Griffith University has formally paid tribute to international student Sophie Collembet at a memorial service held at Griffith’s Centre for Interfaith and Cultural Dialogue on Nathan Campus.
The Chancellor, Ms Leneen Forde AC and Vice Chancellor Professor Ian O’Connor attended. Other dignitaries included Mr Eric Soulier, Cultural Counsellor, Embassy of France in Australia, as well as Queensland’s Honorary Consul, Lady Jane Edwards AM and her husband Sir Llew Edwards AC.
Sophie’s friends, fellow students and members of Brisbane’s French community joined with other Griffith staff at the ceremony.
Professor Sarah Todd, Pro Vice Chancellor (International) said Sophie had epitomised the ideal international student.
“Sophie came to join us at Griffith having already travelled, and she was keen for more adventures,” Professor Todd said.
“While Sophie was eager to travel and learn more about the world, it is also evident that she treasured her home in France as well, and strove to balance her love of travel with staying close to family and her home in the French Alps.
“I know I speak on behalf of everyone in this room when I say that her family and friends in France are very much in the thoughts and hearts of all of us, as they have been ever since we learned of her death.”
Professor Graham Cuskelly, Acting Pro Vice Chancellor (Business) spoke of Sophie’s dedication to her studies and her high academic achievement. He also announced that a memorial scholarship would be established in her name as a lasting tribute from the University.
Mr Niels Kraaier, President of the Griffith University Post Graduate Student Association, spoke about Sophie’s involvement in the wider University community.
Sophie had also recently begun an industry placement with Education Queensland International. Her supervisor, Ms Karen Lee, said Sophie had quickly become much-liked and respected member of their team.
The ceremony concluded with Rev Dr Russell Briese, Chaplaincy Coordinator encouraging attendees to stay for refreshments and take the opportunity to share their memories of Sophie.
The memorial service was recorded so Sophie’s family will be able to see and hear how she touched the lives of many during the time that she was at Griffith.