Keeping it in the family to the nth degree

Meet the Shacklock family, a very, very well educated Gold Coast family. Parents Arthur and Kate, and their children Virginia, Alice and Boyd all have degrees from Griffith University.

This week, Alice and Boyd doubled up on their qualifications when they again graduated from Griffith at the Gold Coast Convention and Exhibition Centre.

Boyd (22) received a Master of Marketing to go with the Bachelor of Business he received last year. Alice (28) was awarded a Graduate Certificate in Marketing, seven years after she first graduated with a Bachelor of Popular Music.

They follow in the academic footsteps of older sister Virginia who was awarded a Bachelor of Business and a Bachelor of Arts in 2004.

Their mum (2005) and dad (2002) were also awarded PhD degrees from Griffith University and now both work at Griffith Business School. Dr Kate Shacklock is a Senior Lecturer with the Department of Employment Relations and Human Resources. Dr Arthur Shacklock is a Senior Lecturer with the Department of International Business and Asian Studies.

“I was a working-class London lad who came to Australia with my parents in 1951 ‘as 10 pound Poms’,” Arthur, also known as Shack, says.

“My parents did not have a bean to their name. Only one other person in my generation of the Shacklock family ever got a uni degree. So what has been achieved by the family is very pleasing indeed and is a fitting tribute to the efforts and sacrifices that my own parents made to make this all possible.”

Adding to the gown and mortar board spectacular on Monday were Virginia’s husband Brett Middleton and Alice’s long-term partner Cameron Ayling, who also have degrees from Griffith.

Brett graduated with a double degree in Language and Linguistics and Education Secondary in 2007. Cameron graduated with Alice with a degree in Popular Music. Cameron’s sister Dr Amanda Ayling also got her PhD from Griffith in 2008, following her degree in Hotel Management in 2003.

For Alice, the return to education has been completely worth it. She worked in a range of jobs from music retail to travel agent to hospitality after she first graduated in 2004. “I never quite got to where I wanted to be. I never got the job I wanted, never had the experience I wanted on my resume.”

Her career dream is to have a hands-on role as a promoter in the music industry. She admits it was a personal and financial challenge to go back to university, but the work life knowledge she brought back to the classroom has helped her in her postgraduate studies.

“I had the professional experience, I wanted the theoretical experience. Now I have a practical and theoretical edge. I have the education I needed.”

Her return to university has led to employment as a digital marketing coordinator, a new and very much desired direction for her career.

On Monday, she celebrated her return to Griffith University when she graduates along with brother, Boyd.

“My grandfather (Dr John Craig) values education very highly and made sure his three kids, including my mother, went to university. I think he has been the biggest influence on our family’s attitude to education.

“For me education is about knowing as much as you can and providing yourself with as much opportunity to progress and move forward as you can.”

It is a view shared by Alice’s proud mum, Kate. “I owe a lot of my respect for, and emphasis upon, education to my father who always encouraged us to pursue further learning and that anything was possible if you put your mind to it.”

Boyd looks forward to his career ahead and commented:”I believe a successful career requires both knowledge and character. Griffith has given me an excellent foundation to build upon.”