Chancellor Pauline Carr

2022 Alumni Awards Address

Chancellor Pauline Carr

Good evening, welcome everyone to the UniSA Alumni Awards, and thank you, Uncle Lewis, for your generous Welcome to Country.

This is a very special night for UniSA.

It’s one of my favourite occasions of the year, because we bring so many of you, from our University community, together, to celebrate the best of our best.

Tonight, we honour those alumni who have gone over and above our best expectations and made a real difference to the lives of the people they connect with.

Welcome also to Pridham Hall, which is a fitting backdrop for this celebration of community, of learning and of achievement.

Pridham Hall, as many of you would know, was named for another alumnus in whom we take great pride – investment banker Andrew Pridham – whose very generous donation went a long way to bringing this building to life.

This hall is where our community comes together to celebrate our major achievements and, most notably, it is in this hall that our new graduates cross the stage and take their first steps into their new professional lives.

About 8000 new graduates leave UniSA every year, armed with the credentials that show they’re prepared to take their place in whichever career they have chosen.

I still think presiding over those graduating ceremonies is the highlight of my role as Chancellor. And it never fails to inspire me, hearing their stories, to learn just how far a good education, coupled with a great heart, can reach.

Tonight, you’ll get to meet four members of our alumni family who have made all of us very proud.

They are examples of how dedication, hard work, an unstoppable spirit, and thirst for knowledge can make a difference.

They are also representatives of a broader community – of the stories that we might not always hear - of the more than 220,000 UniSA alumni who are facing up to the challenges of our complex, changing and uncertain times, and bringing their knowledge and skills to the problems we face.

In the past few years in the face of pandemics, floods, climate change, social dislocation and war, we have seen the importance of building strong communities based on mutual understanding, shared knowledge and access to the opportunities that education can bring.

It’s in times like these that universities such as UniSA have an even greater role to play.

Our ability to change people’s lives through education and through research, to shine a light on injustice, and to balance the debate with facts and evidence, can help our community, our country, and the world move through these uncertain and, to be quite frank, sometimes quite terrifying, times.

So to choose just four stories for our annual Alumni Awards given the many profound contributions made across our community becomes more difficult each year. This is a good thing.

And so ahead of recognising tonight the few, I know we all acknowledge the many who are contributing to the pursuit of our best selves and the betterment of our community.

Finally, while we celebrate the success stories and award winners, let’s also take some time tonight to give our support to those of our students who could use our help.

Tonight, as is our practice, we are holding a silent auction, and all of the proceeds will go to scholarships to support UniSA’s refugee students.

There are, at last count, 52 spectacular items up for offer, so please make a bid or two, if you can.

You’ll not only walk away with something truly special, but you take with it the knowledge that you have materially impacted the success of some of our students in the most need.

Thank you for sharing the occasion with us – I know that there is so much on at this time of year, and we really appreciate you choosing to be here.

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