Convocation's work is never done
The first reaction to any discussion of Convocation at UWA is often a question - “What is Convocation and what does it do?” It's something I hope I can address at least part way in my piece below.
We’re a bit different here at UWA. Historically, the term convocation is used in university – and other – contexts to refer to a large gathering of people meeting to legislate or deliberate on matters.
At UWA, the term is found in the original 1911 Act of Parliament which established the University. The current UWA Act describes us as consisting of ‘a Senate, Convocation, staff and students’.
Convocation is an enduring legal part of this University, comprising mainly of our graduates, whose living numbers approximate 125,000. All of these graduates are lifetime members of UWA.
Our place in the governance of the University is enshrined in the recently revised UWA Act, in which Convocation’s members are empowered to elect two members of the senate, each for a three year term.
The recent change in UWA’s course structure means many students are already graduates and members of Convocation, so it is important they know about us and our work and contributions.
What is missing on the Crawley campus is a sense of place for Convocation. Try as you may you will not find us. Campus maps make no reference to Convocation and we have been largely invisible.
What people may not know is that the beautiful Irwin Street Building alongside James Oval that was home to UWA when it was first established in Perth was saved by the efforts of Convocation.
The building, now better recognised as the Cricket Pavilion, was moved to Crawley from the city in 1931-33 but by the late 1970s was being threatened with demolition.
Convocation proposed relocation and renovation and set about raising funds to do just that. A plaque on the building marks the Convocation meeting room, for many years the only named place on campus, but you will have to search to find it.
More recently we contributed to the significant refurbishment of the Masonic Hall on Broadway, now known as IQX, which consequently now has a Convocation Boardroom.
An avenue of trees to be planted by Guild Presidents along Saw Promenade, beside James Oval, will become Convocation Walk and the University Club will shortly be displaying a Convocation storyboard, presenting achievements and activities of Convocation and its members.
Each edition of The Club magazine will also include ‘Convocation Conversations’, with stories about members.
We hope this greater prominence will help answer the oft asked question.
Caption: The beautiful and historic Irving Street building, then and now.
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