Notre Dame graduates called to transform communities where they live and work

Graduates celebrate their successes
at Notre Dame.
Hannah Elliott delivers the Farewell Address to the graduates from the Schools of Business, Health Sciences, Law and Philosophy & Theology

10 December 2015

More than 1000 graduates of The University of Notre Dame Australia were called to display mercy, largeheartedness, generosity and faith as they farewelled the Fremantle Campus last week and commenced their journey as instruments of change in their communities.

Benefactors, donors, academic and departmental staff, friends, family and other members of the Notre Dame community joined to celebrate the achievements of 1062 graduates from the Fremantle Campus at the Graduation Mass and Ceremonies from 8 to 10 December.

Bachelor of Theology graduate, Matthew Tloczek, reads the Prayers of the Faithful at the Graduation Mass

The highest achieving graduates delivered the Farewell Addresses at each of the four ceremonies – Robin CoopesWilliams (Bachelor of Counselling), Shimona Driver (Bachelor of Education (Primary) / Bachelor of Behavioural Science), Tracey Sanders (Bachelor of Nursing) and Hannah Elliott (Bachelor of Biomedical Science).

It was also a momentous occasion for five graduates who were conferred higher degrees by research – Dr Jo Connaughton (Doctor of Physiotherapy Research), Dr Judith Wilson (Doctor of Philosophy, Physiotherapy), Dr Amanda McCubbin (Doctor of Education), Dr Lawrence Pang (Doctor of Philosophy, Philosophy & Theology) and Dr Jane Power (Doctor of Philosophy, Law).

Celebrations commenced with the annual Graduation Mass on Tuesday 8 December 2015, at St Mary’s Cathedral in Perth. More than 1100 guests attended the special ceremony where graduates were presented with their graduation crosses – a traditional icon of the University and a commemorative symbol of a student’s time at Notre Dame.

During his Homily, Archbishop of the Catholic Archdiocese of Perth, Timothy Costelloe SDB, said the event was a significant one as graduation celebrations coincided with the feast of the Immaculate Conception of Mary, after whom this University is named.

His Grace said the feast of the Immaculate Conception of Mary and the beginning of the Holy Year of Mercy spoke to graduates about what life and human flourishing are all about.

“As you move from university life to a different and in many respects a fuller engagement with the society in which we live, this question of human flourishing, both for you and for all those whose lives will be impacted, and hopefully enriched, by you is vitally important,” His Grace said.

“What kind of mark will you make on others? What impact will you make on our society? What kind of person will you turn out to be? What kind of person do you want to be?

“Mercy, large-heartedness, generosity and faith: these are the themes which run through tonight’s celebration here in our Cathedral. My prayer for you all is that your lives and your futures are deeply marked by these qualities.”

The University will have held a total of eight Graduation Ceremonies and farewelled more than 1200 students nationally before the end of 2015 – four in December and one in July on the Fremantle Campus; one in Broome; and two ceremonies in Sydney later this month. Hundreds more from the Sydney Campus will celebrate their graduation at the Sydney Town Hall in April 2016.

“We believe that the best education we can provide any person is one which encompasses specialised expertise, with the capacity to reflect on broader perspectives, including the ethical and social dimensions of their work, research, decision-making and promoting the common good,” Professor Celia Hammond, Notre Dame’s Vice Chancellor, said in her address to graduates.

“We hope and pray that as you go out today confident in your unique gifts and talents, but with an awareness of your own fragility and humanity and with a deeper understanding of your interconnectedness with all human people, that you let God’s mercy into your heart and let it shine through in your words and actions.

“Our hopes and prayers are that you will embrace life, truly live, truly love, laugh often, and above all, let God’s light shine through you.”

Leigh Dawson: Tel (08) 9433 0569; Mob 0405 441 093;