More than 1,800 students graduated from USC last week in the largest round of graduation ceremonies ever held by the University.
Twelves ceremonies from 10-12 April featured plenty of pomp and circumstance as USC awarded degrees, certificates and diplomas and celebrated the success of its high achievers.
Chancellor’s Medals were presented to three students who contributed significantly to USC and the general community while achieving outstanding academic results.
The recipients were Bachelor of Education (Early Childhood) graduate Deb Kelsey of Landsborough, Bachelor of Laws/Bachelor of Commerce (Financial Planning) graduate Michael Jefferies of Buderim and Master of Arts (Geography) graduate Renee Currenti of Mudjimba.
Renee, 24, who is currently working with the Sunshine Coast Council’s Community Catchment Partnerships team, said she was genuinely surprised to be acknowledged as a Chancellor’s Medallist.
“What drives me to spend time helping others is knowing how lucky we are in Australia to have so many opportunities at our fingertips,” Renee said.
“I learned from a young age that not everyone is as fortunate as we are, and I find it easy to spend time giving to others knowing that I am in the position to do so.
“The time I have spent in Fiji with people who have very few material possessions but so much love and happiness reminded me to be grateful for, and humble about what we have.”
An Honorary Doctorate was awarded to Chief Justice Susan Kiefel, who in 2017 became the first female Chief Justice to be appointed to the High Court of Australia.
The graduate responses featured some moving and entertaining speeches, including one by Paramedic Science graduate Jason Carter, who this year started studying a Doctor of Medicine with Griffith University at the Sunshine Coast University Hospital.
Jason, who received a USC University Medal on Wednesday for achieving a GPA of more than 6.8 out of a possible 7, outlined his journey from being a troubled teen to a talented medical student.
Another impressive graduate was 75-year-old great grandmother from Beerwah, Pauline Lorenzen, who graduated with a Bachelor of Laws, proving that it is never too late to make a career change.
“My father taught me there was nothing I couldn’t do if I wanted to do it,” Pauline said.
“I knew I was at an age where I had to retire but I wanted to keep my brain active and I’d always had an interest in the law.”