When Tom Frame graduated from UNSW Canberra with a PhD 25 years ago, he questioned why his mother wanted to buy him a graduation gown, certain it would get one wear.
But in "an unexpected blessing of a magnitude you really don't have an entitlement to hope for", the historian's 28-year-old daughter, Kelly, will graduate from UNSW Canberra with a PhD in English on Wednesday while wearing his robes.
"It's the best thing that's happened all year. It's wonderful," Professor Frame, an academic at UNSW Canberra, said.
"I would never have imagined other than when she enrolled that something like this might happen, and here of all places."
Dr Frame has spent the past three and a half years studying ways in which British novelist David Mitchell reconciled postmodern literary techniques with his vision of an interconnected world threatened by climate change.
And her study hasn't finished just yet, with a year left of a Master of Education through the Teach For Australia program.
She spent the past year at Belconnen High, which was "challenging and amazing and all sorts of things", Dr Frame said.
"I've kept up research while I've been teaching, so I think I'll always have one foot in academia certainly, but I do love the teaching side of it and there's such a difference to be made," she said.
Professor Frame followed his daughter back to UNSW Canberra after being asked to write a 50-year history of UNSW and Defence.
After 20 years off campus, he is now director of the Australian Centre for the Study of Armed Conflict and Society and the Howard Library at Old Parliament House, both UNSW Canberra initiatives.
"Canberra, for those who like it love it, and I think this place reflects part of that mindset," Professor Frame said.
"I say it's a bit like Cheers: everyone knows your name."
Almost 820 awards will be conferred at UNSW Canberra's ceremony tomorrow, including 295 undergraduate degrees, 72 research awards and 452 postgraduate degrees.
Major General Michael Clifford, the former senior advisor to UNSW Canberra rector Michael Frater who died on November 2 this year, will be awarded the university's highest honour at the Australian Defence Force Academy ceremony.
Professor Frater said Major General Clifford would receive the Doctor of the University honoris causa for his advocacy of "not only for the roles of education and research in Defence, but UNSW Canberra's central role in them".