BENDIGO'S first cohort of paramedicine, podiatry and speech pathology students graduated from La Trobe University this week.
The trailblazers were among the 971 students that formed the Bendigo Campus Class of 2014.
More than 730 students filled the Bendigo Stadium, along with their families and friends, to celebrate their achievements.
Olivia Bish, 21, moved from Echuca to Bendigo to realise her dream of becoming a paramedic.
"Being the first cohort of paramedicine students has been really good," she said.
"We were a smaller group so we all became very good friends and we probably had more hands-on time and more time with our teachers.
"It was really good."
Ms Bish has secured work with Ambulance Victoria in Echuca.
"It's made it all worth the while at the end of the day when you get where you want to be," she said.
Robin Armstrong, 27, is a step closer to a career in the psychiatric and mental health field after graduating with a Bachelor of Nursing.
Ms Armstrong enrolled as a mature age student in a Diploma of Health Sciences in 2011 before embarking on La Trobe's Bachelor of Nursing in 2012.
"This is something that I've always wanted to do but it has taken me a bit longer than most," she said.
"I had to delay university studies when I had my baby when I was 17."
Meanwhile, the La Trobe Rural Health School has five new PhD graduates, cementing its place at the forefront of research into the health and well-being of rural communities.
Head of the school Professor Teresa Lacono said the work of the newly minted researches had significant local and global reach.
"While they have completed highly relevant studies that directly address some of the major issues that impact rural people, the knowledge generated from their work has world-wide relevance," Professor Lacono said.
See pages 28 and 29 of Saturday's Bendigo Advertiser for more photos from this week's La Trobe University graduations at the Bendigo Stadium. View the Bendigo Advertiser's online galleries at www.bendigoadvertiser.com.au