Australian Catholic University (ACU) has formally opened its newest addition, the Josephine Bakhita Campus, in Blacktown on Friday 12 March.
From March 2021, pathways, undergraduate and postgraduate courses are available for study in the Faculties of Education and Arts, Health Sciences, Law and Business, and Theology and Philosophy.
The centre of the campus is a property at 22 Main Street shared with Blacktown City Council. It is a university campus in the heart of western Sydney, providing a place to study close to home for more than 18,000 tertiary students who would otherwise travel across the city to attend university.
Federal Minister for Education and Youth The Honourable Alan Tudge MP officially opened the campus.
Bishop of Parramatta, Most Reverend Vincent Long Van Nguyen OFM Conv, blessed the campus, which is named for Saint Josephine Bakhita, patron saint for victims of slavery and human trafficking. ACU has selected someone whose social, moral and spiritual charism speaks to the local community.
ACU Vice-Chancellor and President Professor Zlatko said the university was embarking on a mission to deliver a centre of higher education to serve the community, in a spirit of collaboration and togetherness.
“Standing at the cultural and geographical heart of Blacktown, our facilities and our students will add energy and colour to the city itself. We want to be partners and collaborators, to lead this community forward into a confident future.
“We will be future-focused, working together in novel ways to prepare our students for the jobs of the future, helping them to find innovative solutions to meet the challenges of our age.”
“Most of all, we will aim to be an inspiration to young people in this community, offering world-class higher education and research – in a state-of-the-art learning facilities in a place that feels like home.”
The campus is well supported by the Catholic Diocese of Parramatta and collaboration with Blacktown City Council.
Mayor of Blacktown City, Tony Bleasdale OAM, said: “We believe in the potential of our young people, and we believe they should have access to the best opportunities, education, and training right here in Blacktown City.”
“This is the ‘city of talent’, and education is the single most effective way to harness talent,” Mayor Bleasdale said.
“In Blacktown, as anywhere, education is a fundamental in our community – yet currently 18,000 of our students travel to universities and colleges outside our city.
“All that starts to change with this wonderful new campus.
“Today is a landmark in education for our city, indeed for the whole of Western Sydney. It is a game-changer for Blacktown, part of the enormous, transformational growth and modernisation of our city centre.”
Ms Ana Seini Fekitoa, Bachelor of Nursing student, Saint Josephine Bakhita Campus, gave a vote of thanks. She said she had chosen to study at ACU due to the continual, supportive and encouraging environment they provide.
“With the opening of Saint Josephine Bakhita Campus, I can achieve my academic goals as well as maintain my family, work-life balance. It means no more long commutes after shift work and missing my stop and waking up somewhere in the north shore or somewhere in the mountains.”
Mr Stephen Bali MP, Member for Blacktown, made closing remarks. The former Mayor of Blacktown City Council was instrumental in establishing the partnership between the council and the university.
With thanks to ACU.