Class of COVID-19: Celebrating UniSA's 1600 new graduates

By Rosanna Galvin

Graduates Fifteen graduation ceremonies were held in Pridham Hall in February.

More than 1600 graduates – whose celebrations were put on ice last year because of the pandemic – were finally able to commemorate their achievements with UniSA’s 2021 graduations recommencing in February.

story12b.jpgPhysiotherapy graduates Kaiden Coats, James Cosenza and Georgia Crossman in Pridham Hall.

Fifteen ceremonies were held in Pridham Hall, giving graduates the chance to don a cap and gown and celebrate with their loved ones.

Among the graduates was Dr Hayley Schultz, who submitted her PhD on innovative drug delivery to improve the treatment of prostate cancer, more than a year ago.  

Now working at UniSA’s Quality Use of Medicines Pharmacy Research Centre, Dr Schultz says she put off graduating in 2020 as she wanted to get the full graduation experience.

“I started at UniSA in 2012 and went on to do my honours and PhD here,” she says.

“I never planned to become a researcher – as a kid I thought I might be a chef or event planner. By high school though, I had decided on some sort of career in science as I wanted a job that challenged me and helped others at the same time.

“After eight years, I wanted to finish my time as a UniSA student with a proper graduation ceremony.”

Her parents and fiancé attended the ceremony, and she was able to continue the celebration afterwards with the research team from her PhD.

Dr Schultz’s current research focuses on using pharmacological principles to inform the optimal use of medications.

Dr Schultz and her PhD supervisor Professor Clive Prestidge secured a Hospital Research Foundation grant in February to progress preclinical studies on a revolutionary formulation of the drug Zytiga. The aim of the grant is undercover the best formulation of the drug to provide prostate cancer patients with the most efficient and effective treatment.

UniSA Vice Chancellor Professor David Lloyd says that while the graduates already had their degrees formally conferred last year, graduation ceremonies are an important opportunity to mark one of life’s most significant milestones.  

“Graduation is about so much more than the piece of paper you receive at the end of your degree; it’s the chance to reflect on the journey so far, the connections you’ve made, and the direction you want to go,” he says.

“This is the largest group of graduates we’ve been able to host since the pandemic began. We are thankful that here in South Australia we are able to honour the achievements of our graduates – in an appropriately socially distanced manner – and give them that moment to cross the stage and celebrate all of their accomplishments.”

UniSA will hold more than 30 graduation ceremonies in Adelaide, Whyalla and Mount Gambier between 12 April and 11 May.

2021 UniSA Graduates