Finalists for the 2013 Alumni Awards will be announced on Friday, 21 June.

2013 Alumni Award finalists


Young Alumni

The Young Alumni Award recognises outstanding achievements and contributions by a graduate aged 35 years or younger at the time of nomination.


Chandra Clements

Ms Chandra Clements

Bachelor of Business 2001, Bachelor of Science 2000

Turning entrepreneur in 2013, Chandra established One Legacy, which consults to companies on ethical business, human capital improvement, innovation and women's empowerment.

Ms Chandra Clements rapidly climbed the ranks of the corporate world to lead the global psychology-based workplace safety consultancy firm, Sentis in 2010. Turning entrepreneur in 2013 she established One Legacy, which consults to companies on ethical business, human capital improvement, innovation and women's empowerment.

Chandra built her professional career in organisational development and management roles at Rio Tinto, Fluor, Campbell Brothers and Reward Distribution. In 2009 at Reward Distribution, she led the business of 380 employees to achieve a Lost Time Injury rate of zero, down from 19 two years earlier, and managed 26 sites and 50,000 product lines across Australia and New Zealand.

As Sentis CEO, Chandra delivered a 33 per cent growth in revenue and a 230 per cent growth in earnings before tax.

In 2012 Chandra won the Gold Stevie Award for Best Female Executive (Asia, Australia and New Zealand); Bronze Stevie Award for Best Management Team; and the marie claire National Young Business Woman of the Year Award.


Amanda Cox

Dr Amanda Cox

Graduate Certificate Practice of Tertiary Teaching 2009, Doctor of Philosophy (Immunology and Microbiology) 2008, Bachelor of Biomedical Science (Honours) 2002, Bachelor of Biomedical Science 2001

Amanda has pursued a successful research career in the genetics of chronic inflammatory diseases.

Dr Amanda Cox's PhD research on the inflammatory aspects of respiratory tract illness in elite athletes has changed the way these athletes are assessed clinically for 'sore throats' and enabled effective interventions to prevent elite athletes developing airway inflammation.

After completing her PhD in conjunction with the Australian Institute of Sport, Amanda worked as a Postdoctoral Fellow with the Hunter Medical Research Institute. There, she further developed her skill in molecular genetics and bioinformatics with research projects in the areas of molecular genetics and immunogenetics.

In 2010, Amanda took a Postdoctoral Research Fellow position with Wake Forest University in North Carolina, USA. She has pursued a successful research career in the genetics of chronic inflammatory diseases, such as cardiovascular disease and diabetes.

During her PhD program Amanda published 14 papers including nine as lead author and over the past year in the USA she has been named an author on 13 publications, seven as the lead author.


Sharna Jamardar

Dr Sharna Jamadar

Doctor of Philosophy 2010, Bachelor of Psychology 2005

Sharna is a cognitive neuroscientist who uses functional neuroimaging to understand illnesses including schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.

Dr Sharna Jamadar is a cognitive neuroscientist who uses functional neuroimaging to understand illnesses including schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, and to characterise the healthy ageing process. She is currently a Research Fellow at Monash Biomedical Imaging and School of Psychology and Psychiatry at Monash University.

In her short career Sharna has published in leading scientific journals, presented at international conferences, and established productive collaborations with national and international leaders in her field. 

Her many honours include the University of Newcastle University Medal, Faculty Outstanding Postgraduate Research Student Achievement, and Schizophrenia Research Institute Outstanding Postgraduate Student Award. She has received prestigious awards from international societies including the Society for Neuroscience, American College of Neuropsychopharmacology, Allen Brain Institute and Cognitive Neuroscience Society, USA.

Sharna has taken an active role in community and professional outreach, coordinating neuroimaging workshops for secondary school students, undergraduate students, and international researchers.


Daniel Johnstone

Dr Daniel Johnstone

Doctor of Philosophy 2011, Bachelor of Biomedical Sciences (Honours) 2004, Bachelor of Biomedical Science 2002

Dan is a neuroscientist studying degenerative conditions of the brain and visual system.

Dr Daniel Johnstone is a neuroscientist at the University of Sydney who holds a prestigious Early Career Fellowship from the National Health and Medical Research Council. He is studying degenerative conditions of the brain and visual system.

Daniel's PhD investigated the effects of iron loading disorders on the brain and other organs. Through his studies he became involved in educating and supporting patients with the iron loading disorder haemochromatosis, with which he, ironically, was later diagnosed. To further support people with iron disorders, Daniel co-founded a Newcastle group affiliated with Haemochromatosis Australia, and is now a member of the Haemochromatosis Australia Management Committee.

In 2009 Danie's research was recognised with the Australian Society for Medical Research (ASMR) Domestic Research Award.

