1 December 2000

Former Queensland Premier, the Honourable Mike Ahern, will address graduates at a University of Queensland ceremony on Monday, December 4.

Mr Ahern is a graduate of the University's former Agricultural Science Faculty. A former Premier of Queensland, Mr Ahern was also Minister for Primary Industries, Minister for Industry and Technology and Minister for Health at different times.

Since retiring from politics, Mr Ahern has undertaken consulting work with technology companies. He is Chair of Directors of Linc Energy, Fibretech Developments, Growing Innovations, McIntosh Financial Planning and the Creditlink Group of Companies.

A Fellow of the Australian Academy of Sciences and Engineering, serving on the National Board of the Crawford Fund, he has recently been appointed special representative of the Queensland Government for Africa, the Middle East and India.

Students from UQ's Natural Resources, Agriculture and Veterinary Science Faculty based at St Lucia campus and those from the Faculty of Business, Economics and Law (BEL) at UQ Ipswich will graduate from 4pm in Mayne Hall at the St Lucia campus.

BEL graduates' specialisations include electronic commerce, hospitality management, tourism management and travel management.

Graduates of interest at the ceremony include:

o Student valedictorian and mother-of-two Margot Rousell (telephone 07 5462 4987) will graduate with a Bachelor of Business (Tourism Management). Ms Rousell spent 12 years in Mainframe Computer Support for Telstra before attending University as a mature-age student. Juggling study with caring for her young children, Emily (five) and Cameron (three), was challenging but extremely rewarding, she said. "I wanted a change of direction from IT and needed formal qualifications in the event that my partner John Taylor and I ever pursue business interests in the future," Ms Rousell said. The family moved to Gatton from Sydney five years ago. "I chose tourism because it is one of Queensland's major industries and eco-tourism because this is a future direction for the industry," she said. She said she recommended mature-age study to other mothers because it provided "an independent interest from the children and was mentally stimulating." "It also means when they both go to school and I rejoin the workforce, I will have the qualifications to work in business, government or the tourism industry."

o Tom Woods will graduate with his Bachelor of Agricultural Science at the ceremony (telephone 07 4676 1161). Mr Woods has returned to the family business in Goondiwindi in Queensland's west-a mixed farm (cereals and legumes in winter and sorghums and dry land cotton in the summer) and commercial interests. The family also own four trucks to cart their own grain to markets and flour mills. He said he had wanted to study the UQ agricultural science degree since Grade Nine at Anglican Grammar School ("Churchie"). "The degree has given me an excellent scientific background," he said. Mr Woods said he had enjoyed University life staying at St John's College for his first year and sharing with friends for his remaining three years at UQ. Mr Woods' mother and father Bronwyn and Tom (senior) will see him graduate. His brother Bruce works on the farm while another brother Andrew has embarked on a Master of Business Administration at QUT. His third brother, Angus, is currently studying towards a business management and commerce course at UQ.

o Elizabeth Meier (telephone 07 3202 4513) spent 10 years as an accountant, feeling like a "square peg in a round hole" before she summoned the courage to return to university to pursue her love of the land. A star student, she will graduate with her Bachelor of Agricultural Science (honours) with a Grade Point Average (GPA) of 6.86 (out of a possible seven). She now plans to do a PhD within the Faculty. Her parents, Kevin and Fleur Gamlin, run a sugar and beef farm in Bundaberg and Ms Meier said it was this "culture" and background which eventually led her to her degree. She said she hoped her PhD on the contribution of nitrogen from green cane trash blanketing to soils in the wet tropics would lead to a research career in the sugar industry. While at UQ, Ms Meier won a string of prizes including the Lindsay and Richard Watson Prize (1997), the William Woolcock Memorial Prize (1998), the Slade Scholarship (1999), the John William Tierney Memorial Prize (1999), the E R Butler Prize (1999), the Ben Brown Encouragement Award for Agricultural Science (1999) and the Downing Brothers Bursary 2000. The first person from her family to go to university, her graduation will be attended by her proud parents, parents-in-law Hans and Heidi and husband, Peter. "It's really important to do something you enjoy in life," she said.

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