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First Indigenous valedictory in Red Centre

By Patrick Nelson

Wendy Ludwig, graduate Joel Liddle and Professor Simon Maddocks at the Indigenous valedictory ceremony in Alice Springs Wendy Ludwig, graduate Joel Liddle and Professor Simon Maddocks at the Indigenous valedictory ceremony in Alice Springs

Charles Darwin University reaffirmed its commitment to the support of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people at a valedictory celebration in Alice Springs recently.

Vice-Chancellor Professor Simon Maddocks said: “I pledge my commitment to CDU’s vision for reconciliation, and its work to become a recognised leader in tertiary education, a place where Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and non-Indigenous people achieve comparative levels of success through best practice in provision of student access, education and support.”

Professor Maddocks made the statement to students and guests in the Desert Lantern Restaurant, venue of the first Indigenous valedictory ceremony in Central Australia.

The event, hosted by the Office of the Pro Vice-Chancellor Indigenous Leadership to formally recognise the achievements of the 2015 graduands, began with Arrernte women elders giving an Awelya (smoking) Ceremony.

Students were then presented with mementos acknowledging the importance placed on the achievements of Indigenous graduates.

All graduands received an Indigenous leadership pin, and those who had completed a VET certificate III, IV, diploma or higher education course also received an Indigenous stole.

The Central Australian valedictory ceremony followed a similar one in Darwin in May.

CDU has celebrated the graduation of 398 ATSI students in 2015, including 41 who have completed higher education qualifications.