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Graduations continue with inspiring talks

Two women, one in graduation dress
Graduate Kimberley Moriconi with her mother, Jane McNabb.
Former Justice of the High Court of Australia the Honourable Michael Kirby AC CMG was presented with the inaugural Honorary Award of Doctor of Laws before addressing the audience at the USQ Toowoomba morning graduation ceremony today (April 7).

Universities award honorary doctorates as a means of recognising outstanding personal achievements across a wide range of endeavours. They are a rare honour, conferred only after great deliberation.

“A university education is a challenge to shake our minds and to send us forth to give leadership and see things anew,” Justice Kirby said.

“Our country, in the law and everywhere, needs more fresh thinkers.

“The graduates of today pass the baton to create a better country and to build a better world.”

When Justice Kirby retired from the High Court of Australia he was Australia’s longest serving judge. He was elected as an Australian National Living Treasure and was honoured with the Laureate UNESCO Prize for Human Rights Education. Since his judicial retirement, Justice Kirby was awarded the Gruber Justice Prize and was named as a member of the Eminent Persons Group which was investigating the future of the Commonwealth of Nations.

“In the earnest hope that we will all rise to our challenges I conclude with words of praise and thanks to this university,” Justice Kirby said.

“In the place of injustice, we will strive for justice. In the place of poverty, we will strive for equality and opportunity. In the place of the old ways we will embrace the new technology. And we will not forget that human rights involve human love. And no machine, however clever, will ever be created to share in that emotion of love that binds our species together. Love is vital for all of us and for the biosphere and its survival. We should embrace love too.”

About 630 students became graduates after officially completing their Business, Education, Law and Arts degrees. The valedictorians were Bachelor of Commerce and Bachelor of Business graduate Sarah Paterson (morning ceremony) and Bachelor of Arts ‘with Distinction’ and Bachelor of Business ‘with Distinction’ graduate Amy Renee Knie (afternoon ceremony).

USQ Vice-Chancellor Professor Janet Verbyla acknowledged the significant achievement of the University’s newest alumni.

“Well done! It is an honour to celebrate our graduates’ great success amongst many proud family members and friends,” she said.

“Today is the culmination of many years of hard work, and this achievement will be the foundation upon which our graduates will build their future.

“I wish them all the best as they embark on careers and further education.”

Learn more about USQ graduations by visiting The next ceremony will be held later this month for USQ Springfield and USQ Ipswich graduands.