• Aunty Joyce has been recognised as a Bond University Fellow, for her significant contribution in the development of the Nyombil Indigeous Support Centre (NITV News)Source: NITV News
Gold Coast Indigenous leader Aunty Joyce Summers has been honoured for her commitment to community and education, being recognised as a Bond University Fellow.
By
Laura Morelli

1 Jun 2017 - 5:38 PM  UPDATED 1 Jun 2017 - 5:50 PM

Nearing 70 years of age and Aunty Joyce Summers isn’t slowing down anytime soon.

The highly respected Aboriginal Elder has been recognised as a Bond University Fellow, for her significant contribution in the development of the Nyombil Indigenous Support Centre.

Aunty Joyce is the latest person to receive the honorary title from the independent university. She looked forward to continuing to work with Bond University and its growing Indigenous student cohort.

"I think it is wonderful that Bond has so many Indigenous students studying here, and such a high retention rate of these students," she said.

"I'm a humble person. You do things out of the goodness of your heart and don't expect accolades, but I feel truly honoured to be recognised as a Fellow of Bond University."

Born on Ukerabah Island, an Aboriginal Reserve on the Tweed River, Aunty Joyce was involved in the fight to save the island from development. This battle took place alongside several members of community such as her brother Cedric Morgan and Senator Neville Bonner, Australia’s first Indigenous Member of Parliament.

Aunty Joyce also chaired Gold Coast City's National Aboriginal and Islanders' Day Observance Committee (NAIDOC) in 2015 and received a Premier's award in recognition of her extensive community work.

An advocate for education, she proved her passion for knowledge by completing a degree in Indigenous Studies at the age of 68.

More than 70 Indigenous students are currently enrolled at Bond University across a range of programs, including undergraduate courses and postgraduate research projects.

Bond University Vice-Chancellor and President, Professor Tim Brailsford, said Aunty Joyce had been instrumental in the support and growth of the centre, including mentoring Bond's Indigenous students.

"Aunty Joyce has helped establish many committees and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander organisations on the Gold Coast and is an advocate for the healing of relationships between Indigenous peoples and others through understanding and tolerance," he said.

"She is committed to the advancement of Indigenous people and places a high value on the importance of education.

Bond University Pro Vice Chancellor of Students and Academic Support, Alan Finch, said Aunty Joyce was a powerful role model to all students.

"When you leave your culture and community and come to somewhere new, you feel like a foreigner until you are welcomed - and Aunty Joyce made us feel at home."

"Aunty Joyce has played a pivotal role in Bond University's relationship with the Indigenous community and continues to be a spokesperson for Indigenous people, helping local groups to tackle social issues including health and education," said Mr Finch.

Bond University law and arts student, Bethany Allen, met Aunty Joyce in her first semester. It was there where she was made to feel welcomed to the Bond community.

"When you leave your culture and community and come to somewhere new, you feel like a foreigner until you are welcomed - and Aunty Joyce made us feel at home."

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