RMIT’s graduating students have taken over Melbourne.
More than 3,000 students, alumni and staff in academic gowns and mortarboards paraded down Swanston Street last week from RMIT’s City campus to Federation Square, with more than 7,000 guests and supporters lining the route.
The colourful and vibrant annual RMIT Graduation Parade was followed by Australia's biggest graduation event at Docklands Stadium.
About 6,600 graduates – including 130 PhD candidates and the first graduates from the University’s new Pharmacy program – celebrated their achievements in front of more than 27,000 family members and friends.
This year's RMIT honorary doctoral recipients were The Rosie Project author, Graeme Simsion, and Grand Designs Australia host, Peter Maddison.
RMIT Vice-Chancellor and President, Professor Gill Palmer, told graduates that while enrolled in the Advanced Diploma of Screenwriting in RMIT's School of Media and Communication, Dr Simsion began work on a screenplay that was the genesis of his bestselling novel.
“He is an example of how exceptional talent can flourish at RMIT, in this case producing a creative work of fiction,” she said.
“He has published several short stories, The Rosie Project and its sequel The Rosie Effect, and written and produced a number of short film screenplays.”
Dr Simsion worked for many years in the IT industry, where he published two technical books, before taking up his RMIT studies.
He received a Doctor of Communication Honoris Causa in recognition of his achievements.
Mr Maddison was an award-winning architect when he was approached to host Grand Designs Australia in 2010.
Professor Palmer said his company, Maddison Architects, had helped to shape Melbourne’s skyline and streetscape.
The firm’s works include The Bastow Institute of Educational Leadership’ in North Melbourne, Transport Hotel complex at Federation Square, Eureka Tower Sky Deck at Southgate and The Cloud Canopy at Federation Square Plaza.
A valued member and a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Architects, Mr Maddison is also ambassador to programs such as Open House Melbourne.
He has contributed to local and state government forums on sustainability, such as “Future Proofing Geelong”, and has been a part of the Planet Ark Make It Wood – Do Your World Some Good campaign. He is also a key supporter of the Kids Under Cover charity.
Professor Palmer said Mr Maddison's career embodied the RMIT story and values.
"This is reflected in his professional focus on urban sustainability, his global presence via Grand Designs Australia, and his attitude to urban design and sustainable design practice," she said.
Mr Maddison was presented with a Doctor of Design Honoris Causa, in recognition of his outstanding career as an architect, television host and ambassador for sustainability.