In 2011 Daniel became a member of the ASMR NSW State Committee and established the first ASMR branch outside of a capital city, in Newcastle. At the request of the ASMR President, Daniel nominated for the national board, on which he now serves.


Andrew Kavanagh

Mr Andrew Kavanagh

Bachelor of Communication 2007

Andrew is a Melbourne-based writer, director and composer and has achieved national and international recognition for his filmmaking.

Mr Andrew Kavanagh is a Melbourne-based writer, director and composer and has achieved national and international recognition for his filmmaking. His projects have screened at more than 60 film festivals in Australia and throughout the world.

Premiering at the Locarno International Film Festival, his film At The Formal won numerous awards, including the Transmission Films Emerging Australian Filmmaker Award at the 2011 Melbourne International Film Festival and Best Short Film Award at the 2011 Gijon International Film Festival.

In 2012 Andrew won the Qantas Spirit of Youth Award for Filmmaking and began a mentorship with Hollywood director Robert Luketic (Legally Blonde, Monster in Law, 21).

Andrew's latest film Men on Earth has screened at prestigious festivals including Clermont Ferrand, Rotterdam and AFI Fest, and has won awards nationally and internationally.

Extending his talent outside short filmmaking, Andrew recently directed a film clip for recording artist Bertie Blackman and is currently directing TV commercials and developing his first feature film. He is represented by The Mosaic Media Group in Hollywood, CA.


Indigenous Alumni Award

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


Craig Ritchie

Mr Craig Ritchie

Bachelor of Arts 1988

Craig is General Manager of the Access and Participation Branch, in the Higher Education Division of the Department of Education.

Mr Craig Ritchie is General Manager of the Access and Participation Branch in the Higher Education Division of the Department of Education. He leads two major systemic reform initiatives in higher education including reframing the national approach to student equity policy and programs, and implementing the findings of the landmark Review of Access and Outcomes in Higher Education for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People.

Craig is an Aboriginal man of the Dhunghutti/Biripi nations and was the first in his family to attend university. He taught secondary English and history in Gosford for seven years before joining AWABAKAL Newcastle Aboriginal Co-operative in 1996. There he managed the AWABAKAL Aboriginal Medical Service that provided comprehensive primary health care to Aboriginal communities in Newcastle, the Hunter and the Central Coast.  

Craig was CEO of the National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation from 1999-2002 before taking the role of Manager, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Policy for ACT Health.


Alanna Sandell

Dr Alanna Sandell

Bachelor of Medicine 2003

Alanna is the CEO of Monitor: Health Check Solutions - Australia's first Indigenous owned and operated occupational health and safety company.

Dr Alanna Sandell is the CEO of Monitor: Health Check Solutions. Founded in 2011, it is Australia's first Indigenous owned and operated occupational health and safety company. The business works in consultation with employers to design, document and implement a suitable Indigenous health program for the successful management of high risk candidates and employees.

Alanna has worked across numerous areas including emergency, psychiatry, cardiac stress testing, surgery, orthopaedics, urology, general surgery, and obstetrics and gynaecology. Prior to her venture with Monitor, Alanna developed her expertise in Indigenous health while working as a general practitioner at the Eleanor Duncan Aboriginal Medical Centre on the Central Coast of NSW. There she developed and managed chronic disease programs and oversaw a paediatric unit for new mothers and children up to age five.

Alanna and her team are currently working with Leighton Contractors and Broad Construction Services, delivering a pre-employment medical service for the Elizabeth Quay project, a $2.6 billion Perth development to enhance public space around the Swan River.


Nathan Towney

Mr Nathan Towney 

Bachelor of Education/Bachelor of Health and Physical Education 2004

Nathan is dedicated to closing the educational gap for Aboriginal students.

Nathan is a proud Aboriginal man from Wiradjuri Country in Wellington, NSW. He has worked in the NSW Department of Education and Communities and with various Aboriginal communities to close the educational gap for Aboriginal students.

In his role as a Quality Teaching Consultant (Aboriginal Education and Engagement), Nathan's leadership of the South Western Sydney Aboriginal Education Portfolio team resulted in significant and sustained progress toward the implementation of key national and state policies for Aboriginal education. His contributions and achievements were recognised with the 2011 South Western Sydney Regional Directors Award for Excellence. Nathan also assisted in the evaluation of, and made recommendations to, the NSW Aboriginal Education Policy.

Nathan's notable projects include implementing an 83km charity walk for Granville Boys High School to improve community perception and engagement; developing the Aboriginal Numeracy Competition with Sarah Redfern High School; and establishing the Deadly Didjz Performance Group, which is designed to embrace Aboriginal culture and bring together students from different schools.


Alumni Award for Exceptional Community Service

The Alumni Award for Exceptional Community Service recognises the work of an outstanding alumni member who has made significant contributions to the relationship between the University of Newcastle and its community.


