Hundreds of students are now being equipped with the skills for a bright future right in the heart of Blacktown following the official opening of Australian Catholic University’s Blacktown Campus.
Up to 700 tertiary students will be enrolled this year to study at ACU Blacktown’s vertical campus in the Blacktown city centre. The official opening ceremony was held recently at the new campus in Main Street, Blacktown.
Blacktown City Mayor, Tony Bleasdale OAM, joined dignitaries including ACU Vice-Chancellor, Professor Zlatko Skrbis, ACU Acting Chancellor, Julien O’Connell AO, the Bishop of Parramatta, the Most Reverend Vincent Long van Nguyen, the Member for Blacktown, Stephen Bali MP, and the Member for Chifley, Ed Husic MP, at the event.
Speaking at the opening, Mayor Bleasdale said the needs and desires of the current and future students of ACU Blacktown were at the heart of the reason why the campus existed. “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,” Mayor Bleasdale said.
“This is the City of Talent, and education is the single most effective way to harness talent. 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. This wonderful new campus will allow many of our students to continue their studies without having to travel vast distances. The opening of ACU Blacktown is a landmark in education for our city, indeed for the whole of Western Sydney. It is a gamechanger for Blacktown, part of the enormous, transformational growth and modernisation of our city centre.”
Professor Skrbis said the students and facilities of ACU Blacktown stood at the cultural and geographical heart of Blacktown and would add energy and colour to the CBD.
“We want to be partners and collaborators, to lead this community forward into a confident future,” Professor Skrbis said. “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 state-of-the-art learning facilities in a place that feels like home.”
Mayor Bleasdale had the opportunity to speak with first-year Bachelor of Nursing students, Bill Reminis and Christina Marjanovic, who both hail from Western Sydney.
“I’m really excited about this campus because it provides world-class education to be able to achieve what I want to do in my life,” Bill said. “Here in Blacktown, it’s really close to where I live in Parramatta – it’s only a 5 or 10 minute train trip and I’m here. It’s a two-minute walk from the train station so the ease of getting here is incredible.”
Christina said she was excited about the opening of ACU Blacktown because the campus would bring more culture to Blacktown. “It’s good that I am able to go to university closer to home so it just minimises my travel time, and as well it allows me to feel more associated with the area I live in,” Christina said.
ACU Blacktown offers degree courses in Education, Health Sciences, Humanities, Law and Business, Theology and Philosophy.
The university has been developed in partnership with Blacktown City Council and is named in honour of St Josephine Bakhita, patron saint of Sudan and of victims of slavery.