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Meet our Alumni Award finalists!

Join us at our gala dinner on 21 October.

The UON alumni community reaches all corners of the globe, with more than 135,000 dynamic and diverse achievers in over 120 countries, each making their mark.

The UON Alumni Awards recognise and celebrate innovation, creativity and exceptional leadership of those graduates who inspire others through their local, national and international achievements.

We have had an overwhelming response for our 2016 Alumni Awards and are delighted to share more information about the outstanding finalists for each of our Alumni Awards.

With Award recipients recognised at our gala dinner on Friday 21 October, we invite you to read more about our finalists and encourage you to join us in celebrations on the night.

Purchase tickets now

The Awards evening is hosted by the University’s Alumni Advisory Committee.

Meet our finalists

The Alumni Medal for Professional Excellence recognises an outstanding record of professional excellence in leadership, knowledge and professional practice.

Associate Professor Elham Doroodchi
PhD (Chemical Engineering) 2005
Bachelor of Engineering 2000
University of Newcastle Associate Professor Elham Doroodchi has an international reputation for pioneering research in multi-phase flows with a focus on developing new technologies, primarily for the energy and resources sectors.
Read more »

Professor ER Meng Hwa
PhD (Electrical And Computer Engineering) 1986
Noted as a pioneer and one of the most remarkable engineers of his generation, Professor Er was this year recognised in The Institution of Engineering and Technology’s Top 126 Most Influential Engineers.  Professor Er is the Vice-President (International Affairs) and Professor of Electrical and Electronic Engineering at Nanyang Technological University, Singapore.
Read more »

Tan Sri Esa Mohamed
Honorary Degree - Doctor of Architecture 2005
Bachelor of Architecture 1973
Malaysian architect and town-planner Tan Sri Esa Mohamed is the President of the International Union of Architects (UIA), representing more than one million architects worldwide.
Read more »

The Newton-John Award recognises innovation or creativity in any field that has improved cultural life.

Conjoint Associate Professor Douglas Absalom
PhD (Linguistics) 1977
Master of Arts 1971
A passionate and dedicated academic at the University of Newcastle, Douglas Absalom’s innovation has contributed to the development of the English Language Intensive Courses for Overseas Students (ELICOS) program between 1988 and 1994.
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Heath Johns
Master of Marketing 2007
Master of Business Administration 2006
In a rapidly changing industry Heath Johns has demonstrated outstanding leadership alongside his inherent talent for identifying, developing and sharing creative musical talent.
Read more »

Elizabeth Wright
MPhil 2010
Bachelor of Fine Art (Honours) 2007
A published author and Australian Paralympic medallist at both the Atlanta and Sydney Olympics, Elizabeth Wright’s diverse career is now focused on breaking down prejudices and stereotypes of the disabled.
Read more »

The Alumni Award for Exceptional Community Service recognises the work of an outstanding alumni member who has made a significant contribution to their community, and has built or enhanced the reputation of the University of Newcastle and its relationship with the community.

Joel Pilgrim
Bachelor of Occupational Therapy 2011
Joel Pilgrim is a mental health occupational therapist from Newcastle with clinical experience working with people at risk and diagnosed with mental health issues. Following graduation, Joel spent several years working for a program which assists young people to get back on their feet following their first episode of psychosis.
Read more »

Dr Neelam Pradhananga
PhD (Architecture) 2011
Dr Neelam Pradhananga is the passionate founder of several community-based not-for-profit organisations in Australia and South East Asia. In 2009, she established Guthi Australia, a NFP focused on raising awareness and preserving Newar cultural heritage.
Read more »

The Alumni Award for Regional Leadership recognises a nominee who demonstrates leadership and/or entrepreneurship initiatives with significance in a regional context.

Andrew Donaldson
Bachelor of Architecture 2005
Bachelor of Design (Architecture) 2001
Andrew has achieved national and international industry recognition and he manages his own company, a cross-disciplinary architectural practice that specialises in bespoke residential construction and public art gallery design.
Read more »

Dr Brent Jenkins
Bachelor of Metallurgy 1984
Following a successful and diverse international career, Dr Brent Jenkins returned to the Hunter region in 2007 with the specific intention of contributing to the region’s success. Brent has been influential in raising awareness about the economic and social issues challenging the Hunter and is a recognised leader in the Hunter region.
Read more »

Dr Daniel Sutcliffe
PhD (Civil Surveying and Environmental Engineering) 2004
Bachelor of Engineering 1997
As a civil engineer, Dr Daniel Sutcliffe has been involved with a number of identifiable landmarks that have shaped the physical environment of the Hunter region.  Daniel’s diverse work impacts in the most visible and tangible way.
Read more »

The Alumni Award for National Leadership recognises a nominee who demonstrates leadership and/or entrepreneurship initiatives with national reach.