Maree Gleeson

Emeritus Professor Maree Gleeson OAM

Doctor of Philosophy 1988

Maree is a health, education, science and medical research professional. As a scientist, Maree's area of expertise is susceptibility to infections, particularly for elite athletes.

Emeritus Professor Maree Gleeson is a health, education, science and medical research professional. As Director of the Hunter Medical Research Institute from 2006-11, Maree attracted more than $45 million in funding to support growth in research capacity and capabilities in the Hunter region, and $90 million for the new research building.

Maree has 35 years experience in corporate leadership. She served as inaugural Director of Medical Research in NSW and Director of Immunology for Hunter Area Pathology Service.

As a non-executive director she holds a strong background in corporate governance, strategic planning, capital developments and risk management. Maree is currently a Director of Hunter Valley Research Foundation, Hunter Water Corporation, and the Special Olympics Asia Pacific Games; a Board member of the Central Coast Local Health District; and a member of the National Health and Medical Research Council Principal Advisory Committee on Preventative and Community Health.

As a scientist, Maree's area of expertise is susceptibility to infections, particularly for elite athletes.

In 2011 Maree was awarded a Medal of the Order of Australia and was named the Hunter Business Person of the Year.


Esther Kalenga

Ms Esther Kalenga

Master of Public Health 2010

Esther is the Congolese community leader in Newcastle and has recently been appointed to represent African communities on the Hunter's Multicultural Health Advisory Committee.

Ms Esther Kalenga completed her high school education and undergraduate qualifications in the Congo before moving to Australia in 2007. Esther and her three children fled to Zimbabwe in 2000 just a day before the war reached their home. In Zimbabwe she sought political asylum and over the following seven years learnt English and worked as a physiotherapist.

Since arriving in Newcastle, Esther has dedicated herself to helping immigrants integrate into the community. She speaks four languages and is currently an interpreter for Health Care Interpreters within the Multicultural Health Unit, Hunter New England Local Health Network, and the Department of Human Services. She is a case worker for Navitas English's Humanitarian Settlement Services program and a settlement facilitator for the Families in Cultural Transition Program with the Service for Treatment and Rehabilitation of Trauma and Torture Survivors.

Esther is also a Congolese community leader in Newcastle and has recently been appointed to represent African communities on the Hunter's Multicultural Health Advisory Committee.


Wej Paradice

Dr WEJ (William Edward John) Paradice AM

Honorary Degree - Doctor of Letters 2009 

Wej is passionate about intelligent natural resource management. From 1985-2013 he was CEO of the HVRF as well as serving as Director of Research from 1985-2004.

Dr Wej Paradice joined the Hunter Valley Research Foundation in 1982 following undergraduate and postgraduate training in Australia and the USA.  From 1985-2013 he has been CEO of the Foundation as well as serving as Director of Research from 1985-2004.

Wej is passionate about intelligent natural resource management and in 1997 was appointed the Independent Chairman of the Hunter River Management Committee. In 2003 he was named inaugural Chairman of the Hunter-Central Rivers Catchment Management Authority. Wej is also a Director of the Tom Farrell Institute for the Environment at the University of Newcastle and has served on numerous natural resource management committees around the country.

He is a member of a range of professional organisations including the Economic Society of Australia, the Australian Regional Science Association, and is a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.

In 2008 Wej was awarded a Member of the Order of Australia. In 2009 the University of Newcastle presented Wej with an honorary Doctor of Letters.


Tim Silverwood

Mr Tim Silverwood

Bachelor of Science (Sustainable Resource Management) 2006

Tim is a passionate advocate for a zero waste future for Australia with advanced waste management systems including better waste avoidance, litter reduction and resource recovery.

Mr Tim Silverwood is an environmentalist specialising in the field of ocean conservation and plastic pollution. He is Vice President and co-founder of the not-for-profit organisation Take 3, a Clean Beach Initiative established in 2009.

Tim is a passionate advocate for a zero waste future for Australia with advanced waste management systems including better waste avoidance, litter reduction and resource recovery.

In 2011 Tim studied the infamous North Pacific Gyre, also known as the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. Expanding his knowledge, networks and generating a portfolio of documentary materials, Tim used this experience as a catalyst to educate the broader Australian community on the wider implications of plastic pollution on the planet.

Tim has invested countless volunteer hours furthering the plastic pollution cause. He has travelled across Australia to educate school and tertiary students and the wider community about plastic pollution; advised the NSW government on policy decisions relating to plastic pollution; and worked with community groups, environmental organisations and recreational groups to progress solutions to reducing marine debris.


Alumni Award for Regional Leadership

The Alumni Award for Regional Leadership recognises an outstanding graduate who has made significant contributions as a leader in regional business, commerce, industry or public service.


