KUCHING: Thousands of family members and friends of Swinburne graduates yesterday swarmed Borneo Convention Centre Kuching (BCCK) where the Australia-based university held its annual graduation ceremony.

Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg, who is also Swinburne Sarawak Pro Chancellor, graced the ceremony and presented awards/certificates to the graduates.

Also present were Swinburne University of Technology vice chancellor Prof Linda Kristjanson.

A student with special needs, Leong Man Tik, overcame a tough time in university after being diagnosed in 2016 with focal dystonia, a neurological condition also known as writer’s cramp.

The condition limits the Bachelor of Business (International Business) graduate’s ability to write as his left hand (dominant hand) would occasionally shiver uncontrollably.

Chief Minister and Swinburne Sarawak Pro Chancellor Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg (seated centre) with Vice Chancellor Prof Linda Kristjanson AO (seated second left) and Chairman of the Board of Directors, University Council Tan Sri Datuk Amar Mohamad Morshidi Ghani (seated third left), University Council members and Board of Directors having a group photograph together.

“After completing secondary school, I took a half-year vacation and practised writing with my right hand. When I started my study at Swinburne, I still struggled with writing but improved over time. I’m thankful to Swinburne’s Student Development and Support unit for assisting in the arrangement of extra time during my examinations to cope with my writing difficulties,” said Leong who will be leaving soon for work in Singapore.

Bachelor of Engineering (Mechanical) (Honours) graduate, Edwin Thou Mun Chuen, said that it was a great privilege to be selected to give a farewell statement on behalf of his fellow graduates.

“Swinburne has greatly shaped me into who I am today although the journey had not always been easy. Throughout my university journey, I learned from passionate lecturers who sparked my interest in acquiring various skills. I participated in an International Student Exchange programme in Melbourne that has helped broaden my horizons,” he added.

Thou said that joining academic clubs such as Swinburne Sarawak Institution of Engineering and Technology (SSIET) provided him with the opportunity to collaborate with others.

“This allowed me to pick up important soft skills along the way. I am excited to apply and further hone my skills and knowledge, and hope to use my passion to give back to others in a meaningful way,” he said.

The group of graduates comprise Malaysian students and students from all over the world including Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Egypt, India, Indonesia, Kenya, Mauritius, Nigeria, Oman, Pakistan, South Korea, Sri Lanka, and Vietnam.

A parade of the Swinburne Sarawak mace followed by Prof Linda and Abang Johari. Photos: Ramidi Subari

Graduands applaud family members and loved ones for their support throughout their studies.
Adreena Anissa Azizan receives her Bachelor of Business (Accounting) from Abang Johari.

During the ceremony, awards were conferred to 137 undergraduate students from the Bachelor of Business in Accounting; Accounting and Finance; Finance; Human Resource Management; International Business; Management; and Marketing programmes as well as Bachelor of Design in Multimedia Design programme.

This was followed by conferment to 159 students from the Bachelor of Engineering (Honours) in Civil; Electrical and Electronic; Mechanical; Robotics and Mechatronics; and Chemical engineering programmes, as well as Bachelor of Science (Biotechnology), Bachelor of Information and Communication Technology, and Bachelor of Computer Science programmes.

The presentation resumed with conferment of awards on eight Master’s graduates from the Master of Business Administration (International), Master of Science (Research), and Master of Business (Research) programmes.

There were 10 recipients of the Doctor of Philosophy degree in engineering, science and business programmes. They are Baig Aysha Karamat, Choudhury Bismita, Brian Loh Chung Shiong, Khew Choy Yuen, Edwin Sia Sien Aun, Fredrik Phangkawira, Lai Jia Jiun, Mark Tee Kit Tsun, Nastassia Denis, and Reagan Entigu Linton @ Jerah.

This brings the total of PhD graduates at Swinbume Sarawak to 42 with the first cohort graduating in 2012.

Currently ranked in JobStreet.com’s Top 10 Preferred Private Universities in Malaysia, Swinburne’s overall Graduate Employability Rate is approximately 92 percent.