Notre Dame Acknowledges Top Students

Document Type

Media Release

Publication Date

Fall 26-4-2006

Publisher Name

The University of Notre Dame, Fremantle

Publication Place



The University of Notre Dame Australia’s Fremantle Campus recently held its Annual Award Ceremony which officially recognises the academic excellence and the strong sense of social justice amongst its students – characteristics which are fundamental to the University.

27 students were honoured for their work including second year law student Ms Joanna Blackley who was awarded the Brother Gerald T Faulkner Award for her outstanding contribution to the University’s Service Learning Program which she completed at the Fremantle Law Courts.

Ms Blackley assisted and supported an Aboriginal woman who was dealing with the justice system by accompanying her to and from court, sitting in the court with her and writing a report about her court experiences. According to Ms Blackley the experience taught her to listen from a point of compassion and respect. It also made her realise the similarities between humans are far greater and more inspiring than the differences, therefore she believes it is important for all law students to complete some form of volunteer work.

“As lawyers we will assume a privileged position within our community. Being aware of this is important as the way the law is administered impacts on people’s lives daily. Having some degree of understanding of why and how people end up needing a lawyer is paramount to offering good legal advice. Quite often clients will be leading lives that are unimaginable in terms of deprivation and marginalisation. Lawyers inhabit the unique and privileged position of being able to use the law to meet new and old challenges faced by members of the community,” she said.

As for the award Ms Blackley said “I’m excited that what I did has been acknowledged by an institution and that the institution is genuine in its attempt to reach into the community.

“The award will certainly help me express myself in terms of my desire to work in the community and contribute in whatever way I can, when attending job interviews etc. I am currently building on this experience with more volunteer work in this area,” she said.

Another notable award winner was Mrs Geraldine Kelly, who received the Vice Chancellor’s Medal for the highest achieving undergraduate student, for the third year running.

Following 18 years of a successful bank career Mrs Kelly decided to seek tertiary qualifications to complement her employment history. She graduated in December 2005 from her Bachelor of Commerce degree with High Distinction and was also the December class of 2005 Valedictorian. Mrs Kelly also received the 2003 CPA Best First Year Student Award and in 2004 the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants Award (CIMA).

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Madeleine Hubbard
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