30 November 2000

Olympic swimming champion Susan O'Neill will receive an honorary doctorate at a University of Queensland's Health Sciences Faculty graduation ceremony on Friday, December 1.

A medal-winner at three consecutive Olympic Games and three consecutive Commonwealth Games, she holds the world record for the 200m butterfly event-a record which previously stood for 18 years.

Ms O'Neill will also be guest speaker at the ceremony held in Mayne Hall at the St Lucia campus from 5pm.

Numerous sporting awards honour Ms O'Neill's long-standing prowess in the pool. In 1995 she was named Schweppes University Sportsperson of the Year, Telstra Australian Swimmer of the Year and Konica Queensland Sportsperson of the Year. In 1996, she was recognised with the titles of Australian Swimmer of the Year, Australian Female Olympian, Queensland Young Achiever of the Year and Queensland Sportstar of the Year. In 1998, she was named Female Athlete of the Year In the Australian Sports Awards.

In 1997, she was awarded the Medal of the Order of Australia and following the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games was voted to an eight-year term on the International Olympic Committee (IOC)-only two other Australians are currently among the 128 members of the IOC.

Undergraduates and postgraduates from the fields of dental science, human movement studies, indigenous primary health, oral health, pharmacy and tropical health will graduate at the December 1 ceremony while audiology, occupational therapy, physiotherapy and speech pathology undergraduates and postgraduates will graduate at a 6.15pm ceremony on Monday, December 4.

Guest speaker at the Monday ceremony will be the Principal Allied Health Adviser for Queensland Health Paula Bowman.

Also at the Monday ceremony, Professor Bruce Murdoch from the School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences will receive an inaugural Award for Excellence in Research Higher Degree Supervision. Professor Murdoch has continued to contribute heavily to the speech pathology research student profile of UQ and its leadership of the discipline in Australia. Proof of his ability to supervise large numbers of research students successfully is evident in his 100 percent student completion rate.

Graduates at the two ceremonies include:

o The first batch of 13 Bachelor of Applied Health Science (Oral Health) graduates (December 1). Introduced in 1998, the degree is the first bachelors' level degree in the field in Australia and enables graduates to work as oral health therapists, in school dental therapy, in health promotion and in dental hygiene practice. Contact: Dr Lyn McAllan (telephone 07 3249 1112).

o More than 110 first graduates of the four-year Bachelor of Pharmacy (December 1). School of Pharmacy Head Professor Sue Tett said the course had been completely redesigned to take into account the expansion in knowledge and skills required by today's pharmacists. "The degree is far more clinically relevant than the old, three-year degree and takes into account the many new drugs now available as well as skills such as talking to patients. It is a prime example of integrated learning," she said. Contact: Professor Sue Tett (telephone 07 3365 3191).

o Student valedictorian Megan Yap (December 1). A Bachelor of Pharmacy graduate, Ms Yap was awarded the Glaxo Wellcome Prize in Pharmacy in 1999.

o Student valedictorian Lora Nalini Desha (telephone 07 3343 8906) (December 4). The School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences graduate won the Smith and Newpher Prize in Occupational Therapy (1998) and the Brian Hugh McKay Prize (1999) and received a Grade Point Average of 6.88 (out of a possible seven) for her Bachelor of Occupational Therapy degree with honours.

For more information, contact Shirley Glaister at UQ Communications (telephone 07 3365 2339).