Convocation of UWA Graduates

Convocation Connecting 2019

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The announcement of the Open Day for the Forrest Research Foundation has created a unique opportunity for Convocation Council to communicate with its large and widely spread membership.

Higher calling for top Arts student

Connecting with Convocation

The announcement of the Open Day for the Forrest Research Foundation has created a unique opportunity for Convocation Council to communicate with its large and widely spread membership. Our members number around 140,000 and we are able to connect with around 60,000 of them through email. Here we have chosen the global list because members have been prominent in identifying a need for more and better information about developments around the Crawley campus.  We thank all members who maintain an active email address with Convocation and the University.

Given the invitation to the Forrest Research Foundation Open Day comes from me as Warden of Convocation and Professor Paul Johnson, as Warden of the Forrest Research Foundation  we thought a brief update from Convocation Council is appropriate.

Forrest Hall

Forrest Hall (stages 1 and 2) has been prominent in the Q&A session at our recent Ordinary Meetings and in correspondence with me as Warden with some members and members of the public expressing strong objections to the buildings and their location. The questions were addressed at the last two meetings. At the March meeting, Mr Robert Webster, Executive Director, Corporate Services, gave a detailed overview and Chancellor, The Hon.  Robert French AC confirmed that the decision has been taken by UWA Senate to proceed with the second stage. There was an appreciation that consultation with the community had not been as good or complete as it might have been.

Consequently, and given the progress to the second stage we agreed that it was appropriate for Convocation to be the vehicle for an opening of the Hall and its associated Research Foundation. This comes together at the June 8th Open Day.

Recognising that only nearby residents will be able to attend we are still keen for a wide cross section of Convocation’s members to be aware of our active role in this important revelation of the Forrest Research Foundation and its scholars, illustrating the purpose of the Forrest Hall. We look forward to a busy afternoon.

Convocation Council

Recently we saw a change of some of the guard with Councillors Dr Susan King, Dr Mark Andrich, Dr Libby Feutrill and Mr Graham Harmsworth completing their terms. New Councillors are Winthrop Professor Marc Tennant, Dr Tim Dymond, Dr David Griffiths and Dr Elijah Nathan. It is so encouraging to see the willing contribution made by your volunteer Councillors. Clinical Professor Lesley Cala is the new Deputy Warden and she has entered the fray with similar energy to Dr Joan Pope OAM who completed third term as Deputy Warden at the March Ordinary Meeting.

Committees and Chairs

Council is charged with statutory duties and has several committees who complete these obligations.

The committees and their Chairs are:

  • Executive – Dr Doug McGhie (Warden); Clinical Professor Lesley Cala (Deputy Warden)
  • Finance – Ms Julie Matheson – oversight of Convocations receipts and expenditure
  • Governance – Mr Jonathan Strauss – update of Convocation’s statutes, planning and response to the UWA 2030 Strategy and five-year Strategic Plan
  • Engagement – Dr Agi Gedeon – connection with members, connecting members with each other and with UWA students to assist with work integrated learning, placements, Mentoring, pastoral support, employment. The network of graduates is valuable and powerful as it works to mutual benefit
  • Review – Dr Fran Pesich – consideration of ways to improve the operation of Convocation Council, appreciating the amazing volunteer contribution made towards the University through Council. A particular focus is on the leverage of the volunteer contribution by collaborating with UWA staff in projects that are joint priorities
  • Awards –  Ms Nee Nee Ong – support of student and post graduate excellence through awards, scholarships and encouragement. Convocation proudly distributes returns from its members’ funds to support undergraduate and graduate excellence
  • Honours – Adjunct Professor Warren Kerr – supporting and encouraging recognition of graduates through various awards systems, ranging from internal to state, national and international awards and rewards
  • Events – Dr Angela Evangelinou-Yiannakis – supporting various special events
  • 50th Anniversary Luncheon – Mr Ric Stern – coordinating and bringing together the graduates of 50 years ago by inviting them back to UWA for an exciting afternoon full of celebration, reminiscence and discovery
  • Convocation Day – Emeritus Professor Jenny Gregory AM– an annual celebration of the first meeting of Convocation in 1914. Here we partner with the Guild of Undergraduates and invite a special group of graduates from the past
  • Publications – Mr Jim Paparo – ensuring the stories of our graduates are told in as many media as possible so their achievements can be recognised and celebrated
  • Fundraising – Dr Brett Davies – with Convocation permitted to raise funds for special (Convocation) purposes

Club Development Scholarship

Recently Council supported the UWA Boat Club with its celebrations of its 100th anniversary. Following that, Council is developing a potential scholarship that can be won by a student who is also active in helping clubs (sporting or otherwise) to improve their offer to potential student members. This could be coaches who improve the attractiveness of the clubs to students, local, national and international. By offering such scholarships in partnership with other funders such as UWA Sport for sport and the clubs themselves, the student who is making a contribution to the club and the University can be supported in their study.

Convocation has a limited pool of funds and must be circumspect so it promotes partnership to enhance the value of these initiatives.

You may be interested in supporting this scholarship scheme. Look on Convocation’s web site for details.Convocation Contribution Form


At each Graduation Ceremony, the Warden of Convocation or a deputy from Convocation Council welcome the new Graduates as new life-long Members of Convocation, offering encouragement to all to Go Forward and Excel.

The Grand Challenge – Convocation as a Difference

UWA’s new Strategic Plan has a strong focus on alumni, including enduring alumni, while Convocation does not feature centrally. However, given Senate’s new definition of alumni this is all about Convocation and its 140,000 or so graduate members from all decades. The network can create value by supporting current students and fellow graduates, helping to build careers and employability for UWA’s students.

Convocation Council is building on the graduate network to this end. Our volunteer Councillors encourage members to provide opportunities for work integrated learning, graduate placements and general support for our graduates.

Look on Convocation’s web site for details.Convocation Contribution Form

Council’s Work is Never Done

With Council’s new challenge to support UWA’s students and graduates and so create a difference for UWA through Convocation, Council is using its own General-Purpose reserves to employ support for Councillors.

Convocation Councillors’ voluntary contribution of their time to Convocation and UWA has recently been estimated to have a value of well over one quarter of a million dollars each year, all out of hours and supported by their own resources.

The annual return on Convocation’s invested funds is solidly committed to student excellence through our scholarship and awards process.

Donations from our members to Council’s casual staff support are important and greatly appreciated.

Once again, look on Convocation’s web site for details.Convocation Contribution Form

Many thanks and best wishes

Dr Doug McGhie