Judi Geggie

Mrs Judi Geggie

Master of Educational Studies 1982

As Director of the University's Family Action Centre, Judi has brought in millions of dollars in research income.

In her 12 years as Director of the University of Newcastle's Family Action Centre (FAC), Mrs Judi Geggie advocated strongly for community-engaged research to inform policy and practice in family services and community development. She brought millions of dollars in research income to the FAC for research into family strengths; men, boys and fatherhood; and community development.

The discipline of family studies is now part of the University's academic program, building on the practice, wisdom and research findings of the FAC. Newcastle is the Australian university to focus curriculum in this area.

Prior to her involvement with the FAC, Judi worked on the Playgym Program for Parents and their Pre-schoolers and co-developed the curriculum for the Australian Gymnastics Association program now known as KinderGym.

A key interest for Judi for many years was the safety of children from preventable injury. This led to her tenure as Chair of the Regional Kidsafe Committee for 16 years and membership of the NSW Kidsafe Committee.


Ralph Gourlay

Dr Ralph Gourlay

Bachelor of Medicine 1986

Ralph is a general and oncological surgeon specialising in breast cancer and melanoma.

Dr Ralph Gourlay is a general and oncological surgeon specialising in breast cancer and melanoma, and a Conjoint Lecturer in the School of Medicine and Public Health at the University of Newcastle.

Ralph works extensively across Newcastle and the Hunter region and is a member of various medical associations and institutions including the Australian and New Zealand Gastric and Oesophageal Surgery Association, Breast Surgeons ANZ, Melanoma Network, Hunter Surgical Society, Hunter Postgraduate Medical Institute, General Surgery Australia, Royal Australasian College of Surgeons (Breast Section and Upper GI Section), and the Australian Medical Association. He volunteered in West Timor as part of the Overseas Specialist Surgical Association of Australia's visit in 2011.

Ralph is committed to improving community wellbeing. He has worked with Project Futures, an organisation working to eradicate sex trafficking worldwide and personally raised several thousand dollars by participating in a charity bike ride. He is also involved with ongoing fundraising projects for Watoto Childcare Ministries, which build homes for orphans in Uganda.


Patricia Forsythe

Hon. Patricia Forsythe

Bachelor of Arts 1973

Patricia spent 10 years on the NSW Opposition frontbench in a variety of shadow portfolios including Community Services and Education and Training.

The Honourable Patricia Forsythe was a member of NSW Parliament from 1991-2006. She spent 10 years on the Opposition frontbench in a variety of shadow portfolios including Community Services and Education and Training.

The highly sought-after speaker and panellist started her career as a high school teacher before moving into politics.

Since late 2006, as Executive Director of the Sydney Business Chamber, Patricia has worked to enhance Sydney's competitiveness as a global city. Through her advocacy the Chamber has become the leading voice of business in Sydney.

Patricia represents the Chamber on a wide cross-section of key government committees and boards, particularly those focused on lifting Sydney's positioning in transport, planning, tourism, and major events. She is also an active member of boards in the government and not-for-profit sectors, lending her time to Destination NSW, the Council of Macquarie University, the Hunter Development Corporation, the Sydney Children's Hospital Network Board, Business Events Sydney and Cricket NSW. Patricia is a former member of the Hunter Medical Research Institute Board and the Anglican Board of Mission.


Don Magin

Mr Don Magin

Graduate Diploma in Management 1995, Bachelor of Mathematics 1975

Don's appointment in 1986 as IT Manager at the Greater Building Society began a 27-year history with the organisation.

Mr Don Magin's appointment in 1986 as IT Manager at the Greater Building Society began a 27-year history with the organisation. Don was made the Greater's CEO in 2008 and since then has led it to maintain profitability and success throughout the global financial crisis; completed a merger with Armidale Building Society; and launched an advertising campaign featuring comedian Jerry Seinfeld, which lifted the Greater's profile and generated a significant increase in customers.

Don has strong links with his industry, as Chairman and Director of the Customer Owned Banking Association, and a Director of Australian Settlements Ltd.

Don is committed to improving the welfare of those 'doing it tough' and is Director of the Heal for Life Foundation, a national charity supporting survivors of childhood abuse and trauma; and Zone Chair for the Salvation Army Red Shield Appeal. Past community associations include membership of the Alumni Executive Committee for the University of Newcastle; Chairman of Wesley Mission (Newcastle) Advisory Board; and Secretary of the Hunter Prostate Survival Alliance.


Alumni Award for National Leadership

The Alumni Award for National Leadership recognises an outstanding graduate who has made significant contributions in national business, commerce, industry or public service.


Robert Henderson

Mr Robert Henderson

Bachelor of Commerce 1975

Robert's current role is Chief Economist, Markets at NAB where his key responsibilities are to advise NAB's dealing floors and customers on the outlook for the economy and markets.