Dr Edward Campbell
Bachelor of Science 1972
Beginning his career with BHP, Edward (Ted) Campbell soon moved into public service where he held multiple senior leadership roles across Australia.  With a PhD (Chemical Engineering) from Cambridge, Ted leaves a legacy of infrastructure development and processes which continue to impact the communities they were built for decades after completion.
Read more »

Elizabeth Davies
Bachelor of Arts 1975
Elizabeth (Libby) Davies has held national chief executive positions in health, ageing, family and community services; and is currently CEO of White Ribbon Australia (White Ribbon). At White Ribbon, Libby has led this strong, national social change movement that is driving the engagement of men to stop men’s violence against women for the last 5 years.
Read more »

Dr Andrew Walker
Bachelor of Medicine 1987
Bachelor of Medical Science 1985
Dr Andrew Walker is co-founder and Executive Chairman of Aspen Medical Pty Ltd, established 12 years ago to provide outsourced healthcare solutions for governments and other large organisations.
Read more »

The Alumni Award for International Leadership recognises a nominee who demonstrates that their role extends beyond the shore of the country in which they reside to produce positive outcomes, or that their position has international influence.

Dr Suzanne Hill
Graduate Diploma in Epidemiology 1997
PhD (Medicine) 1994, Bachelor of Medicine 1982
With a career spanning more than three decades, Dr Suzanne Hill’s work for the World Health Organization (WHO) is focused on public health to improve the quality of care and quality of life to the people under the purview of the United Nations.
Read more »

Professor Gang Wei
PhD (Chemistry) 1997
Professor Gang Wei is an active and highly reputed scientist and has been instrumental in creating a step change in the engagement between Australian and Chinese institutions in science and innovation. Gang has developed extensive research collaboration links between the CSIRO and national and international universities and research institutes in China.
Read more »

The Indigenous Alumni Award recognises the contributions, outstanding talent and achievements of an Indigenous graduate in their chosen field.

Professor John Maynard
PhD (Aboriginal Studies) 2003
Diploma in Aboriginal Studies 1996
Professor John Maynard, a Worimi man, is recognised as the foremost Indigenous historian in Australia, revealing previously missing, yet important chapters in Aboriginal history.
Read more »

Dr Mark Wenitong
Bachelor of Medicine 1994
As one of the first Indigenous medicine graduates in Australia, Kabi Kabi man Dr Mark Wenitong, is passionate about improving health outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians. Mark is the Senior Public Health Officer at Apunipima Cape York Health Council, where he is working on health reform across Cape York Aboriginal communities.
Read more »

The Beryl Nashar Young Researcher Award recognises the research achievements of early- and mid-career researchers.

Dr Jamie Flynn
PhD 2015
Bachelor of Biomedical Science (Honours) 2010
Dr Jamie Flynn is the project leader of a team who have converged two ground-breaking technologies from biological sciences and optical physics, causing a fundamental shift in the way life scientists view biological systems in high-resolution.
Read more »

Dr Andrew Gardner
PhD 2015
Dr Andrew Gardner is a clinical neuropsychologist and researcher ranked in the top 2% of concussion researchers worldwide according to Expertscape. Andrew’s research focus is to establish a better understanding of post-injury neurological changes and the reasons why some at-risk athletes in the football codes go on to develop dementia later in life.
Read more »

Dr Camilla Hoyos
Bachelor of Science (Honours) 2002
Bachelor of Applied Science (Consumer Science) 2001
Dr Camilla Hoyos is currently investigating links between disordered sleep and cardio-metabolic health and is a Research Fellow at the Woolcock Institute of Medical Research, University of Sydney.
Read more »

The Young Alumni Award recognises outstanding achievements and contributions by a young graduate.

Kristy Bagnall
Master of Business Administration 2014
Bachelor of Business 2002
Kristy Bagnall has risen through the ranks over the last ten years to become the Head of Human Resources at Greater Bank Ltd. In 2012 Kristy was appointed as a Director of the Greater Charitable Foundation Board.
Read more »

Alexandra Blanch
Bachelor of Business 2010
In her six years within the construction industry, Alexandra Blanch has established a strong presence in the industrial relations field.  After completing the Thiess Graduate Development Program in 2012, she has since taken the lead industrial relations role on major Sydney construction tenders.
Read more »

Dr Vincent Candrawinata
PhD 2015
Bachelor of Science (Food Technology) (Honours) 2011, Bachelor of Food Science and Human Nutrition 2010
Dr Vincent Candrawinata is a researcher and innovator in the field of food, health and nutrition. His postgraduate work saw him invent a revolutionary extraction technology and he is the founder of Renovatio Bioscience.
Read more »

Dr Malcolm Starkey
PhD (Immunology and Microbiology) 2014
Bachelor of Biomedical Science (Honours) 2008
Dr Malcolm Starkey is a respiratory researcher who studies how challenges in a person’s early life can impair the development of a healthy immune system and lead to chronic diseases such as asthma, emphysema and diabetes.
Read more »

About the Alumni Advisory Committee

The AAC is an advisory body established under provisions of the University of Newcastle Act. It is a group of alumni elected by their peers to represent the UON alumni community.

The Committee has an advisory role to the University Council on all matters relevant to alumni and partners with the Office of Alumni and Philanthropy to support alumni development.