science, technology, engineering and mathematics career intervention programs in primary and high schools around Australia. To date, over 650,000 Australian students have been mentored through these programs.

Michael holds a Bachelor of Engineering as well as a Masters degree and Doctorate in business administration. He has been ranked as one of Australia's 100 most influential engineers. Michael is President of Engineers Australia - Sydney Division, and in 2012 he was awarded the Order of Australia Medal for his services to youth through the Re-Engineering Australia Foundation.

12:00 noon Talal Yassine OAM Managing Director of Crescent Wealth


Talal is Managing Director of Crescent Wealth and an Adjunct Professor with Western Sydney University's School of Business.

He also serves on the Western Sydney University Foundation Board and the Board of the University's Whitlam Institute.

After 10 years at PricewaterhouseCoopers as a director and strategist, Talal joined the investment firm Babcock and Brown Ltd, working in the corporate finance group, and later in the technical real estate division. Later, Talal held leadership positions in Better Place Australia.

Talal serves as the Chairman of Quay Capital, the Australian Arab Dialogue Limited, and as the Patron of the Crescent Institute Ltd.

Talal holds a Master of Laws, a Master of Business Administration, and several undergraduate degrees. On Australia Day 2010, he was awarded a Medal of the Order of Australia for his service to business and to the community through a range of education, health and multicultural organisations.

2:30 pm Deng Adut Defence Lawyer at AC Law Group

Deng is a Western Sydney University Law alumnus, a community leader and internationally renowned lawyer. He has been nationally recognised for his achievements with NSW Premier Mike Baird inviting Deng to give the 2016 Australia Day Address, which drew critical acclaim in Australia and abroad.

Having come to Australia as a refugee, following life as a child soldier in Sudan, Deng put himself through law school and has become a formidable advocate. His life story featured in the University's 'Unlimited' advertising campaign, which showcased the remarkable stories of Western Sydney University graduates. The short film featuring Deng's story accrued in excess of 5 million views across the globe.

Deng practices in the areas of criminal, family, employment and international law. With a busy legal practice, multiple speaking engagements and a biography telling his story being launched in October 2016, Deng has also returned to postgraduate study at Western Sydney University to complete a Master of Laws (International Governance).