Mr Robert Henderson's current role is Chief Economist, Markets at National Australia bank (NAB) where his key responsibilities are to advise NAB's dealing floors and customers on the outlook for the economy and markets.  He moved to NAB in 2001 following at 10-year period as Director and Chief Economist for Dresdner Kleinwort Benson, an investment bank.

Robert's impressive 37-year career as a professional economist spans both the public and private sectors. In 1989-90 Robert was Branch Head - Economic Assessments in the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet (PMC), leading a team of 25 analysts providing policy advice and briefing for then Prime Minister Bob Hawke.

Prior to his PMC role Robert worked as Head of Industries Branch in the Department of Finance where he managed the work of 35 analysts on industry budgeting issues and oversaw a budget of $538 million.

After earlier serving as Chairman of the Australian Business Economists Association, in 2009 Robert was made an Honorary Life Member of the Association for his contribution to the economics profession.


Idris Abas

Hon. Dato Paduka Ar. H. Idris Abas

Bachelor of Architecture (Honours) 1980

Idris is a successful entrepreneur impacting the advancement of architecture, IT and communications in Brunei.

The Honourable Dato Paduka Ar. H. Idris Abas is a successful entrepreneur impacting the advancement of architecture, IT and communications in Brunei.

After completing his architecture degree, Idris returned to Brunei as Head of the Architects section at the Public Works Department, before establishing his architecture firm, Arkitek Idris. It has since won several architectural project competitions and was a finalist in the 1996 Royal Australian Institute of Architects (RAIA) International Architectural Awards and the 2001 Aga Khan Award for Architecture.

Idris is in great demand across Brunei for his expertise and holds numerous official positions with industry-affiliated bodies and community groups. He is a Fellow of the RAIA and a Chartered Member of Royal Institute of British Architects.

Idris was named Asia Pacific Entrepreneur of the Year in 2008 and won Brunei's Small, Medium Entrepreneur National Award in 2012. He was appointed a Member of the Brunei Legislative Council in 2004 and was bestowed the title of the Most Honourable Order of the Crown of Brunei (2nd Class) in 2006.


Mike McCluskey

Dr Michael McCluskey

Doctor of Philosophy (Communication and Media Arts) 2010

Michael is an independent international media and broadcast consultant focusing on media impact and responsibility, international broadcasting, broadcast journalism and radio.

Dr Michael McCluskey is an independent international media and broadcast consultant focusing on media impact and responsibility, international broadcasting, broadcast journalism and radio. He began his career with the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) as a Regional Rural Reporter in 1982 and spent 30 years with the broadcaster, completing his time as CEO of Radio Australia and Head of Corporate Social Responsibility.

As CEO Radio Australia, Michael led transformational change that greatly improved the way the ABC connected with international audiences and how it presented international content to domestic Australian radio audiences. This included new multilingual web, social media and mobile digital interactive content.

In 2007, Michael and his team at radio station 1233 ABC Newcastle won a Walkley Award for Best Use of the Medium and a NSW Government Service Medal for their coverage of the June long weekend storms.

Michael has served on numerous boards and committees related to broadcasting nationally and internationally, and to the arts, education and disability sectors, particularly in the Hunter region.


Ben Waters

Mr Benjamin Waters

Graduate Diploma in Computer Science 1997

Ben is Director of GE's ecomagination initiative for Australia and NZ, a sustainable business strategy under which GE has invested $10 billion globally in clean technology research and development.

Mr Ben Waters is Director of GE's ecomagination initiative for Australia and New Zealand, a sustainable business strategy under which GE has invested $10 billion globally in clean technology research and development. Ben also leads GE's five-year, $20 million strategic technology alliance with Australia's CSIRO.

Following 11 years with the Royal Australian Air Force as an engineering officer, Ben joined GE in 1997 as a field service engineer, later becoming Sales Director, Australia for GE Aviation. He became GE's Commercial Director for Australia and New Zealand in 2008, leading local partnerships, major customer engagement and cross-business projects.

Ben was named Executive Leader of the Year in the 2011 Climate Alliance Business Leadership Awards, for outstanding achievements in climate response within the business community. He is Chairman of Sustainable Business Australia Limited, and a member of the Strategic Council of The Climate Institute, the CSIRO Manufacturing Sector Advisory Council, and the Academic Advisory Panel of Bond University's Institute of Sustainable Development and Architecture.


David Li

Dr David Zhidong Li

Doctor of Business Administration 2005, Master of Business Administration 1999

David has developed and implemented groundbreaking business strategies in the global business and finance sectors.

Dr Li Zhidong (David) was the first person to be awarded a Doctorate of Business Administration from the University of Newcastle. Throughout his 18-year career, David has developed and implemented groundbreaking business strategies in the global business and finance sectors, yielding significant corporate development and financial outcomes.

