The 391 graduates receiving degrees from James Cook University on Saturday (April 28) will take the number of degrees conferred in Cairns to 6380 in the 25th anniversary year of the campus.
Deputy Vice-Chancellor Stephen Weller said a growing student body and expanded offerings meant the Cairns conferrals were increasing rapidly.
“It might have taken two decades to produce our first 5,000 students, but our next 5,000 will take less than half that time and we have a very real goal of reaching 10,000 by 2025,” he said.
“The Cairns campus opened with just 117 students and eight first-year subjects in 1987.
“This year Cairns has 4120 students, the professoriate has doubled in just three years with the opening of The Cairns Institute and the campus offers a huge range of courses from diplomas to doctoral programs as well as the new Dentistry and Sustainability degrees.”
The degrees being conferred on Saturday are: 31 Science, 66 Medicine and Health, 152 Law and Business, 142 Arts and Education as well as seven PhDs.
To mark the 25th anniversary former Rector Professor Philip Courtenay, who oversaw the campus’ relocation to the present Smithfield site in June 1995, will be attending the Cairns graduation ceremony at the Cairns Convention Centre on April 28.
“Until the Cairns campus opened in 1987, Cairns was the largest urban centre in the country which did not have any form of tertiary education and now it has 4120 students,” Professor Courtenay said.
“Back then we said we should target 2000 students by the year 2000, but that figure was reached by 1999 and it has nearly doubled since.
“A lot more people are going to university than did in the past as they realise the value a degree gives them from higher salaries to flexibility in their career choices.”
A week of official 25th anniversary celebrations will be held in August, with a chance for Alumni to get together, renew friendships and visit the growing Cairns campus.
Issued April 24, 2012
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