There was a packed house at the Queens Park Theatre on Thursday evening 12April, as Geraldton Universities Centre (GUC) celebrated the graduation of a record 57 students.
Students, family and friends, along with representatives from CQUniversity, University of Southern Queensland and the broader GUC community, joined together for the celebration.
Nursing student Kylie Sims started her degree as a mature aged single mother of three boys, juggling university studies, part-time work and family life.
“All my fellow students came from different walks of life, but the common thing was we all shared the passion for nursing,” Ms Sims said.
“Studying through the GUC gave me the extra support I needed and the encouragement to successfully battle my way through study, assignments, exams and the 840 hours of practicum required to complete my nursing degree. I am very proud of my achievements.”
Ms Sims was one of 31 students to graduate from the Bachelor of Nursing degree this year.
Education graduate Daniella VanderOord said that the GUC gave her the opportunity to study education and stay at home with family and friends in Geraldton.
“I always had a passion for teaching but did not want to move to Perth. I didn’t want to leave my family and the town I love so much,” Ms VanderOord said.
“I can confidently say my time at the GUC provided me with the necessary support and mix of theory and practice to prepare me to be the educator I am today.”
During the ceremony, GUC Chair Steve Douglas spoke of GUC students as being tomorrow’s leaders and the importance of access to higher education in regional and remote areas.
“The GUC fulfils an important social and economic role – providing local access to university education and developing the skilled workforce of today and tomorrow,” Mr Douglas said.
“It is also a significant economic driver in its own right keeping around $4M locally (rather than being spent on students studying in Perth) and bringing in funding from external sources, which is then spent locally on staff, tutors, maintenance and the like.”
The GUC have been, and remain community led, community focused and community supported, so that today GUC is a vibrant, financially sound institution,” Mr Douglas said.
In 2018, the GUC has 300 students enrolled across 10 programs of study with University partners CQUniversity and the University of Southern Queensland.