Adelaidean - News from the University of Adelaide The University of Adelaide Australia
September 2009 Issue
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Celebrating our graduates' success


Graduation ceremonies are an annual highlight of the University of Adelaide's events calendar.

More than 1500 students graduated in five ceremonies held in Bonython Hall last month, watched on by thousands of family members, friends, colleagues and university staff.

Graduating with a PhD in Art History at last month's ceremonies was 80-year-old Avis Smith, who says there's nothing like doing a PhD, especially under a supervisor like Associate Professor Cathy Speck, to keep your mind active.

Mrs Smith's PhD thesis is called Changing fortunes: the history of china painting in South Australia.

"China painting has been a form of art in South Australia since the 1890s but it has not been documented," says Mrs Smith.

She says there have been important social rituals around getting out your best china and china painting is part of this.

"Unfortunately women's culture has largely been overlooked by historians," she says.

Mrs Smith - pictured here with son David - first graduated from the University of Adelaide with a diploma in Pharmacy in the early 1950s. For 20 years she was the Chief Pharmacist at Broken Hill Base Hospital.

Mace-bearer John McLaughlin (left) and Vince Grande became the first two graduates of the specialist defence Masters degree, the Master of Marine Engineering.

Delivered by the University of Adelaide's School of Mechanical Engineering and Australian defence company ASC, the Masters program is the only degree of its kind in Australia, filling an education gap for naval defence engineers.

The program consists of core courses in either submarines or naval ships, together with a general system engineering course. Students are then able to select from a range of electives that provide breadth and depth in Marine Engineering to complement their existing engineering degrees.

John and Vince became the first of 27 ASC employees to complete the Masters program. Places are also available to other students, including Commonwealth-funded places.

The Master of Marine Engineering has been made possible through funding from Defence Materiel Organisation's Skilling Australia's Defence Industry (SADI) initiative.

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Avis Smith
Photo by Robyn Mills

Avis Smith
Photo by Robyn Mills

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Mace-bearer John McLaughlin (left) and Vince Grande
Photo by David Ellis

Mace-bearer John McLaughlin (left) and Vince Grande
Photo by David Ellis

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For more news on the research and educational achievements of the University & our alumni read the University's bi-annual magazine, Lumen.