As the Executive Director and Assistant President of Vanion Group, a leading Chinese property and new energy investment group, David and his team are currently building an environmental friendly yacht harbour in Ningbo, on China's east coast.

David's previous roles include CEO of China Organic Agriculture, Vice President of Pilot Investment Holdings and President of Heter Electronics Group – a leading lithium green battery manufacturer in China.

In January 2011, as Chairman of Corun Group Investment and Risk Management Committee – a new energy group in China – David led his team to acquire a Japanese-based nickel-hydride battery plant that produces electric vehicle batteries for Toyota, Nissan and Honda. The acquisition almost tripled the market cap of Corun New Energy.


Alumni Award for International Leadership

The Alumni Award for International Leadership recognises an outstanding graduate who has made significant contributions as a leader in international business, commerce, industry or public service.


Murray Height

Dr Murray Height

Bachelor of Engineering/Bachelor of Mathematics 1998

Murray co-founded HeiQ Materials in 2005, which now employs 25 people across three continents and is recognised internationally for innovative technologies in the global textile and clothing sector.

After achieving outstanding academic results in his undergraduate studies – including first class honours and the University Medal – Dr Murray Height accepted a Fulbright Scholarship in 1999 to pursue graduate studies at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), USA. His 2003 PhD thesis work on a novel manufacturing process for high value carbon materials has subsequently been commercialised by an MIT spin-off company in the USA, and Murray has been granted four patents from his work.

In 2004, Murray moved to Switzerland to take up a postdoctoral research position at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology. In 2005, he co-founded spin-off company HeiQ Materials that employs 25 people across three continents and is recognised internationally for innovative technologies in the global textile and clothing sector.

HeiQ has received numerous awards for entrepreneurship and innovation and honours to Murray's name include the Swiss Technology Award 2010, the W.A. de Vigier Foundation entrepreneurship prize 2006, the Swiss Venture Leaders Award 2006, and the MIT Martin Fellow for sustainable development 2001-02.


Waybe Ible

Dr Wayne Ible

Doctor of Philosophy (Education) 2007

Wayne is currently leading GEMS Education Solutions across SE Asia in the role of Regional Director/Chief Academic Officer, based in Singapore.

Dr Wayne Ible's 35-year education career began as a NSW science teacher in 1978. Wayne is currently leading GEMS Education Solutions across SE Asia in the role of Regional Director/Chief Academic Officer, based in Singapore. His achievements in this role include assisting the Asia Development Bank in Manila to identify innovative Public-Private Partnerships (PPPs) for education and find solutions for capacity issues in the Philippines education sector, opening new international schools in China and Singapore, and reviewing Myanmar's education system and developing decentralisation reform proposals for government on behalf of UNESCO.

Prior to holding this position, Wayne was Director of PPPs with GEMS in Abu Dhabi, where he led a company of 160 international education consultants to deliver a PPP contract with Abu Dhabi Education Council to improve public schools.

Wayne has also worked as a School Principal in Papua New Guinea and NSW, and spent four years as School Education Director/Superintendent for the Hunter and Central Coast regions of the NSW Department of Education and Training.


William Lilley

Dr William Lilley

Doctor of Philosophy 2008, Bachelor of Science (Honours) 1997, Bachelor of Science 1995

William has enjoyed a rapid rise to a leadership role with the world's foremost hydrocarbon supplier, Saudi Aramco.

Dr William Lilley has enjoyed a rapid rise to a leadership role with the world's foremost hydrocarbon supplier, Saudi Aramco, since accepting the position of Renewable and Distributed Energy Developer with the company in 2011. After just three months William was promoted to Energy Policy and Modelling Specialist. He soon became Head of the Policy Analysis division and is now Head of the Energy to Kingdom Implementation division in the Kingdom Energy and Economic Analysis Department.

In 2007, while working in Newcastle for Australia's national science agency the CSIRO, he developed its multi-million dollar 'Intelligent Grid' research program, which investigated the value of distributed energy for Australia.

On secondment to the Department of Climate Change and Energy Efficiency, William was a Principal Advisor on the 'Smart Grid Smart City' initiative before returning to Newcastle as Program Leader of the Future Grid project, which focused on nationally significant savings from optimal energy network design. His groundbreaking work in distributed energy and smart grid led to his job offer from Saudi Aramco.


David Okello

Dr David Okello

Master of Medical Science (Clinical Epidemiology) 1994

David is a leading health specialist and diplomat in the World Health Organisation (WHO) working across Africa.

Dr David Okello is a leading health specialist and diplomat in the World Health Organisation (WHO) working across Africa. The Uganda national is currently serving as Head of Mission and Representative of WHO to Zimbabwe, acting as a diplomatic liaison and providing policy advice and technical support to health programs.

