Sophie Ecker

Graduation: 2006
Degree: Bachelor of Laws/Bachelor of Commerce
University is more than just a degree. That is the special "thing" about Notre Dame. Not only do students get an outstanding education in their chosen profession but also they receive a priceless education in life. As Notre Dame students our education in ethics, values, humanitarianism, teamwork, and genuine community contribution adds value to the world. In a nutshell, Notre Dame students learn to make the world a better place, and, we actually get out there and do so!

The reason I chose to attend Notre Dame to study a double degree of Law and Commerce is because I knew then that it is more than a university. In addition to education, I had heard it genuinely cared about its students and the community on a local and global scale. In the end I made the right choice because the practical skills that Notre Dame students learn undeniably set them apart and put them ahead in the workforce. The scope of education provided is in a league of its own.

It was an honour to be elected by my peers to be the President of the 2006 Student Association. I look back on this time as some of my fondest life memories. Working with a phenomenal array of people and teams such as the Student Association, other student organisations on campus, university staff, and interacting with everyone from the Notre Dame cleaning crew (some of whom I still remain friends with today) to the Prime Minster John Howard (I hear he still wears the NDSA t-shirt we presented him at the opening of our Sydney Campus in 2006) was an invaluable experience. It's beautiful how every single person who plays a part in the story of Notre Dame genuinely loves the university. That's not an easy feat to achieve in any organisation and is a testament to what Notre Dame is all about.

The friendships, education and life-skills made during my time at Notre Dame have stood the test of time. As, undoubtedly, will the university.

Congratulations, Notre Dame, on celebrating your 25th anniversary! As we used to chant around campus back in the day; "NDA, A-OK!"

Mena Goubran

President, SAUNDA (Student Association UNDA Sydney) Committee 2014
What I appreciate about Notre Dame is the personal experience to be had by students studying here and the unique emphasis on moulding people in ways in addition to the academic realm. Throughout its history the University has worked closely with the Roman Catholic Archdioceses in Australia, developing the whole student with excellent pastoral care initiatives. Personally, I have been enriched by its state-of-the-art Philosophy & Theology School and appreciate the fact that Notre Dame regularly exceeds other universities in terms of its graduate employability. Notre Dame has become a deeply respected presence which rivals many of the older universities in Australia after only 25 years.

Dr Peter Tannock:

Vice Chancellor Emeritus
I was appointed Director of Catholic Education and Chairman of the Catholic Education Commission of Western Australia in 1985. I was the first lay person in these roles. A significant part of my brief from Archbishop William Foley and my predecessor as Director, Father James Nestor, was to develop the Catholic school system in the State, as a system, to expand it, spreading Catholic schools to new areas of population growth, and to take it forward into a new era of lay leadership and management, and a lay teaching force. This was to be done whilst reinforcing the traditional Catholic ethos and values of Catholic schools.

It seemed to me that this new lay-led era would require new approaches to the identification, recruitment, education and training of specially prepared staff for Catholic schools. We were ill equipped to do this because the Church had virtually no formal tertiary education capacity. Other States and Territories had long established and now publicly funded Catholic tertiary colleges, training teachers and nurses for service in Catholic institutions. These had been developed, in the main, by religious orders over many years. Western Australia had nothing comparable.

To meet this strategic deficiency we came up with the idea of a privately funded tertiary education institution to service, primarily, the Catholic school and health care systems. It was the founding spark for what became The University of Notre Dame Australia. This led to the idea of a privately funded Catholic university. The main early contributors to the conception and formation of this idea were Archbishop Foley, Denis Horgan, Dr Michael Quinlan, Father Edward ‘Monk’ Malloy (from the University of Notre Dame in the United States), Father John Neill, and myself.

Toby Hicks

Bachelor of Business 1997 / Bachelor of Laws 2001 graduate, Fremantle Campus
University Governor (2002 to present)
The experience we had as students in the early years was essentially that we were a part of something both unique and special.

I was most grateful for the people that invested into me while I was a student. I always felt that people there were interested in developing me as a person and not just a student. I've benefitted greatly in my professional life from the time and effort that, not only my lecturers, but the staff in general put into me as a person on campus.

To then have been asked to continue my involvement as a Governor so soon after my graduation was a humbling experience, but one that I have approached with great excitement as an opportunity to continue to be involved in the development of something special at Our Lady’s university.