As this week’s ANU graduation ceremonies come to a close, we are thrilled to celebrate the achievements of inaugural Scholar, Marcus Dahl, who has been awarded both a University Medal and the Tillyard Prize.
The Tillyard Prize is the oldest and most prestigious prize available to bachelor degree students of the University. Originally established in 1940, the Prize is awarded to the student whose personal qualities and contribution to University life have been outstanding and who in the year of the award has completed a Degree of Bachelor with Honours.
The University Medal recognises students who have obtained First Class Honours and demonstrated exceptional academic excellence across their studies.
Significant amongst Marcus’ contributions to the ANU, is his service to his residential community of Ursula Hall, where, in his first year, he was elected as by his peers as the first-year representative on the Residents Committee. In his second year, he was elected Vice President, and in 3rd year, President. As President, he took on the role of Secretary of the Interhall Council (a peak body of all the senior elected student leaders from all ANU residences). While in his 4th year Marcus made the unusual shift from an elected student position to being selected by staff to join the Hall’s team of Senior Residents who provide pastoral care to residents.
Beyond his contributions to residential life at ANU, Marcus has given up his time for many other good causes at ANU and the ACT more broadly, including being a mentor for Indigenous high school students coming to ANU for the Indigenous Summer School Program. Marcus has also been a keen Rover Scout and Scout Leader during his time in Canberra. He attended Government House earlier this week to receive his Baden Powell Scout Award, the peak youth award available to Australian Scouts, from the Governor-General.
Head of Scholars House and Pro-Vice Chancellor, University Experience, Professor Richard Baker, was delighted to hear of Marcus’ achievements. “Marcus is not a showy flamboyant leader who wants to be seen doing things – he is someone who quietly behind the scenes gets things done”, said Professor Baker.
This week, Marcus graduated from a Bachelor of Laws with Honours and a Bachelor of Science, majoring in Psychology. As he prepares to leave the ANU, Marcus shared some reflections of his time as a Tuckwell Scholar and thoughts about what might lie ahead.
“The Tuckwell Scholarship brought me to ANU, and there is only one word which fits when I reflect on my five years here: gratitude. I was extraordinarily lucky for Graham and Louise Tuckwell's gift to have occurred at the same time I was planning for university, and for the interview panel to have seen potential in me and to have taken a chance on me.”
Marcus’ experiences as a student and as a Tuckwell Scholar have helped shaped the person he has become over his time at ANU.
“I have made more friends than my wildest dreams, played more sports than I can count on two hands, and completed essays on topics I'd never heard of before. Knowing that my colleagues, the university and the scholarship all believe in me has given me the confidence to grow as a student, as a person and as a leader. These experiences have taught me to back myself, to be true to my beliefs, and to take a chance.”
After graduation, Marcus will be flying to Johannesburg for a placement at the Constitutional Court of South Africa, where he hopes to learn more about the application of a modern Constitution that contains rights and protections for its citizens.
When asked about where he sees himself in the future, Marcus says, “I want to play a positive part in making our world better through commitment to others and perseverance towards just causes. Perhaps, if I work hard enough, I can help others achieve a happier, more contented life.”