More than 50 university students took to the stage at the Multiplex on Thursday afternoon to receive their CQUniversity Bundaberg graduating certificates.
It was the first in-person graduation ceremony since COVID-19 began.
Some 56 graduates from across 24 undergraduate and postgraduate degrees received their qualifications at the event.
Completing a Bachelor of Psychological Science at CQU, Raven Wolfram not only celebrated graduating but was also chosen as the graduate representative speaker, also known as valedictorian, for the ceremony.
Raven said although it was a little daunting, it was also an honour.
Raven said all students had faced challenging circumstances this year.
“Completing tertiary study is a journey of excitement, anxiety, sleep deprivation, sacrifice and determination, highs and lows, but this cohort has also faced challenges unthought of by previous peers,” Raven said.
“I congratulate you for forging onwards in uncharted waters.”
As a single parent, Raven decided to tackle a university degree to give focus to life and provide for the family.
“As a single parent I didn’t know where I was going, and I wasn’t doing anything,” Raven said.
“Now I have applied for my honours next year and I have focus and goals.
“I say to my fellow graduates as we finish today, you do not know how far the ripples of your success reach, as we move forward with careers, further study or both, we do not know who we are further inspiring.
“As we embark into a world that not only needs qualified professionals, which you all are, it desperately also needs role models, mentors, leaders, and heroes.”
Students applauded at CQU graduation
Associate vice-president Luke Sinclair applauded the graduating students of 2020, saying they had achieved their degrees in a tricky year.
“I’d like to congratulate all of our graduating students today, especially in a year that has provided many challenges,” he said.
“Graduation days are such a fantastic event and it is always a pleasure to see our students and their friends and families beam with pride and excitement.
“I know a lot of them have already found employment and opportunities which is fantastic to see and I wish them all the best for their future.”
Mayor Jack Dempsey also congratulated the CQU graduates, saying it was a fantastic occasion.
“Many graduates have put many years of their lives on hold, with many sacrifices, not just them but also their families and loved ones, to be able to walk across the stage here today and receive their certificates,” Mayor Dempsey said.
“I congratulate each and everyone of you for the achievements you've attained.”
In addition to the Australian graduates, there were also graduates from Singapore, Nepal, Sri Lanka and the Philippines in attendance.
Five Indigenous graduates also had the opportunity to receive cultural sashes at the event.
The ceremony was livestreamed to the University’s Graduation YouTube channel for friends and family who were unable to attend.
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