Top marks off the field for NRL star
Russell Packer celebrates completion of postgraduate business course.
St George Illawarra Dragons star Russell Packer has celebrated the completion of a Graduate Certificate in Business at the University of Wollongong.
Packer is the ninth footballer to graduate from the acclaimed Graduates of League (GOL) program, which was established in 2012 as a way to increase the university entry, retention and completion rates of elite athletes and professional sports people. The program provides athletes with support from the university as they balance rigorous training schedules and travel commitments with tertiary studies.
During his time at UOW, Packer received a Dean’s Award for his outstanding results and maintained a distinction average across his subjects.
He credits the support of the Graduates of League (GOL) program and the support of his family with his academic success.
“Coming back into the academic side of things is quite daunting but the support has been phenomenal,” he said.
“I really enjoyed learning again and being here, in this environment, and having the help I needed.”
Over the past five years, the UOW GOL program has supported 71 student-athletes, employed 90 students as peer mentors and had nine graduations (with five more expected in 2017). Packer is the first postgraduate GOL student to complete tertiary qualifications at UOW.
Packer’s emphasised the importance of having a focus on something outside of rugby league, particularly for the next generation of players coming through the ranks.
“At one point in time we’re all going to have to go out and get real jobs,” he laughed.
“I want to be in a position where I get to choose a job for myself and my family, and I feel that the education pathway is the best route for me.
“I hope some of the guys out there use me as an example, that anyone can have a crack.”
National Rugby League (NRL) Education, Training and Employment Manager John Hutchison joined Dragons star Ben Creagh in congratulating Packer on his graduation.