Hundreds of happy graduates have finally had the chance to cross the stage at CQUniversity Melbourne Graduations' the first held since 2019 due to pandemic disruptions.
Two big events on Monday 7 March 2022 welcomed more than 550 graduates' cheered on by family' friends and CQUniversity supporters.
The ceremonies' held on the eve of International Women's Day' included 50 per cent female graduates.
Acting Vice-Chancellor and President Professor Grant Stanley congratulated all the graduates' and paid tribute to the cohort's persistence across the past three years.
"The pandemic presented countless challenges' and you had to adapt and innovate in the way you worked' studied and networked'" he said.
"Your studies were not how you might have picture' but you have shown incredible commitment to learning and development."
Delivering the Graduate Response speech' Master of Professional Accounting graduate Lakmini Dewage told the audience about the challenges she faced through her study journey' including the death of her father back home in Sri Lanka.
"I couldn't go and say goodbye to him. That was the hardest thing I ever had to do'" she said.
"But I know his guiding hand will always be on my shoulder."
Mrs Dewage' who had lived in the United Kingdom and worked on the London Stock Exchange before moving to Australia to study' said studying through the pandemic proved the determination of all the graduates.
"If you really want to achieve something in your life and if you have the positive attitudes towards your dreams' nothing is impossible in life'" Mrs Dewage said.
"If you want something you have never had' you must do something you have never done."
The ceremonies also recognised a new Companion of the University' social enterprise and social procurement pioneer Mark Daniels.
Mr Daniels' who has been part of CQUniversity's Social Innovation Engagement Committee since 2014' is the founder of Social Traders' a not-for-profit that certifies and supports social enterprise development through procurement.
As guest speaker' the Honorary Awardee shared his career journey' from teacher to town planner to affordable housing policy-maker to social entrepreneur.
"If you don't fit into the box' don't be afraid to walk away from traditional careers'" he challenged students.
Stephanie Lim' who graduated with her Master of Project Management with Distinction' was named the Associate Vice-President's Region Medallist' recognising her leadership.
Two doctoral students were also among the graduates: Dr Fuseini Inusah' who investigated corporate social responsibility in Ghana; Dr Sundar Shrestha' who estimated adhesion in railway wheel-rail interface.