Spring and mortarboards were both in the air last week as students celebrated their graduations from our Melbourne (Bundoora) campus, and became the newest La Trobe alumni.
In this grand event, students from all walks of life were given the opportunity to mark the completion of their studies. Many of our existing La Trobe alumni also received an array of honorary doctorates and special awards across the ceremonies.
Both our new graduates and experienced alumni have faced challenges over the last few years, but all have persevered through to celebrate these milestone achievements.
Read on to see what they’ve accomplished and find out how our newest alumni are already making their marks on the world.
Youngest Mayor in Australia turns to law
Emilia Sterjova has always had a passion for community.
This passion led her to become the youngest female Mayor in Australian history at the age of 22 in 2019, to be accepted into the La Trobe Student Excellence Academy, and to this year be named one of the 100 Australian Future Leaders as published in The Australian Financial Review.
Now, she’s the first in her family to complete university, graduating with a Bachelor of Laws (Honours)/Bachelor of Global Studies and a Diploma in Languages (Indonesian).
'My mother has worked multiple jobs throughout my life to make ends meet. It is because of their tenacity that I am the first of my family to attain higher education,' says Emilia in a LinkedIn post.
Although already an accomplished individual at such a young age, Emilia still has plans to pursue postgraduate study and become a lawyer.
'Education is a privilege. I intend to use this privilege to continue to serve my community.'
Dr Geoff Raby shares special award with mum
On Thursday, Distinguished alumnus, diplomat, and economist Dr Geoff Raby AO received a Doctor of Letters (honoris causa) from La Trobe University for his lifelong commitment to both La Trobe and the development of positive diplomatic and economic international relations as a representative of Australia.
Dr Raby’s mum, Beryl – who just recently celebrated her 103rd birthday – joined him as he received this very special award at the 2022 graduations.
It has been an expansive year already for Dr Raby, with the first public display of the collection of Chinese art that he generously donated to La Trobe, sponsored by the La Trobe Art Institute, and his upcoming lecture regarding his collection to be held at the National Gallery of Victoria.
Dr Raby spoke on La Trobe’s excellent education, and how it taught him to think critically about economics, politics, and history. This enabled Dr Raby to think about such matters free from dogma and ideology, and he considered his a truly enlightened education.
'I remain immensely grateful for all that La Trobe has given me. I feel it as the purest expression of what a university’s purpose in society is for.'
Recognised for 30 years of commitment
If you ever studied social sciences at La Trobe, chances are you know and love Professor Margarita Frederico.
Professor Margarita Frederico AM has been awarded Emeritus Professor for her outstanding commitment to La Trobe University, as well as Doctor of Science for her internationally recognised work.
The title 'Emeritus Professor' is conferred on professorial staff who have served the University in an outstanding manner, and Professor Frederico’s three decades of lecturing, leadership, and contributions to the field of Social Work are truly outstanding.
With more than 60 peer-reviewed publications, an edited book, numerous chapters, and many commissioned reports, it comes as no surprise that Professor Frederico’s work is being acknowledged.
It was a privilege to see one of the most awarded doctoral supervisors acknowledged for her long-standing dedication to the university and the field of social work.
Student Excellence Academy graduate receives accolades
Brian Cheung has had an incredible past few years. He completed his Bachelor of Arts with Honours in 2021 and was accepted as a member of the prestigious La Trobe Student Excellence Academy. Brian also received the Provost's Commendation Award in 2020.
This year, at his graduation ceremony, he was the proud recipient of one of this year’s David Myers Medal.
The David Myers Medal is awarded to our most outstanding honours graduates annually. These individuals have demonstrated the highest standards of excellence, resilience and persistence — which is more than apt given this extraordinary period in history.
First female in her family to graduate
Shazma Gaffoor is the first female graduate on both sides of her family, a mother, a social justice activist, and an emerging journalist.
'To be the first female graduate from both sides of the extended family, let alone immediate, is a massive privilege I won’t take for granted,' says Shazma in a post on LinkedIn.
These are just a few of the accolades that the new Bachelor of Media and Communication alumna has accomplished throughout her time at La Trobe.
Shazma was also the recipient of a Media Diversity Australia internship where she had the privilege of working at 9 News Australia as a Broadcast Journalist, an opportunity that showcased how her advocacy for increased diversity in the media was already making an impact.
After her ceremony, Shazma offered advice to future female graduates.
‘Build your own fortress, push those boundaries, and don’t listen to that cringey voice whispering in your ear.'
To discover more about our honorary degree recipients, check them out on our Honour Roll.
Keen to meet more of La Trobe's latest graduates? Connect with our alumni community on LinkedIn.