During a 13-year career with WHO, David has served as the representative in Nigeria, Kenya and Swaziland; the Regional Advisor on Health Research and Promotion; and oversaw the WHO country office in South Africa during 2006.

In 2010-11 David was Director of WHO Cluster on AIDS, TB and Malaria in the African region, supervising WHO's work in contributing to the reduction of burden due to these diseases.

Earlier in his career, David worked as a medical officer and an academic in the Faculty of medicine at Makerere University, Uganda.

David is widely published in journals, books and research reports, and is sought after to share his knowledge through international consultancy and national Board appointments across Africa.


Mark Vassella

Mr Mark Vassella

Bachelor of Commerce 1985

Mark is CEO of BlueScope Steel Australia and NZ, overseeing businesses with revenues of approx AUD$5.5 billion at more than 100 sites with over 7,500 employees.

Mr Mark Vassella is CEO of BlueScope Steel Australia and New Zealand, overseeing businesses with revenues of approximately AUD $5.5 billion at more than 100 sites with over 7,500 employees.

Mark began his career as a commerce trainee in finance at BHP Steelworks in Newcastle. He worked his way from accountant to General Manager at Palmer Tube Mills before relocating to the UK as General Manager Europe for ANI Structural Steel Products Group. Following the takeover of ANI by Smorgon Steel Group Mark spent almost seven years as CEO of Smorgon Steel Distribution, which was later acquired by BlueScope Steel.

During his career Mark has worked and lived in the UK and USA, and has managed  joint ventures in countries including the USA, India and Saudi Arabia, and completed an MBA and other postgraduate qualifications in Australia and Switzerland.

Mark sits on the Board of FamilyLife, an organisation that assists at-risk youth and families. He has also worked as Chairman of the Australian Steel Institute.


Newton-John Award

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


Vanessa Bates

Ms Vanessa Bates

Bachelor of Arts 1990

Vanessa is an award-winning theatre, television, film and radio writer, and published a non-fiction narrative of her experience with assisted fertility, Legs Up Laughing in 2007.

Ms Vanessa Bates is an award-winning theatre, television, film and radio writer, and has published a non-fiction narrative of her experience with assisted fertility, Legs Up & Laughing, in 2007.

Vanessa began her career writing for University of Newcastle revues and co-editing the student campus newspaper Opus in 1988. After graduation, Vanessa worked as a Writer in Residence and actor with theatre company Freewheels.

Critics have described Vanessa as one of Australia's most original contemporary playwrights. Noted for her comedic sense, Vanessa's writing is also heralded for its compassion, reflected in her scripts for East West 101, a critically-acclaimed SBS drama series that examines contemporary Muslim Australia and multicultural issues.

Vanessa has won multiple accolades including two Newcastle Drama Awards (CONDA), for her plays Here is the Beehive (1994) and Match (2007); an Australian Writers Guild award (AWGIE) for Checklist For An Armed Robber (2005); and the 2012 inaugural Nick Enright Prize and NSW Premier's Literary Award for Drama, for her play Porn.Cake.


Karin Catt

Ms Karin Catt

Bachelor of Arts 1991

Karin has achieved international success as a fashion and portrait photographer, highly sought after by global celebrities and published across the world.

Ms Karin Catt has achieved international success as a fashion and portrait photographer, is highly sought after by global celebrities and published across the world. Russell Crowe, Bill Clinton, Eminem, Sting, Nicole Kidman, the Dalai Lama and Jack Nicholson are just some of Karin's subjects.

Karin is the youngest photographer to hold a solo exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery in Canberra. Famous, in 2006, included 99 photographs of statesmen, sporting heroes, musicians, and celebrities. The exhibition's curator Simon Elliot said Karin would "go down in history as one of the greatest photographers of our times".

Named in the same class of photographer as Cecil Beaton, Helmut Newton and Richard Avedon, Karin's portfolio includes letters of recommendation from leading industrial designer Marc Newson, Vice-President of Apple Jonathon Ive and Walt Disney Studios.

In 2001 Karin won the Magazine Publishers of Australia Award for Best Use of Photography/Photographic Feature and this year her work was featured in the First Ladies exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery in Canberra.


Anton Monsted

Mr Anton Monsted

Bachelor of Arts (Honours) 1995, Bachelor of Arts 1994

Anton recently left his post as general manager at Bazmark (Baz Luhrmann's music company), to be Senior Vice President of Music at Twentieth Century Fox.

After graduating at 21, Mr Anton Monstead began work as an office assistant with Baz Luhrmann's Bazmark production company. The job soon evolved into a research role for Luhrmann's adaptation of William Shakespeare's Romeo + Juliet (1996). Anton went on to co-found Luhrmann's music company, Bazmark Music, and served as Music Supervisor and Executive Music Producer on Luhrmann's film Moulin Rouge! (2001).

