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UC graduates reminded of their duties

The next generation of university-educated workers have been reminded of the rewards that a degree can bring.

PHOTOS: Graduations at UC

FULL LIST: All the graduates from yesterday's ceremony

More than 600 University of Canberra graduates yesterday heard former ACT chief magistrate and chief coroner Ron Cahill remind them of their responsibility to society.

He told the arts, design, law, education and health students gathered at Parliament House that failing to use their knowledge for the public good would be a failure to society and to themselves.


''Those who have the opportunity to enrol in tertiary education are also given the opportunity to rise to influential positions in all walks of life, and with that comes a sense of duty,'' he said.

''It is a sense of responsibility to look after those who are not so fortunate as you or I.''

Mr Cahill had just been awarded an honorary doctorate after more than 30 years of community service to the ACT and the country.

Aside from his role as chief magistrate, Mr Cahill has served as president of mental health, property, discrimination and tenancy tribunals, chaired associations for disabled sport and the reserve forces, and was patron for carer's and Sudden Infant Death Syndrome associations.

Yesterday, he acknowledged graduates would be itching to explore new careers.

''You can do things when you're feeling most active, and often the busiest people are the ones who contribute the most,'' he said.

The message wasn't lost on bachelor of education graduate Michaela Dalgleish, who has spent the past four years juggling her studies with playing for the Canberra Capitals in the Women's National Basketball League.

Dalgleish, 28, knows more than most that achievement is all about the effort you put in.

At her busiest point, she was studying to become a primary school teacher, doing work experience at Radford College and working as the University of Canberra's research ethics and compliance officer, all while training with the Capitals.

''It was so hard, because in the three weeks I was at Radford I had four assignments due on one day, which happened to be the day I left for a road trip to Perth - I don't think I slept at all that night,'' she laughed.

''But I guess you just have to be dedicated and passionate ... and make sure you are really disciplined.

''Often I took my uni work on the road with me and while everyone else on the plane was napping, I was usually reading textbooks.''

Much of Dalgleish's energy comes from her parents - her father, Mel, played for the Canberra Cannons and represented Australia twice at the Olympic Games while her mum, Rhonda, also played for the Capitals.

Dalgleish said her sister, Kirby, was also a teacher who played professional basketball in Townsville. And it is partially through her inspiration that Dalgleish feels she will be able to make a real difference to the lives of children.

A further 600 students will graduate today, including former ACT chief minister Jon Stanhope, who will also receive an honorary doctorate.