5 December 2006

A student who achieved a cumulative grade point average of 7 (the highest mark) during his undergraduate studies will receive the Graduate of the Year award at a UQ ceremony tomorrow.

Trent Carmichael, who achieved straight 7s in his Commerce (Honours) studies, and almost straight 7s in his Science degree majoring in mathematics and statistics, will receive the award at a 2pm ceremony at the UQ Centre, Union Road.

Mr Carmichael won a number of awards in the process, including admission to the Dean’s Honour Roll in the Faculty of Business, Economics and Law, achieving Dean’s commendations every semester, and winning the PriceWaterhouseCoopers Prize 2004 and the Thomas Brown and Sons Ltd Prize for 2005.

“I was fortunate to be able to use knowledge from my maths degree and apply it to my commerce degree,” he said.

“I’d like to pay tribute to my supervisor Dr Jamie Alcock, whom I met studying financial maths at the UQ Mathematics Department and who subsequently helped me in the UQ Business School.

“My thesis introduced a new nonparametric method for pricing American options which basically uses past stock price data to predict current option prices.”

An all-rounder, Mr Carmichael balanced his studies with sport. He coached junior rugby and volleyball at his old school, Iona College at Wynnum, and played suburban rugby for the Wynnum Bugs. His Alexandra Hills family will attend the ceremony to cheer on their son tomorrow. Contact 040 353 8141.

Graduation ceremonies for UQ’s Faculty of Business, Economics and Law later this month also feature the award of Honorary Doctorates to Queensland`s Governor, Her Excellency Quentin Bryce, AC, and chair of the Queensland Water Commission Elizabeth Nosworthy AO.

Highlights of St Lucia graduation ceremonies for the UQ Faculty of Business, Economics and Law also include:

Wednesday, December 6, 2pm — Commerce. Guest speaker will be Dr John Cole, Executive Director of the Sustainable Industries Division, Environmental Protection Agency.

• The student valedictorian Mr David Nelson, who graduates with honours in Commerce, has represented Australia in rowing, and has been a recipient of the Clem Jones Sporting Scholarship since 2001.

“The scholarship was a tremendous help during my degree,” he said.

Mr Nelson, of Brookfield, began rowing as a Grade Eight student at St. Joseph`s College, Gregory Terrace in 1996. Mr Nelson has since represented Australia at the World Junior Championships as a member of the Junior Coxed Four competing in Duisburg, Germany in 2001, and in 2005 as a member of the Australian Under 23 Men’s Eight, competing at the World U/23 Championships in Amsterdam. This year he rowed for Queensland in the King’s Cup regatta held at Barrington, Tasmania.

Mr Nelson has earned seven Dean’s Commendations during his academic career and will graduate with first class honours.

Mr Nelson’s honours thesis looked at the association between financial performance and corporate social responsibility, concluding there is evidence to suggest a positive relationship exists. He is currently working as an analyst in corporate finance for ABN Amro Morgans. Contact 043 974 3534.

Monday, December 11, 11am — all St Lucia management programs. Guest speaker will be Ms Elizabeth Nosworthy AO, who will receive an Honorary Doctorate of Laws. Ms Nosworthy was a commercial lawyer for more than two decades and the first woman President of the Queensland Law Society (QLS) (1986–87) before becoming a full-time, non-executive company director. She currently holds 10 positions with commercial, government and charitable bodies and has served on almost 30 additional boards and councils.

She chairs Commander Communications Limited and the Queensland Water Commission and is a Deputy Chair of Babcock and Brown Limited and the Clean Coal Technology Board. She is a Director of Ventracor Limited; GPT Group; PF Limited; and the Endeavour Foundation.

Ms Nosworthy holds a Bachelor of Arts (1965) and Bachelor of Laws (1969) from UQ where she has been an Adjunct Professor of Law with the TC Beirne School of Law since 1998. She also holds a Master of Laws (1971) from the University of London. She became Chancellor of Bond University in 1991 and is believed to be the first woman to achieve such a high office at a Queensland university.

