Early Christmas present for students at December graduations


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

The University's Parramatta campus will be awash with colour and excitement as graduands and their families come together for the six ceremonies, being held from 15 December 2016 to 16 December 2016.

Over 1000 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 Law, Business, Nursing and Midwifery, Science and Health and Education.

Prominent Australians Liz Ellis AM, the Honourable Elizabeth Evatt AC, and Jack Manning Bancroft will also be recognised with Honorary Awards in recognition of their contribution to Western Sydney and the broader community.

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

Thursday, 15 December 2016

9:30 am The Honourable Elizabeth Evatt AC Member, United Nations Human Rights Commission


The University is pleased to award the Honourable Elizabeth Evatt AC a Doctor of Laws, honoris causa, as part of this ceremony, for her distinguished service to law and social justice.

An eminent Australian reformist lawyer and jurist, her traiblazing support of women's civil and human rights has left Australia with a significant and lasting legacy.

Elizabeth studied law at the University of Sydney, the youngest law student ever accepted. At 21 she was the youngest barrister admitted in NSW. She went on to win a scholarship to Harvard University where she was awarded a Master of Laws.

Appointed as the inaugural Chief Justice of the Family Court of Australia, Elizabeth was the first female to preside in an Australia Federal Court. She was the first Australian to be elected to the United Nations Human Rights Committee.

Elizabeth's achievements have been acknowledged with national honours, including Officer of the Order of Australia and the Companion of the Order of Australia.

12:00 noon Professor Rhonda Griffith AM, School of Nursing and Midwifery Western Sydney University


The University is pleased to award Professor Rhonda Griffith AM the title of Emeritus Professor as part of this ceremony, for her distinguished academic contribution to teaching and research in the fields of nursing and midwifery, as well as her services to the University.

After 18 years of service to the University, Rhonda retired in September 2016 as Dean of the School of Nursing and Midwifery.

Rhonda came to the University in 1999 with an international reputation as a researcher and diabetes educator. Her research spans three decades, with grants in excess of $3.6 million including National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC), Australian Research Council (ARC), Australian Primary Health Care Research Institute and Commonwealth grants.

Under her leadership, the student cohort in the School of Nursing and Midwifery doubled. It is now one of the largest pre-registration nursing courses in Australia and is ranked in the Top 50 for nursing in the 2016 (QS) World University Rankings by Subject.

2:30 pm Diane Burton Director, Nursing and Midwifery Nepean Hospital


Diane worked in the South Western Sydney Local Health District for over 30 years. She commenced as an enrolled nurse and while working she studied and graduated from Western Sydney University with a Bachelor of Nursing degree. Diane also lectured for the University, at the Campbelltown and Bankstown campuses.

Diane has practised as a registered nurse in a variety of settings, with the Emergency Department, and the surgical, medical and coronary care unit.

While working at Liverpool hospital, Diane continued to advance professionally and gained extensive experience in the roles of clinical nurse specialist, clinical nurse educator, Nursing Unit Manager and Nurse Manager. In 2012, she relived in the role of Operational Nurse Manager and was appointed to the role permanently.

After 21 years with Liverpool Hospital, Diane was appointed to the role of Director of Nursing at Nepean Hospital, where she provides leadership to the nursing and midwifery professions.

Friday, 16 December 2016

9:30 am Dr Glen Sanford, Sydney Graduate School of Management Western Sydney University


Glen was an Audit Partner at Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu until he retired in 2014.

He was appointed an Adjunct Professor in the University's School of Business and a member of the External Advisory Committee for the school's undergraduate programs.

Glen has made an extraordinary contribution to Western Sydney University, which began when he was appointed Chair of the Audit and Risk Management Committee in 1997, holding the position until 2010. He was then appointed Chair of the Finance and Investment Committee from 2011 to 2013. At the same time, he also became a member of the Strategy and Planning Committee.

Glen served as a member of the University's Board of Trustees from 2007 and he was elected Deputy Chancellor from 2010 until December 2013. The University was pleased to award Glen an Honorary Doctorate of Letters in 2014.

12:00 noon Liz Ellis AM


The University is pleased to award Liz Ellis AM a Doctor of Letters, honoris causa, as part of this ceremony, for her distinguished service to netball and support for charitable organisations.

One of the most respected names in netball, Liz has a remarkable 18-year elite sporting career including two Commonwealth Gold Medals, three World Championships, four National League titles, for Most Valuable Player awards and an Australian record of 122 Test matches.

Born in Windsor, she started playing netball at the age of eight with the Green Hills Netball Club in South Windsor. She is still a member and sponsor of this club today.

Liz graduated with a Bachelor of Arts/Bachelor of Law degree from Macquarie University and practised for a number of years, however it is for her career in sport and media broadcasting that she is most recognised.

In 2009, she was awarded a Member of the Order of Australia.

2:30 pm Jack Manning Bancroft Chief Executive Officer Australian Indigenous Mentoring Experience (AIME)


The University is pleased to award Jack Manning Bancroft an Honorary Fellowship as part of this ceremony, for his distinguished service to mentoring Indigenous students.

At just 31 years of age, Jack is one of the nation's most enterprising millennials.

At 17, he won a scholarship to the prestigious St Paul's College at Sydney University. He envisaged a mentoring program to pair university students with disadvantaged youth for their mutual benefit.

Two years later he founded the Australian Indigenous Mentoring Experience (AIME) Program with 25 Indigenous children in Redfern. The organisation's goal is to support 10,000 students annually by 2018.

By 2015, under Jack's leadership, the organisation was providing nearly 2,000 mentors to 5,000 young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people across 325 schools and 18 universities.

Indigenous children who complete the AIME program finish school and transition through to university, employment and further training at almost the same rate as every Australian child - effectively closing the gap.