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Katherine celebrates 25 years of university education

By Patrick Nelson

Katherine Region Director Ash Beechey (left) and Vice-Chancellor Professor Simon Maddocks cut the cake at the 25th anniversary cocktail party at Katherine Katherine Region Director Ash Beechey (left) and Vice-Chancellor Professor Simon Maddocks cut the cake at the 25th anniversary cocktail party at Katherine

The CDU community at Katherine has celebrated 25 years of university education in the Northern Territory at an event that simultaneously marked the 35th anniversary of the Katherine Rural Campus.

Vice-Chancellor Professor Simon Maddocks said there had been much to celebrate and there was much to look forward to.

“(We are) a thriving modern university that has made its mark on the international stage, having made the Times Higher Education list of best universities under 50 years old, for the past three years,” Professor Maddocks said.

“As a business, CDU is a significant employer that contributes more than $559 million to the Northern Territory economy.

“We have produced nearly 70,000 graduates, we have the highest component of Indigenous students and are the seventh largest provider of online higher education in Australia.”

Professor Maddock also said there were challenges on the horizon for the tertiary education sector that would affect CDU in a variety of ways.

“CDU’s Katherine campuses, our programs and staff are a vital component of the university as a whole and a clearly important partner in the Katherine region community.

“My vision for CDU Katherine will see sevices improve with new programs coming on line in areas additional to rural industry training.”

Professor Maddocks said the education and training that CDU would provide in Katherine and at other campuses would help transform into reality government dreams to develop Northern Australia.

“Associated with the push for northern development is a realignment of the vision further to the north, to the Asian region, where the demand for knowledge and education is outstripping capacity,” he said.

“This is an area where CDU will play a big role in the future and I am aware that we have already started this … at CDU Katherine with training of Indonesian students through the NT Cattlemen’s Association program over the past two years.

“These sorts of international initiatives are set to expand in the coming years, along with changing needs of industry and the community locally.”

Professor Maddocks said the university’s namesake, Charles Darwin, changed the world by changing the common way of thinking.

“Through education and research we, as a university, are also a driver of change - our actions and our products change the world and they change lives for the better.

“And so we evolve, as does the broader university organisation, to take advantage of opportunity and adapt to change, and in doing so create our own history.”

Katherine Deputy Mayor Liz Clark and about 50 staff and members of the community attended the celebration cocktail evening at the Godinmayin Yijard Arts Centre in Katherine.