17 December 1998

Cultural Heritage Branch Director to address UQ graduates

Queensland's Cultural Heritage Branch Director Helen Gregory will be guest speaker at a University of Queensland graduation ceremony on December 21.

Students from the Arts and Business, Economics and Law faculties will graduate at ceremonies at 4pm, 6.15pm and 8.15pm in Mayne Hall.

o Mrs Gregory, the guest speaker at the 4pm ceremony, graduated from the University with first class honours in History in 1969. She was the first Queensland woman to be offered a Rotary Overseas Postgraduate Scholarship, but was unable to take up the award.

In 1970, Mrs Gregory joined the staff of the University's History Department as a Graduate Administrative Officer, and taught in the External Studies Department.

In the mid 1970s she was a consultant historian to the private and government sectors, and is believed to be the first graduate historian in Queensland to use her training in this way, demonstrating that privately commissioned histories could be undertaken without sacrificing academic standards or ethical integrity.

Mrs Gregory has published nine books, and many articles in both academic and general-interest journals. She was the founder of the Brisbane History Group and the Queensland Historians' Institute, the professional association which promotes the interests of consulting historians in Queensland, and maintains standards of practice.

When she was commissioned to write the history of the Queensland Law Society Inc, the history and development of professional ethics became a particular interest, and she was asked to help develop a code of ethics for the Australian Historical Association.

Mrs Gregory became the first Chair of the Queensland Heritage Council in 1992, and subsequently became Director, Cultural Heritage in the Environment and Heritage department, the first woman to be appointed to a senior executive position.

o Dr Esther Wininamaori Williams, the Librarian at the University of the South Pacific in Fiji, will graduate as a Doctor of Philosophy at the 4pm ceremony. Dr Williams tested the hypothesis that access to information is a political necessity for democracy, and that the introduction of measures to ensure information access were constrained by cultural, social, political, technical and economic factors. Her thesis argued that the co-existence of the modern information/communication systems and the old, redefined and reinterpreted, could be effective in building a more informed and politically aware Fijian society. "In reality, many Fijians are not aware that information and communication are important development tools which can facilitate as well as control the transition to democracy," she said.

o At the 6.15pm ceremony, University of Queensland Senator Joan Yardley will address students while Ron Higham, a partner in leading accounting firm Price Waterhouse Coopers in Brisbane, will address graduates at the 8.15pm ceremony.

o Ms Yardley (telephone 07 3833 3666 at work or 07 3374 2445 at home) is chair of Clemenger/Concept in Queensland and has had a long career of management and ownership in the marketing and advertising industry. She is currently a member of the University's Senate, a member of the National Film and Literature Review Board, a Director of the Queensland Institute of Medical Research Trust and serves on the Brisbane Water Advisory Board.

o Mr Higham (telephone 07 3257 8779 at work) graduated from the University in 1982 with a masters degree in financial management, and joined PricewaterhouseCoopers. He is now the national leader of the firm's valuation practice and recently spent two years with its London office specialising in valuation work. Mr Higham has a close association with the University's Commerce department. He was the executive in residence in 1997 and was appointed this year as an Adjunct Professor of Finance, assisting development and delivery of a postgraduate course in valuations.

o Bachelor of arts graduate Anousha Victoire will deliver the student valedictorian address at the 4pm ceremony, bachelor of business (management) graduate David Trevor-Roberts at the 6.15pm ceremony and postgraduate bachelor of commerce (honours) graduate Kellie Gread at the 8.15pm ceremony.

o The different conversational styles of men and women were the subject of a PhD by Dr Jennifer Peck. She will graduate at today's 4pm ceremony. Her thesis found men prefer to hold the floor, speaking for an average of three-and-a-half minutes, frown on interruption and compete for expert status. Women, on the other hand, cooperate with each other to tell a story, finishing each other's sentences, making more encouraging noises than men and often even talking at once. To complete her thesis, Dr Peck analysed more than 30 hours of conversations pruned from six years of recording people's interactions in coffee shops, university offices and at home. Dr Peck said the differences between men and women's conversational styles were not inbuilt but rather socialised or taught at a young age. For more information, contact Dr Peck (telephone 02 6773 3220).

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