The 50th anniversary of the Riverina College of Advanced Education, now Charles Sturt University, is also the anniversary of the start of one alumna’s family. The former RCAE graduate looks back on how the institute has positively influenced her life and that of her children.
The completion of her degree through the former Riverina College of Advanced Education (RCAE) was more than the start of a career for alumna Mrs Sue Davis (nee Granger).
It was the place she met her husband, with whom she has three children, one of which went onto also become a Charles Sturt University graduate.
Sue was born and raised in Young but moved to Wagga Wagga in 1971 to start training as a primary school teacher at the Wagga Wagga Teachers College.
The college became the Riverina College of Advanced Education in 1972, now Charles Sturt University, and celebrates its 50th anniversary this year.
Mr Paul Davis was also studying at the Teachers College and RCAE and he met Sue in their first year at a sport meeting. They were members of the RCAE Sports Union, with Paul in the College Rugby Team and Sue in the hockey club.
“We are sentimentally attached to Charles Sturt University after completing our tertiary education there and being where we met and later married,” Sue said.
“My husband was from Sydney, and I was from country NSW, and we would never have met without our common study at RCAE.
“Many friends and memories were made during our time there.”
Sue’s first teaching job was at Mangoplah Public School in 1973, while she was also attending lectures at night at RCAE. Sue returned to teaching in 1976, this time to Ashmont Public School, after having their first child, Michael.
Their second and third children, Deanna and Geoff, were born in Wagga Wagga and then Sue studied her Graduate Diploma in School Librarianship via distance education at RMIHE, now RMIT.
The family moved to the Macarthur area in 1986, where Sue was employed as a teacher librarian at John Warby Public School in Campbelltown.
The couple’s youngest son, Geoff, was eager to return to Wagga Wagga after being born there.
Geoff returned to Wagga Wagga to study viticulture at Charles Sturt University. During his first year, he lived in the same room his mother had lived in at the old Teachers College campus.
“We were very proud of Geoff when he graduated from Charles Sturt University and of course, we had to be there to reminisce,” she said.
Their eldest son, Michael, attended Charles Sturt University for a short period and both sons played rugby for Charles Sturt, following in their father’s sporting footsteps.
Sue held numerous teaching positions in her career, including teacher librarian, Literacy Consultant for the Liverpool District, Training and Development and Curriculum Coordinator for the Liverpool District and Principal at Cawdor Public School.
She said recognising the RCAE’s 50-year milestone was important in celebrating the role it played in shaping many people’s lives.
“Times change and it is important to celebrate the past and the journey we have all taken in shaping the future,” she said.
“The contributions (of RCAE graduates) are as vast as the courses and students who completed them.”
Sue and Paul now live at The Oaks in the Wollondilly Shire and have three children and 10 grandchildren.
Sue is retired from full-time work but works casually for Western Sydney University as an advisor for primary practicums and volunteers at Wollondilly Heritage Centre as a family historian and archivist.
RCAE alumni are invited to attend reunion events in Wagga Wagga in June, including a celebratory dinner on Saturday 4 June and a campus tour and winery visit on Sunday 5 June.