Standing Ovation for 2007 UNDA outstanding Graduate

Document Type

Media Release

Publication Date

Summer 18-12-2007

Publisher Name

The University of Notre Dame Australia, Fremantle

Publication Place



The University of Notre Dame Australia (UNDA), Fremantle Campus graduated 700 students on Sunday 16th December. Three ceremonies were held during the day with family and friends gathering to share in the graduands celebrations.

As is tradition at the graduation ceremony, special mention is made of the highest achieving student. 2007 saw a particularly significant moment when the overall Valedictorian for 2007, law student, Maria Mansour’s name was announced. In an unprecedented show of support, over 1000 people stood to congratulate Maria who has proved a true inspiration overcoming many challenges to complete her degree.

Maria has Cerebral Palsy – a permanent physical condition that affects movement and she has had to have a ‘scribe’ and full time carer to assist her throughout her studies. Despite the obvious challenges, she graduated with a Bachelor of Laws, first class honours. In her seven years of study at Notre Dame, Ms Mansour earned only Distinctions and High Distinctions giving her the highest grade point average (3.7) out of all the students graduating this year.

She told her fellow graduates that UNDA will ‘always hold a special place in my heart’ during her moving valedictory speech.

“I feel blessed to have all of you in my life, and grateful that – thanks to everyone at Notre Dame – I have simply ‘gotten this far’,” said Ms Mansour.

“It was always going to take me longer to finish this degree, but I enjoyed it from the very beginning and decided to stick with it. By nature I’m a bit of a perfectionist and have always had the notion that if I just did the best I could, I would succeed.

“The whole School of Law is amazing. They accepted me straight away and were prepared to take a chance on a unique student. I was given tremendous support in deciding the appropriate path I was going to take with my study. I never once felt like it was too much of an obstacle.”

Ms Mansour said she doesn’t know what the future holds, but is looking forward to working hard and gaining experience in the legal profession.

“Law is such an interesting profession. I don’t exactly know what I want to get into, but I’ll be happy to get my hands dirty and see what I do like. At the moment I’m interested in Building Construction and Corporate Commercial Law, but I’m open to anything.”

Vice Chancellor, Dr Peter Tannock said, “Maria was a brilliant and inspirational presence at the University. She is much loved by staff and students.”

18 December 2007
Media contact:

Michelle Ebbs
08 9433 0610, 0408 959 138