15 December 2003

The former Director of the National Museum of Australia (NMA) will be presented with an honorary doctorate at a University of Queensland graduation ceremony tomorrow (Tuesday, December 16).

Dawn Casey will be presented with a Doctor of Philosophy honoris causa in recognition of her distinguished career and contribution to Indigenous society.

As guest speaker, she will address almost 600 graduands, their family and friends at the Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences ceremony at 6pm in the UQ Centre, St Lucia campus.

Ms Casey has wide-ranging experience in the management of Indigenous and cultural heritage policy issues.

While a member of the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet (1991–1992), she established the Aboriginal Reconciliation Unit, initiated a joint Commonwealth and State Government response into Aboriginal deaths in custody, and advised on policy relating to land rights and heritage and mining issues.

From 1992–1994, she established and was the Assistant Divisional Head of the Land and Natural Resources Branch within the Queensland Government’s Department of Family Services and Aboriginal and Islander Affairs.

She then acted as Assistant Director General, AusAID (1994–1995); Assistant Secretary, Heritage Branch, Commonwealth Department of Communications and the Arts (1995–1997); and Chief General Manager, Construction Coordination Task Force (1997–1999).

As Director of the National Museum of Australia (1999–2003), she was responsible for the collection, preserving and researching of: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander history and cultures; Australian society since 1788; and Australian people’s relationship with the environment.

An honorary fellow of the Australian Academy of the Humanities, Ms Casey has received numerous other accolades including three Commonwealth Public Service Australia Day Medals, a Centenary of the Australian Public Service Medal, and a Centenary Medal for service to Australian society through Aboriginal affairs and the National Museum of Australia.

Stephen Corporal (telephone 0412 399 096), a Bachelor of Social Work/Bachelor of Arts graduand, will deliver the student valedictorian address.

Mr Corporal is well known in the School of Social Work and Applied Human Sciences (SWAHS), the wider social work field and the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander (ATSI) community.

He is a past-president (2000–2003) of UQ’s Social Work Student Association and has been heavily involved in a number of University groups including the SWAHS Reconciliation Learning Circle and the UQ Social Work Alumni Committee.

He has also actively promoted the University within the ATSI community and helped organise numerous events to foster the relationship between the two groups.

Mr Corporal said his biggest gain from UQ was the relationships he had built with students and academics as part of the educational process.

Having recently completed a two-year Centrelink Cadetship, he now works for Centrelink in Ipswich as a social worker.

Other graduands of interest include the following.

* After enduring immense adversity during her studies, Kobie Mulligan (telephone 0422 658 025) will graduate with a Master of Social Science (legal studies and criminal justice) and a Grade Point Average (GPA) of 6 out of a possible 7.

In August last year her mother, Mandy, was informed she only had a year to live due to a debilitating lung disease.

Mrs Mulligan was placed on a lung transplant list but before a suitable donor could be found she developed severe pneumonia.

Having been told she only had weeks to live if a donor could not be found, her mother finally received a double lung transplant, a week before Ms Mulligan was due to sit Semester One exams this year.

Despite months of her mother returning to hospital with various bouts of rejection and infection, Ms Mulligan managed to complete the semester’s courses and received outstanding academic results.

She continued to work nights while caring for her mother during the day and will now graduate on schedule after three years of study.

“This graduation means a lot to me, especially because my mum will be there,” Ms Mulligan said.

“She couldn’t attend my bachelor degree graduation ceremony in 2000 for fear of infection, but now she has the air in her lungs to cheer me on.”

* Dania Lawrence (telephone 0439 771 228) and Georgina Robinson (telephone 07 3278 1457) will be the first students to graduate from the Bachelor of Communication (honours) program.

Ms Lawrence’s thesis examined fashion cycles, the manufacturing of “cool” by the media and fashion designers such as sass&bide and Roma Couture, as well as customer’s self-perceptions and beliefs about designer brands.

Ms Robinson’s thesis, entitled Winning hearts and minds, analysed the use of public relations and “perception management” by the United States military’s so-called Coalition of the Willing in Iraq.

* Yvonne Bere-Streeter and her daughter, Brook (telephone 07 3349 4696), are the first in their family of six generations of graziers to gain tertiary qualifications.

Mrs Bere-Streeter, who holds a Bachelor of Arts/Education, will graduate with a Master of Education (leadership) and a GPA of 6.43.

Ms Bere-Streeter, who has received several Dean’s Commendations for High Achievement, will receive a Bachelor of Arts at the ceremony in front of her 80-year-old grandmother.

Media: for further information, contact Joanne van Zeeland at UQ Communications (telephone 07 3365 2619, email j.vanzeeland@uq.edu.au).