Sydney Campus celebrates third annual graduation

Document Type

Media Release

Publication Date

Summer 21-12-2010

Publisher Name

The University of Notre Dame Australia, Sydney Campus

Publication Place



The University of Notre Dame Australia’s Sydney Campus celebrated its third annual graduation on the 15th and 16th of December.

400 students from the Schools of Arts & Sciences, Business, Education, Law, Nursing, Medicine and Philosophy & Theology graduated in front of family, staff and friends over three ceremonies.

The celebrations began with a mass, celebrated by His Eminence Cardinal George Pell, at St Mary’s Cathedral on the 14th with over 2000 guests attending.

At the first and second ceremonies respectively, highly respected Aboriginal Elder, Mrs Elsie Heiss, and distinguished Academic, Poet and Jesuit Priest, Professor Peter Steele S.J., were awarded Honorary Doctorates.

Mrs Heiss, was awarded her a Honorary Degree of Doctor of Arts for her involvement in the cause of reconciliation in the NSW Aboriginal communities and for her commitment to the life of the Church.

Mrs Heiss said she was overwhelmed by the recognition and still could not quite believe it.

“Who would have thought that a little Aboriginal girl from the Cowra Mission Reserve would ever end up standing here at Notre Dame University and receiving an honour like this?”

Mrs Heiss is a member of the School of Arts & Sciences Advisory Board at Notre Dame and is also a member of the Peace and Justice Committee of the Sydney Archdiocese. She is currently the Coordinator of the Aboriginal Catholic Church and Ministry at La Perouse and was recently appointed to the new Advisory Board for Aboriginal services in the Sydney Archdiocese.

Professor Steele received an Honorary Doctorate of Arts for his contribution to tertiary education and for his many literary accomplishments.

Professor Steele’s commitment to teaching started in 1966 when he commenced at the School of English at the University of Melbourne, a connection that continues. Since then Professor Steele has been a visiting professor at Fordham and Georgetown Universities, as well as Loyla University, Chicago and the University of Alberta. He holds a Personal Chair at the University of Melbourne, and is a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Humanities.

Professor Steele has a distinguished history of publications in prose and poetry. In particular, he has published numerous volumes of poetry, the earliest being Word from Lilliput in 1973.

Vice Chancellor, Professor Celia Hammond, said Professor Steele had touched the lives of many, through his homilies and pastoral ministry, his writing, his teaching and his friendship, and the University was honoured to recongise all he has achieved. The Vice Chancellor expressed the University’s sense of pride and pleasure in actually awarding the Honorary Doctorates and in the achievements of all the new graduates.

Particularly significant this year was the graduation of undergraduate students from the School of Law. 22 students successfully completed the five year academic program.

Dean of Law, Professor Gerard Ryan, commented, “The School is enormously proud at the graduation of such an outstanding cohort of future lawyers. Their professional experience and thorough training in the field has made them job-ready for 2010.”

Media Contact:

Moira Saunders (+61) 2 8204 4407