From climate change, to global politics, to compassion and leadership — alumni share their insights on the challenges and opportunities facing graduates preparing for the next stage of their lives at Griffith graduation ceremonies this month.

Alumni keynote speakers represented either academic group or overall university winners from this year’s inaugural Griffith Outstanding Alumni Awards, a program established to celebrate and recognise the exceptional contributions of its alumni.

With backgrounds in Arts, Education and Law, Business, Health and Sciences, the speakers were well placed to provide advice to the University’s latest alumni cohort.

Life hack: Griffith Outstanding Alumni give their top tips at 2018 graduation ceremonies

Commissioner Katarina Carroll APM

Outstanding Alumnus Award winner (University)
Commissioner Katarina Carroll APM
Queensland Fire and Emergency Services Commissioner

“…You may think, ‘finally I have finished study’ but…you are just at the start of your journey. Continuously learn, your education should not stop after you graduate today or when you achieve your masters or even your PhD. You have an obligation to continuously learn. It is only through continuously learning that we make progress in the world — in our work, in our places where we live and in our communities…”


Dr Jessie Christiansen

Outstanding Young Alumnus Award winner (University)
Dr Jessie Christiansen
NASA astronomer

“…loving science means looking at the world around you, including the science community itself, with a critical eye and making that community and the world a better place…”
“…I’m so excited for you all and hope you still love science, you are the science literate future biologists, chemists, physicists, engineers and computer scientists. You have no idea how important you are, how much society needs you right now, how much the whole world needs you right now…”


Clinton Schultz

Outstanding First Peoples Alumnus Award winner (University)
Clinton Schultz
Psychologist and social entrepreneur

“…You are all graduating from different areas in the health field, we’re very privileged to work with other human beings and I think sometimes we allow the workload and the pressures of the work to lead us away from what we’re actually there to do, help human beings…
“Never forget compassion, never forget empathy, because despite everything you learn at university all the theories, all the tools, all the medication you have knowledge about now, your greatest tools when you get out there are going to be compassion and empathy, so please don’t ever forget that…”


Gabrielle Quilliam

Outstanding Alumnus winner (Health Group)
Gabrielle Quilliam
B Nursing 1995

“…Remember your map. Your intentional plan, evolving from a graduate to a health professional, should serve only as a general rule because a map can distort real life, real life is your territory and the territory is the true influencer of your journey…
“…So this means make sure your eyes are not fixated solely on your plan or your map but rather be engaged with seeing what is actually happening around you taking note of beautiful and difficult moments because these will add layer to your intuitive navigation of life and your profession.
“…Look beyond your map so you can see the obstacles in the distance and you can be prepared for them…”


Gabrielle Quilliam

Outstanding Alumnus winner (Griffith Business School)
Caitlin Pearson
B Business 2010

“…As you start out in your careers, you no doubt will feel like a small fish in a really big pond but remember, you don’t have to be the smartest or the most experienced in the board room to be of value. If you believe you are too small to make a difference, try spending the night in a closed room with a mosquito. It’s a powerful thing this one life of yours, so make it remarkable.”


Donisha Duff

Outstanding Alumnus winner (Arts, Education and Law Group)
Donisha Duff
B Arts in Humanities 1998
B Arts with Honours 1999

“…If there’s anything you can learn from my experience, it’s that you may or may not know what you want to do right now, and that’s okay. My path has been, and continues to be, a long and meandering journey with many twists and turns. I would recommend you find out what drives you, what are you passionate about, what makes you want to change the world and go for it…”