Hats off for Class of 2020 as grad ceremonies return

Griffith University has welcomed back the Class of 2020 for face-to-face graduation ceremonies as COVID restrictions ease.

More than 2,700 awarded students, along with family and friends, attended graduation ceremonies on the Gold Coast and Brisbane in February, the first in-person ceremonies to be held in more than a year.

Inspiring speeches by Griffith University’s newest Honorary Doctorate recipients — acclaimed performer Kate Miller-Heidke and philanthropist Warren von Bibra — were among the highlights of last month’s graduation ceremonies.

A Queensland Conservatorium alumnus, Kate was bestowed the title Doctor of the University (DUniv) for her distinguished service to the arts as a singer and songwriter.

“The Conservatorium looms very large for me in terms of my past and my development as an artist,” she said.

“It’s a surprise and a thrill to be recognised in this way.”

Honorary Doctorate recipient Kate Miller-Heidke addresses graduates.

The singer-songwriter received her Honorary Doctorate at a graduation ceremony held at the Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre.

After addressing the graduates, she gave a powerhouse performance of her 2016 feminist anthem, You Underestimated Me Dude, accompanied by her partner and fellow Griffith graduate Keir Nuttall.

Her advice for current students was simple: collaboration is key.

“Meet as many people as you can,” she said.

“If you see another musician you admire, don’t be afraid to approach them and figure out a way to play music with them.

“You can learn so much from other musicians, and some of these connections will pay dividends. Music is connection.”

Philanthropist and business leader Warren von Bibra has received an honorary doctorate from Griffith University

Gold Coast business leader and philanthropist Warren von Bibra was also awarded an Honorary Doctorate, for his distinguished service to the Gold Coast community and Griffith University’s Institute for Glycomics.

“I always saw my role as an employer as empowering young people and give them an opportunity to shine. That’s what Griffith is about too,” he said.

Mr von Bibra said supporting the work of Griffith University’s Institute for Glycomics was “an honour and privilege”.

“We are able to support them in their fight against diseases of global impact; diseases that affect and devastate so many people’s lives each day,” he said.

“We feel confident that our financial donations are helping to shape a brighter, healthier future — a future filled with hope.”

While many students took the opportunity to celebrate their graduation in-person this year with classmates, family and friends, those unable to attend still have the option to attend a future ceremony.

Each of these ceremonies will also be live streamed for family and friends.

Members of the Graduating Class of 2020 participated in virtual graduation events at the height of the COVID pandemic, with testamur and mortarboards delivered via post, and digital graduation packs including video messages and a special song written by Queensland Conservatorium pop music students.