Sally McGrouther
Sally McGrouther
11 December 2015

Sally McGrouther has every reason – in fact 25,000 of them – to feel special at her Science graduation ceremony at The University of Queensland tomorrow (Saturday, December 12) at 10am.

While all graduands will be awarded their degrees at the same time, turning them into graduates, Sally is expected to be the 25,000th Bachelor of Science graduate acknowledged while crossing the UQ Centre stage. 

“That’s very exciting to know and it will make my graduation even more special,” she said.

“The other special part is that my parents will be here from Point Vernon, Hervey Bay, to see me graduate.”

After attending Fraser Coast Anglican College, Sally started her Science program in 2013, majoring in zoology and ecology. 

“I love animals and hope to study vet science at UQ next year,” she said.

“My brother Duncan is still here studying to be a doctor.

“I’ve loved being at UQ and have made some great friends here. The Science lecturers are very passionate about their subjects, and I enjoyed the lectures and hands-on practical sessions. 

“I particularly loved last semester when we observed dugongs in Moreton Bay with Dr Janet Lanyon of the School of Biological Sciences.  It was really special.”

Science programs have been offered at UQ since the University was officially founded in 1910 and opened its doors to the first students in 1911.  Two of the first four UQ professors were from science disciplines - Henry Priestley (maths) and Bertram Dillon Steele (chemistry) - whose names are commemorated in St Lucia campus buildings). 

Sally follows in the large footsteps of other notable UQ Science graduates. They include:

  • International agricultural research and food security leader Dr Gabrielle Persley AM
  • Biologist and BBC wildlife documentary maker Dr Chadden Hunter, who works with Sir David Attenborough on series including Wild Arabia and Frozen Planet, and
  • the late Emeritus Professor Dorothy Hill, AC, CBE, the first woman professor at an Australian University and first woman elected as a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Science.

UQ’s Faculty of Science is recognised as a powerhouse for some of the world’s leading scientists, teachers, science programs and commercial outcomes. The Faculty is one of the largest Science groupings in Australia, with approximately 1100 (equivalent full-time) staff, and about 7500 (equivalent full-time) students.

It’s a far cry from the University’s humble beginnings, according to Professor Malcolm Thomis’ book: A Place of Light & Learning: The University of Queensland’s first Seventy Five Years. In his first mathematics lecture Professor Priestley found himself without chalk, an indispensable prerequisite for successful maths teaching at that time.

About 5500 of the estimated 7500 students graduating from UQ this month are expected to attend ceremonies at Gatton and St Lucia campuses.

UQ Vice-Chancellor and President Professor Peter Høj said each student graduating from UQ was gaining a qualification from a world-class university.

“UQ is consistently well inside the world’s top 100 in all major global university rankings, and two of these currently place UQ in the world’s top 50,” Professor Høj said.

Professor Høj said the December graduates would join UQ’s 232,000-strong alumni group – including more than 12,000 PhDs – in at least 170 countries.

Prospective students can see key dates for QTAC applications and offer rounds here.  

They can also contact UQ Admissions on (07) 3365 2203 or for information.

Instagram photos hashtagged #UQmemories or #UQalumni will be added to UQ’s December graduation collection.

Media: UQ Faculty of Science: Jacqueline Mergard,, +61 7 3365 3634.