RMIT’s graduating students have taken over the streets of Melbourne with a parade and the country’s biggest graduation ceremony at Etihad Stadium.
More than 4000 students, alumni and staff in academic gowns and mortarboards paraded down Swanston Street this week from RMIT to Federation Square, with more than 7000 guests and supporters lining the route.
The colourful and vibrant annual Graduation Parade was followed by Australia's biggest graduation event at Etihad Stadium.
Just over 7000 graduates – including 110 doctoral candidates – celebrated their achievements in front of more than 30,000 family members and friends.
International students and those with families and friends overseas didn’t miss out on the festivities, with the ceremony streamed live online for the first time.
This year's RMIT honorary doctoral recipient was sustainability champion and visionary Carolyn Parker, while multiple Walkley Award-winning journalist Nick McKenzie gave the graduate speech.
RMIT Vice-Chancellor and President, Martin Bean CBE, told graduates and their supporters that the thing that had made his first year at the University so exciting and memorable had been the enthusiasm they had brought to campus.
“It makes RMIT such a joyous place in which to live and learn,” Martin said.
“It’s also been a year in which we’re started to reshape RMIT for the future.
“I particularly want to thank you for taking part in that important process, sharing your experience and knowledge to help us design a better university for the future.”
In accepting her Doctor of Business Honoris Causa, Parker told the graduates about how she juggled study, family life, home renovations and work, including getting the job of her dreams before she had completed her original degree.
“The work seemed unending and I felt particularly weighed down by the demands of study,” she said.
“In the end I barely scraped through. But, I did get through …. really, it wasn’t until some time later that I realised just how much RMIT had given me and how indebted I was to the lecturers and tutors who had – often unbeknown to me – helped me along the way.”
McKenzie told the crowd about his own journey from RMIT journalism graduate to investigative journalist for Fairfax, encouraging them to remain passionate about their work.
“RMIT gave me a ladder up to the diving board. But the direction I leapt was up to me,” he said.
“Your path after RMIT should be more than earning a paycheck. And you’ve got to make sure you enjoy the journey to reach your goals even more than the goals themselves.
“For me, the secret to enjoying my career has been about finding what matters to me – about realising the ideals which were born during my time at RMIT – and also taking time to enjoy my journey.”