ACU's largest group of graduates celebrate 

WHEN health science students Ash Burke and Nikita Harbinson graduated from Australian Catholic University (ACU) on Saturday, they completed their studies with more than just their double degrees.

The pair, both aged 22, met three years ago at the ACU Ballarat campus when romance blossomed.

At the weekend, Nikita and Ash, along with 180 of their classmates, filled Her Majesty’s Theatre in Ballarat to mark the end of their studies at the ACU graduation ceremony.

ACU Campus Dean Associate Professor Joe Fleming said 2014 saw the first round of students to graduate at ACU following the expansion of programs at the Ballarat campus. 

“Everyone here is happy to be graduating today,” Associate Professor Fleming said.

“It is the largest group to graduate since the start of (ACU’s) rapid expansion of programs.” 

“It is most enjoyable to finish your degree after three, four or five (years of study),” Associate Professor Fleming said. 

A total of 300 students were on ACU’s books to graduate on Saturday, with 180 making an appearance at the official ceremony with family and friends. 

About 210 students graduated with degrees in the health science faculty, while 90 students graduated with education degrees.

Ms Harbinson moved from Cohuna, 64 kilometres north of Echuca, to study and live on-campus in Ballarat, while Mr Burke moved from Geelong.

A few months before graduation, the pair scored jobs as paramedics in Wendouree and Geelong. 

Mr Burke said he was enjoying the experience. 

“I worked Christmas Day, it was quiet but great,” Mr Burke said.

Ms Harbinson said she was glad she had completed her studies. 

“I’ve always had an interest in health care, the promotion of health care and helping people,” she said. 

The pair completed a double degree in Bachelor of Paramedicine and Bachelor of Nursing.

kara.irving@fairfaxmedia.com.au

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