Exceptional achievement recognised for outstanding student

Document Type

Media Release

Publication Date

Winter 27-7-2011

Publisher Name

The University of Notre Dame, Fremantle Campus

Publication Place



“When we came to this University, we started out as strangers and now, we are walking away as friends – friends that will be forever remembered and cherished.” – Gemma Thomson.

The supportive relationships that exist between students and academic staff at The University of Notre Dame Australia boost personal and professional growth, according to Farewell Speaker at the Fremantle Campus’ July Graduation ceremony, Gemma Thomson.

Miss Thomson said Notre Dame’s “community” atmosphere and encouragement of students to reach their academic potential underpinned her three and a half year journey at the University.

She completed her Commerce/Arts degree with the highest Grade Point Average (GPA) from the July graduating cohort and is in contention for the University Medal, the highest academic honour presented to an undergraduate student.

The former Iona Presentation College student delivered the Farewell Address on behalf of more than 400 graduating students during the ceremony on Sunday, July 24.

Described as an “outstanding student” by Executive Dean of the College of Business, Professor Chris Doepel, Miss Thomson has represented the University with pride at several functions throughout her tenure.

In June, she spoke on behalf of Fremantle Business students at the University’s inaugural Internship Appreciation Ceremony in front of some of Western Australia’s most influential business leaders.

Miss Thomson also joined fellow Notre Dame student Hanna Forrest at the HR Nicholls 31st Conference in Melbourne on April 1-2. They were sponsored by the Mannkal Economic Education Foundation to attend the conference discussing the topic - How Fair is Fair Work Australia?

Whilst studying, Miss Thomson has been actively involved in her community: as a volunteer surf lifesaver at Cottesloe Beach; a volleyball coach at Iona Presentation College; and one of two WA State representatives for Giovani Italiani Australia in 2009 – an organisation that promotes the Italian language and culture to young people around the country.

Mining giants Rio Tinto have also noticed Miss Thomson’s potential, offering the 22-year-old a full time position as a HR Graduate Advisor commencing in October after a successful internship at their Perth office.

The Human Resource Management Course Coordinator in the School of Business at Fremantle, Mike Fazey, said Miss Thomson was a fantastic ambassador for the University.

“Gemma’s performance in the human resource management program was outstanding,” Mr Fazey said.

“She was the top student in almost all of the HR units she completed.

“I’m not at all surprised that she has already been snapped up by a leading mining company.”

In her final act as a Notre Dame undergraduate student, Miss Thomson called on her fellow graduates to uphold Saint Mary MacKillop’s words; ‘never see a need without doing something about it’.

“The testamurs that we receive today don’t define us or make us better than anybody else,” Miss Thomson said during her speech.

“They are simply tools that we can use to help us become the person that we are meant to be.

“I pray that you will always understand the importance of what you are able to contribute to the world and that you will always work to become the best person you can be.”

Media Contact: Leigh Dawson (+61) 8 9433 0569, Mob (+61) 0405 441 093