Convocation of UWA Graduates

The (Convocation) Network can make a difference

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After nearly two years as Warden of Convocation and with another coming before stepping down after elections are completed for 2020 it is timely to reflect on the role of Convocation, its members and our Council.

Doug McGhie

The (Convocation) Network can make a difference

Please ensure you vote now for your Deputy Warden, Councillors, and Senate representatives, with the ballot closing on March 12th, 2019.

When speaking to the new graduates at last December's graduation ceremonies, a catching reference was to the well over 150,000 graduates who preceded those I welcomed as new members to Convocation at each graduation. We have many members, almost all of whom are graduates of UWA and have shared time at the Nedlands campus with their many student friends and colleagues.

Within the University's 2030 planning process the greatest challenge thrown to Convocation is to help ensure the experience of present students is as good as it can be. Quite obviously most graduates are no longer at UWA, but many are nearby and well positioned to help do just that.

That friendship and collegiality we all took from our time at UWA should be one of the University's greatest assets for those who follow.

UWA's Alumni Relations page suggests over 93,000 UWA alumni live in Western Australia, with most of these being graduates. Convocation mails nearly 87,000 voting papers to its members for the current election, with about 15,500 of those overseas. Canberra is home for more than 1,000 alumni, Victoria nearly 4,000, Queensland nearly 1,500 and Tasmania about 350. Singapore has nearly 8,000, London about 1,500 and New York about 200.While our graduates and members are a global lot, most remain close to home, and they are potentially able to support a better experience for current students.

In Perth and WA both Convocation and the Office of Development and Alumni Relations (DAR) work to connect with Convocation's members, although the University's pool of contacts could be wider. DAR is well staffed and very active. Convocation is supported by our Convocation Officer and the voluntary contribution of Councillors and other members.Convocation aims to build on personal relationships that have been forged through years spent together at study, work, sport and fun at the University and then beyond. Many enduring UWA clubs and societies have a wider capture than overseas networks and they are readily available.

With Convocation Council involved in the review of its statutes following the recent revision of the University Act it became obvious that expert support would help. The powerful personal graduate network delivered two expert legal minds as voluntary support to Council.

That very network of friends, family, teammates and colleagues includes well connected business leaders and trainers, who are able to enable opportunities for our present students, building on the old links.

In 2019 Convocation will lead a challenge to the various networks to give opportunity to our current students, as mentors, sources of work integrated learning and future employment for our graduates. Students may also benefit from graduate friendship and pastoral care as they work through their studies. I'm sure that many of us are willing and able to help.

All we need is the friendly request. That is coming, so pitch in to make it better for UWA's current students. I'm sure they will be grateful as they look to further their own potential and careers.