2023 starts with focus on upholding values – and a win in the tennis!

The 2023 academic year has commenced with a record enrolment at St Mark’s, our students pledging to uphold a student-written “Living Document of Values”, and many successful Welcome Week events including the post-Covid return of Old Collegians’ tennis, followed by a nail-biting and exciting win for St Mark’s in inter-college tennis.

The hard work of student leaders and staff to prepare for the new academic year included the writing by student leaders of a statement of values that emphasises integrity, collegiality, respect, growth, and generosity.

This “St Mark’s Collegians’ Living Document of Values” was initiated by student leaders at a retreat last July, fleshed out in lively discussion in the student leadership training last September, and drafted by student leaders over the summer with every returner invited to contribute.

The Living Document was signed during Welcome Week by almost all students, who committed “to seeking to uphold and live out these values in our time at St Mark’s and beyond”. It is expected that all students will soon have pledged to uphold these values. To read the Living Document of Values, click here.

Upholding good values was also the theme of the Commencement Service in St Peter’s Cathedral at the end of Welcome Week. It was addressed both by the Chaplain, the Rev’d Grant Moore (whose retirement has recently been announced), and by the Head of College, Professor Don Markwell AM.  For Professor Markwell’s Commencement Address in the Service, click here.

The record enrolment in the College this year has been made possible through extremely strong demand for College places, and by St Mark’s renting the Cathedral Deanery between Walkley Cottage and the Cathedral. Renting the Deanery has made possible an extra seven student bedrooms.

Many students have been able to come or return to St Mark’s only because of scholarships generously funded by alumni and friends of the College, and many other students have been significantly helped in this way. These students have been writing letters of thanks for their scholarships, and extracts from some of these will soon be available here.

Our new students were welcomed to the College on Thursday 16 February with a Smoking Ceremony and Welcome to Country, our annual Admission Ceremony, and two days of important training, followed by a Welcome Week of further university and College induction and social events – several on the College Club theme of “Top Gun: Maverick”, based on the Tom Cruise action movie of last year.

Our student leaders – College Club Committee, the Academic team, the Assistant Deans and the Wellbeing team, the Charitable Foundation, and others – have worked hard together and with College staff to welcome and support all students.

Welcome Week concluded with Old Collegians’ tennis, which was won by a team of current Collegians, Paddy Douglas and Nick Schofield. They went on a week later to play in the St Mark’s tennis team which scored a close-run and exciting win in the SAAUCC inter-college tennis.

Our win was secured only in the final games against Aquinas in pelting rain, thunder and lightning flashes. It was a day to remember – and an encouraging start to the College’s campaign to retain the High Table Cup won by St Mark’s last year. Next stop: swimming on 23 March.

At the College Club AGM on 1 March, students gave a standing ovation to the retiring Chaplain, the Rev’d Grant Moore, who has served as Chaplain since 2014. Grant, who turns 75 this year, has been transferred to a locum position in the western suburbs of Adelaide before his final retirement. He and Ellie will be much missed at St Mark’s, and we wish them well in their retirement.

The Club’s AGM also made the important decision to review the Club Constitution, and a high-powered committee of College law students will lead this work throughout the year. They invite input on the review. Read more here.

The curators of the Gassie the 1936 Dodge hawker van which College students have enjoyed since 1966 – are also working on crucial repairs and maintenance to prolong its lifespan, and would greatly appreciate your support here.

University classes are now in their third week, and College life is in full swing, including academic and wellbeing support for our students. Several sessions on key academic skills have already been held, College tutorials are getting underway, and our highest-achieving students in 2022 university results will be honoured in our annual Academic Awards Dinner next week.

Wellbeing support is being ably led by our new Director of Wellbeing, Sally Cassidy, who recently joined the College from the University of Adelaide’s Counselling Support team, and is living in Walkley Cottage with her family and much-loved Samoyed fur-ball, Hachi.

2023 is off to a very positive start, full of potential for the year ahead for all our students.

Photos by Amelie Beltakis