The University’s annual Launceston Dinner was recently held in spectacular fashion at the Hotel Grand Chancellor, to celebrate scholarship recipients, thank the generosity of donors, and award one of the University’s highest accolades.
Distinguished guests, University of Tasmania staff, scholarship recipients, alumni, and members of the community gathered at the black-tie affair that was attended by over 250 people.
After a welcome by the Chancellor, the Honourable Michael Field AC, the 2017 northern scholarship students were presented on stage with their awards, followed by a moving speech by scholarship recipient Ashlea Hull.
Miss Hull, recipient of the 2017 Channel RSL Sub Branch Miss Cluny Portnell Memorial Scholarship, spoke of the transformative impact a student scholarship had on her life, by enabling her to relocate to Launceston to study a Bachelor of Nursing at the University, and providing her with the support necessary to undertake future rural placements during her degree.
Miss Hull relayed her experience growing up on the West Coast of Tasmania, where she developed an awareness of the increasing need for health care professionals in regional areas, and how receiving the scholarship would enable her to realise her dream of working as a rural nurse in Tasmania.
After an address by the Honourable Will Hodgman MP Premier of Tasmania, Professor Jane Pirkis, a world-renowned population mental health researcher, was presented with the 2017 Distinguished Alumni Award for her lifelong dedication to the study of suicide prevention.
Professor Pirkis is one of Australia’s foremost mental health researchers, and her work has shaped suicide prevention policy, leading to the creation of prevention structures in commonly-used suicide locations, and informed international media guidelines on how to report on suicide.
“It is an honour to receive this prestigious award,” said Professor Pirkis during her acceptance speech. “I have really fond memories of my time at the University of Tasmania and it was a great launching pad for my career. I would also like to thank my family for always backing every choice I made, and for showing me from a very early age that university education was a great thing to have.”
In addition to celebrating talented students, the dinner also recognised the individuals and organisations who had contributed towards University scholarships and bursaries over the last twelve months.
The night concluded on a high note with a speech from the Vice-Chancellor, Professor Peter Rathjen, who shared his excitement over the many developments planned for the northern campuses, as part of the University’s Northern Transformation Project.