Breaking her jaw, two cheekbones and fracturing her foot in a recent abseiling fall did not prevent Mikaela Blayney from joining her friends in attending AUT’s graduation ceremony on Wednesday 14 December.
Graduating with a Bachelor of Health Sciences in Occupational Therapy, 20-year-old Blayney was one of 3,245 students who graduated in one of the university’s six ceremonies on 14, 15 and 16 December.
The aerial acrobat fell while abseiling during the Random Acts Festival in Aotea Centre one week prior to her graduation ceremony.
A procession of AUT students was held from Albert Park through Queen St to Aotea Square in the morning of each ceremony except Thursday which was cancelled due to poor weather.
Six ceremonies at the Civic Centre
The summer graduations were all held at the Civic Centre and are for students who have completed their qualifications in semester two of 2011 or have deferred from a previous semester. The Friday morning ceremony was the largest ceremony with 530 students from Applied Humanities and Te Ara Poutama receiving a total of 542 qualifications.
Altogether there were 3,308 qualifications conferred. Of those 412 were postgraduate qualifications with 20 being PhDs.
First ever posthumous PhD at AUT
One of the PhD graduates was Bethli Wainwright who had her doctorate conferred posthumously after passing away last year on Christmas Day.
The liver transplant recipient completed her thesis on a subject that meant a lot to her. The thesis, entitled: The Lived Experience of Liver Transplant Recipients in New Zealand, was the result of surveying a third of all liver transplant recipients in New Zealand between 1998 and 2005.
Her supervisor at AUT, Professor Marilyn Waring, took the research and structured it into a thesis after promising Wainright it would be completed. It is the first time AUT has conferred a PhD posthumously.