Hear from UQ Health valedictorian, Leon Mupapira

Bachelor of Nursing graduate and UQ Health valedictorian, Leon Mupapira, shares his experience and reflects on his time at The University of Queensland in his valedictorian speech:

If you had told me 12 years ago that I would be graduating from The University of Queensland in Australia, I would have replied to you saying ‘katika ndonto zangu’ in my native tongue - Swahili. That translates to ‘in my dreams’.

Today realises my wildest dreams of graduating, because 12 years ago I was a boy in a Malawian refugee camp that did not know a single word of English nor what the future had in store, all I could do was dream.

I am sure today is a dream come true for many of my fellow graduates and I extend my congratulations to each and every one of you.

To be here today, we have received support throughout our journey and a sincere thankyou is warranted to our families, friends and UQ staff who have given us support and guidance over the years.

I’d like all the graduates here today, to take a moment and reflect on what a tremendous achievement it is to be here.

We have become skilled in resilience, despite the stressors and challenges, despite the year 2020 we made it here. Despite trembling to our core, we mastered the courage to get in front of our assessors and complete all those OSCEs and oral exams. We have learnt to take lead in our own education, the lead in our development as individuals. We have learnt to be innovators of new ideas, innovators of change.

There are many challenges we are yet to face and many problems we are yet to solve, but I believe our time here has shaped us into outstanding professionals ready to embark into our respective fields and ready to innovate and lead the changes required.

As health care graduates, we are in a unique position to impact the world around us at an individual and systemic level, our generation is the future of change and I believe we are going to achieve great things.

Thank you UQ and again a massive congratulations to the class of 2020.

What’s next for Leon?

Leon will soon commence work in a graduate nurse position in far north Queensland. He and his wife, Tessa, are also busily preparing for the arrival of their new baby. Congratulations Leon and best of luck with your next adventure!

Learn more about Leon’s story

Last updated:
22 February 2021