Friday, 22 January 2010
Our University is picking up speed again after a relaxing break for most of us over the Christmas and New Year period. While the majority of us were able to enjoy the holidays, I acknowledge and thank those colleagues who have continued to work hard through the Christmas/New Year period. This includes staff in Student Services who have continued to make it easier for students to get information about ECU courses and to enrol, staff within Facilities and Services and Information Technology for keeping our essential services going, and staff in Public and Corporate Relations who, due to the decision to move our graduation ceremonies forward, have also worked hard during the period to ensure the January ceremonies run smoothly.
ECU has enjoyed a great start to 2010, with interest in our courses significantly increased. This year, 24 per cent more non-school leavers and 11 per cent more school leavers selected ECU as their first preference, than at the same time last year. This increased interest has led to ECU making almost 900 more offers to date this year, than at the same time in 2009.
Professor Ralph Martins, currently WA Australian of the Year, will find out on Monday if he has been selected as the Australian of the Year. As WA Australian of the Year, Ralph is receiving much-deserved public recognition for his important work, and on behalf of the University community, I wish him well for Monday’s announcement.
Our first graduation ceremonies for 2010 were held last Sunday, 17 January, with almost 900 graduates from the Faculties of Business and Law, and Education and Arts, celebrating their achievements with family, friends and ECU staff. At the afternoon ceremony Executive Director Iron Ore and Australia at Rio Tinto, Sam Walsh was awarded the degree of Doctor of Commerce honoris causa, in recognition of his outstanding achievements as a business and community leader. Dr Walsh has long been a friend to ECU, and was the Vice-Chancellor’s Distinguished Orator for 2007. I am pleased that we have been able to acknowledge Dr Walsh’s important contributions in this way.
While ECU has had a great start to 2010, we remain concerned for the residents of Toodyay in the wake of the bushfires that devastated the community at the end of 2009. I am aware that the fires had an impact on members of ECU staff, and may also have affected ECU students. To assist Toodyay residents, ECU has contributed to the fundraising efforts by donating $10,000 to the Toodyay appeal at the Hopman Cup final. We also encouraged our fellow corporate sponsors to do the same, and collected an additional $1,300 from members of the crowd. We will continue to explore opportunities to help with the rebuilding of Toodyay in the coming weeks and months.
I wish everyone well for 2010.
Professor Kerry O. Cox