VICE-CHANCELLOR and president of Charles Sturt University (CSU) Professor Andrew Vann wants and is getting "steady growth" at its Dubbo campus that continues to break down barriers to tertiary education in the western region.
The affable academic reported increasing enrolments as he prepared to take part in the graduation ceremony yesterday of 94 students who have completed their studies in Dubbo.
They picked up teaching, nursing, business and social work degrees with Head of CSU in Dubbo Dr Beverley Moriarty suggesting that many of them would make their mark on the region.
All 17 students who collected a Bachelor of Nursing yesterday have jobs to go to in Western NSW.
The city's campus in Tony McGrane Place is making tertiary education dreams come true, particularly for students of a mature age with family, financial and work responsibilities.
Campus students from Dubbo and the region flowed into the air-conditioned auditorium of Dubbo Regional Theatre and Convention Centre before 9.30am yesterday, with family in tow and sometimes tears in their eyes.
Professor Vann smiled broadly as they pulled on graduation gowns and mortarboards, and took their seats.
"We're very proud of what's been achieved here and the stories of the people who have had access to education that they otherwise wouldn't have had is everything we're about," he told the Daily Liberal.
But the man at the helm of the university, with multiple campuses in NSW, is adamant that more must be done.
"We know that higher education participation in Dubbo is not to the level we'd like it to be, so there's a lot more work to do here," Professor Vann said.
"Looks like the numbers are up again for next year at this stage, so we'll keep our fingers crossed but it's looking good.
"It is difficult to tell until the application process settles down and we get the offers and acceptances out."
Professor Vann indicated that CSU had its own long-term dream of a bigger and busier Dubbo campus.
"What we really want to see, is just a steady growth rate in the future," he said.
Dr Moriarty confirmed a growing number of graduates coming out of the Dubbo campus, along with her pleasure at seeing them succeed.
"It's always a very exciting occasion," she said of the graduation ceremony.