ANU grads get their moment in the spotlight

07 Feb 2022

More than 2,000 graduating students will return to The Australian National University's (ANU) Acton campus this week to mark the end of their university careers at the University's first in-person graduation ceremonies since 2019.  

The University's 2022 graduation ceremonies will run from Monday 7 until Wednesday 9 February.  

The 2,000 graduates who will attend in-person are part of a group of more 13,000 students who have completed their ANU studies since the start of 2020.  

ANU Vice-Chancellor Professor Brian Schmidt offered his congratulations to all graduates on reaching the end of their studies during such a challenging time.  

"Graduations are important; they mark a major time of transition in most people's lives, and mark the end of many years of hard work," Professor Schmidt said. 

"Hopefully the wait will be worthwhile for our graduates. I'm so pleased they will finally have their 'walk across stage' moment in a traditional graduation ceremony. 

"Campus has been quiet for a long time, so it will be wonderful to see people out and about again, and able to celebrate in person." 

One of the 6,000 ANU students who completed their studies at the end of 2021 was Bachelor of Health Science graduate Suomi Gopalakrishnan

A former refugee fleeing war in Sri Lanka, Ms Gopalakrishnan topped the class at her inner-Brisbane college and was school captain.  
Despite her incredible achievements, her dream of university study and becoming a doctor remained out of reach. Because asylum seekers are classed as full fee-paying international students, the cost of a tertiary education was too much. 

That's when Professor Schmidt stepped in, offering free tuition and accommodation while she completed her bachelor's degree.    
Ms Gopalakrishnan said now she has graduated she will continue her dream of becoming a rural doctor in Australia, specialising in cardiology. 

"Since I was little, as young as five years old, I always wanted to become a doctor. And that never changed, even during hardship," she said.  

"I want to give back to the community and medicine is the best way to do that."

This week's ceremonies will also include the conferral of several honorary doctorates, including to author Melissa Lucashenko for her services to literature, and Professor Ken Henry for his services to public policy.  

Melissa Lucashenko spent time at ANU in 2019 as the inaugural HC Coombs Creative Arts Indigenous Fellow. 

The 2022 graduation ceremonies will begin at 2pm on Monday 7 February.