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USQ Toowoomba Graduation Ceremony Valedictorian: Angela Peggy Rose Mason – 2PM Friday 8 Sept 2017


Chancellor, Vice-Chancellor, guest speaker
The Honourable Dame Quentin Bryce AD CVO, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen,
and USQ graduates, Good Afternoon! To stand before you today, representing my
fellow graduates, is a truly humbling experience and I am honoured to have been given the opportunity
to celebrate this occasion with you all. When I started my degree nearly 5 years ago
my graduation was a goal that seemed so far away that I dared not dwell on it. But here we are today, and graduation is no
longer a passing thought, a dream, an aspiration – today, it is a reality, an achievement
that we should be extremely proud of. Congratulations to all of us! When I sat down to prepare this speech, I
experienced a bout of writer’s block. I found myself, for the hundredth time since
starting university staring at an all too familiar blank Word doc. I asked my partner for some advice, and he
said, “Write something that is relevant to everyone”. Now that is much easier said than done! It did get me thinking about the experiences
we may have shared though. For example, that moment each semester where
we resolved that next semester, we would definitely not fall behind with our readings or studies. Perhaps like me, you recall the temporary
relief when you finish an exam, then remember you have another at 8:30am the next morning? I think I speak on behalf of all of us when
I say that experiencing these things together has instilled in us a shared pride in what
we have all achieved as USQ graduates. Our university journeys are not limited to
the experiences we shared – each of us has had their own unique experience. We have all been to university for a different
reason, learnt different things along the way, and taken away something different at
the end of our studies. That’s what makes finishing our degrees
so significant. Our degrees are not only a testament to our
commitment, diligence, abilities and ambition – they represent so much more to each of us. So, amongst all of the excitement, photographs
and congratulatory hugs, I urge you to take stock today of what you have achieved, and
most importantly what it means to you. I am sure we would all like to recognise the
many who have contributed to our success – our spouses, partners, parents, family, friends,
grandparents, children and siblings. Thank you for your unwavering support and
love throughout these years. You have been dedicated and patient in the
trying times, and now you can celebrate and share in our triumph today – we could not
have done this without you! I would like to extend our gratitude and sincere
appreciation to the University of Southern Queensland – for providing us with the opportunity
& facilities to further our learning and personal growth. Thank you to all the professional staff at
USQ for making our experience here so enriching. So often you make our days that little bit
easier, and we know that your support is just a simple chat away. I’ve reserved my final thanks for those
most essential to our learning, the USQ academic staff. The quality of teaching at USQ is one of the
most important factors in determining study ‘satisfaction’. The professional advice from our lecturers,
the challenges they posed us, and the wisdom they imparted has made for an incredibly satisfying
experience. They’ve fostered a culture of inquiry in
us, and instilled a desire for lifelong-learning. You will undoubtedly come across our familiar
faces over the years as we are drawn back to the University as USQ Alumni. Once again, thank you for your tireless commitment
in supporting us. Lastly, congratulations to my fellow graduates. Our careers will no doubt take us all down
different paths; but by applying the ‘it’s a small world theory’, I’m certain we’ll
cross paths in the future. I hope we can use our common USQ bond to ‘cement’
our future professional relationships. Thank you, and enjoy the rest of this wonderful
day!

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