Deakin University celebrated its recent Warrnambool campus graduates at a ceremony at The Lighthouse Theatre on Thursday.
Ninety-two students from across the four faculties crossed the stage to receive their tertiary education completion certificates.
Mother-of-three Maree Lane was thrilled to finish her Bachelor of Management majoring in marketing after beginning the course part-time in 2012.
"It took a lot of work," she said.
"A degree is hard enough but with a family, it adds another level.
"Credit must go to my husband and kids who absorbed it and let me complete the degree. I'll always be thankful."
Mrs Lane said her studying has encouraged her children to consider tertiary education.
"Our family holidays were sometimes interrupted with online seminars and group work discussions," she said.
"But now the kids are familiar with the campus. They borrow books from the library and think the cafeteria is the best.
"They understand study and the idea of university which has been an unexpected benefit beyond the piece of paper."
Bachelor of Nursing and Bachelor of Midwifery graduate Bonnie Dwyer was the student representative at the ceremony who spoke on behalf of the student body.
"Studying in Warrnambool meant I could stay at home, work part-time, continue my sport and save money," she said.
"In Year 11 I studied a pregnancy unit and I knew I wanted to go onto midwifery.
"Doing a double degree meant I had a bigger workload and more travel for placement. Last year I completed 120 days of placement.
"It's rewarding to finish and the hard work has paid off."
Miss Dwyer completed her studies with a distinction in both degrees and is undertaking her nursing graduate year at Eastern Health in Box Hill.
Camperdown's Stephanie Davis studied nursing and midwifery as well and found the structure of Deakin suited her studying needs.
"I came straight out of Year 12 into university," she said.
"The close proximity meant I could still see all my family and friends and my dad went to Deakin so I got to keep the tradition in the family.
"The course was challenging at times but rewarding. I got a lot of practical experience which has prepared me for my graduate year. I'm now at South West Healthcare and the work was a bit of a shock at first but everyone's been really supportive.
"The skills I learnt at Deakin and on placement definitely set me up for work."
Miss Davis received a distinction for her Bachelor of Nursing and her Bachelor of Midwifery.
Thomas Hynes completed his Bachelor of Primary Education with distinction.
The keen runner is working as a relief teacher in Warrnambool and continuing his athletic pursuits.
"I enjoy helping kids and I had some really good teachers in school who made me want to follow teaching," Mr Hynes said.
"The course was four years but it felt like it went really quick."
In the graduation ceremony, Duncan Stalker OAM was awarded a Deakin Honorary Doctorate of Education for his distinguished service to the Victorian and national secondary education sector and for his contribution and service to a range of organisations across Warrnambool.
"I was very nervous about today," he said.
"When I was offered the honour I was taken aback and I had to speak with my colleagues before accepting.
"I am pleased I did. I've always been a strong supporter of the campus and it's a delight to see so many graduates today.
"The university is wonderful for Warrnambool. I am certain and confident as Warrnambool grows, Deakin will be a great asset."
Deakin University vice-chancellor Iain Martin travelled to Warrnambool for his first campus graduation ceremony and is looking forward to a positive 2020.
"It's been a good 12 months for the campus," he said.
"The numbers have been encouraging for this year.
"Our international students have been given flexibility with their start to the year but all students and teachers are back on March 9."
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