• Student valedictorian Christina Tian, who graduates Bachelor of Business Management (Honours) will remind graduands to use the knowledge they have gained, and to use courage and love, to benefit the world.

Ms Tian, originally from Ngee Ann Polyechnic in Singapore, came to Australia to enjoy an overseas university experience, a different culture and different education system.

Her thesis supervised by Dr Charles Arcodia of the School of Tourism at UQ Ipswich, assessed the sustainability of Singapore as a tourism hub from the perception of stopover tourists. She is hoping to undertake a PhD also supervised by Dr Arcodia, further exploring the concept of tourism hubs in an era where larger aircraft, such as the Airbus A380, are capable of direct flights.

“I’d like to understand the impact that such flights will have on stopover destinations,” she said.

Ms Tian undertook community fundraising work for the Royal Children’s Hospital while studying her degree. She is looking forward to the arrival of her parents and aunt to attend the graduation ceremony. Contact 0401 333 665.

Wednesday, December 13, 6pm — All economics and law programs. Her Excellency Ms Quentin Bryce AC, will receive an Honorary Doctorate of Laws. Her Excellency has been Queensland Governor since early 2003, and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts and a Bachelor of Laws from UQ where she later spent 14 years teaching Introduction to Law, Criminal Law, Administrative Law and Legal Aspects of Social Work.

She has been Principal and Chief Executive Officer of The Women`s College within the University of Sydney; founding Chair and Chief Executive Officer, National Childcare Accreditation Council; Federal Sex Discrimination Commissioner; Queensland Director, Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission; and inaugural Director, Women`s Information Service Queensland, Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet.

• Student valedictorian Harry Cominos, of Carseldine, who will be awarded a Bachelor of Economics (Honours), achieved eight Dean’s Commendations during his academic career, which also included a Bachelor of Science degree in the field of mathematics.

He was the inaugural scholarship winner for domestic students studying economics at The University of Queensland, and was later awarded an Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) scholarship to study third year statistics at UQ.

His thesis supervised by Dr Alicia Rambaldi and Professor Prasada Rao of the School of Economics involved constructing an index of Brisbane house prices from 1971 to 2005, with the focus on the method used in the index construction.

The three main contributions of the research were to outline a new (potentially improved) method for constructing house price indices, to formulate a hedonic imputation index specific to the housing case and to compile a dataset of house sales and property attributes for the Brisbane metropolitan area (previously non-existent).

“Surprisingly, many of the methods used to construct the index for Brisbane provided strikingly similar results, he said.

“However, a lot of work remains to be done regarding an accurate and comprehensive dataset which contains information on a list of property attributes (such as the number of bedrooms and bathrooms).

“On the contrary, it was not surprising to learn that incorporating information on ‘location location location’ was critical to the resulting index.

“It was astounding that house prices shot up astronomically between 2001 and 2005 because there was really no basis for the appreciation, with wages growing at a much slower rate.”

Mr Cominos was selected as one of only three University of Queensland students to present their research findings at the 2006 Universitas 21 Undergraduate Research Conference, which was held for the first time in Australia at The University of Queensland in September. Universitas 21 is an international network of leading, research-intensive universities.

During his degree he played social touch football, and was a member of the Economics Society, including a stint on the Society’s executive. Furthermore, he completed internships for the Queensland Treasury and the Reserve Bank of Australia.

“The School of Economics at UQ has proven itself as one of the leading schools in the country, as is evident by the proportion of industry internships for economics that are awarded to UQ students,” he said.

“Given the doors that have been opened to me during my degree, I would recommend the program to any student interested in economics.”

Mr Cominos moves to Sydney next year to work at solving client business problems for management consulting firm Port Jackson Partners. Contact: 042 178 6294.

Media: Further information, Jan King 0413 601 248.