From 2002-07, Anton worked as a freelance producer and music consultant on films, television, and live events including the Sydney Harbour Bridge 75th birthday (2007); and as a producer of the Come Walkabout global advertising campaign for Tourism Australia (2008).

Anton was Co-Producer and Executive Music Supervisor for Luhrmann's latest movie The Great Gatsby (2013), and Executive Music Supervisor for the film and soundtrack for Australia (2008), which earned him a Satellite Award nomination for Best Original Song for By the Boab Tree.

Anton recently left his post as Bazmark's general manager to be Senior Vice President of Music at Twentieth Century Fox.


Annabelle Sandes

Ms Annabelle Sandes

Graduate Diploma in Arts 1995

Annabelle is a photojournalist and partner in Kimberley Media, a media studio based in Broome, West Australia.

Annabelle Sandes is a photojournalist and partner in Kimberley Media, a media studio based in Broome specialising in assignment and stock photography and documentary films, focusing on the Kimberley's natural environment, tourism, social history and events.

Annabelle also runs a whale watching business that hosts guided research trips along the Kimberley coast. She has spent the last seven years recording whale behaviour and developed a comprehensive photographic and film record of marine life along the coast, which has been used by government departments and research institutes.

A passionate campaigner for the Kimberley's whales, Annabelle has lobbied heavily for marine parks off the coast, consulting with both government bodies and non-government organisations in determining boundaries for sanctuary zones and marine parks.

Annabelle is committed to educating the community in the importance of the Kimberley's humpback whales and environmental issues affecting their survival, and served as co-organiser of the Kimberley Whale Festival in 2009 and 2010.


The Alumni Medal

The Alumni Medal was instituted in 1987 and recognises an outstanding record of professional excellence in leadership, knowledge and professional practice.


Ken Eltis

Emeritus Professor Kenneth Eltis AM

Honorary Degree – Doctor of Education 2004, Diploma in Education 1960, Bachelor of Arts 1959

Kenneth's leadership has driven change in NSW and Australian teaching curriculum and reformed the HSC in NSW.

Emeritus Professor Kenneth Eltis trained as a French and German teacher and began his career teaching, before co-establishing and later directing the Teacher Education Program at Macquarie University.

Kenneth is a respected researcher with a special interest in curriculum. His leadership in the field has driven change in NSW and Australian teaching curricula and reformed the Higher School Certificate in NSW.

In 1995 Kenneth prepared a major report, Focusing on Learning, for the NSW Government, examining curriculum and reporting practices from Kindergarten to Year 10. He was a member of the Taskforce on Implementation for the Ramsey Review of Teacher Education in NSW in 2001, and in 2003, completed a review of reporting and assessment practices in Time to Teach, Time to Learn. Its recommendations are now being implemented in NSW schools.

Kenneth completed his career in Australia's higher education sector as Senior Deputy Vice-Chancellor at the University of Sydney. His many notable honours include the 1997 Sir Harold Wyndham Medal, presented by the Australian College of Educators, for services to education; and Honorary Doctorates of Education from the University of Newcastle in 2004 and the University of Sydney in 2011. In 2010 Kenneth was made a Member of the Order of Australia.


Maralyn Fourer

Professor Maralyn Foureur

Doctor of Philosophy (Medicine) 1998, Graduate Diploma in Clinical Epidemiology 1990

Maralyn has a national and international reputation for her research into the development and implementation of innovative models of midwifery care, and midwifery practice and education.

Professor Maralyn Foureur is a Professor of Midwifery at the University of Technology, Sydney with a national and international reputation for her research into the development and implementation of innovative models of midwifery care, and midwifery practice and education.

Her research focuses on the effectiveness of models of care that improve maternity services and childbirth outcomes for women and babies. She is particularly interested in how the birth unit design impacts women and staff stress, communication, and ultimately birth outcomes.

From 2007-11, Maralyn was Professor of Midwifery for the Central Coast and Northern Sydney Local Health Networks, leading a number of projects including establishing a model of care for obese pregnant women. She co-leads the consortium called Birth After Caesarean Interventions, which is undertaking research to promote normal birth and increase the rate of vaginal birth after caesarean section.

A highly-regarded researcher in her field, Maralyn has been awarded around $3 million in nationally competitive research grants from the Australian Research Council and National Health and Medical Research Council.

Maralyn is a Fellow of the Australian College of Midwives and has a well-established publication track record with a co-edited book and book chapters, and more than 80 articles appearing in peer reviewed journals.


Mohamed Khadra

Professor Mohamed Khadra

Bachelor of Medicine 1987

Mohamed has established a highly successful career as a urological surgeon, author, researcher and academic leader in Australia and overseas.

Professor Mohamed Khadra has established a highly successful career as a urological surgeon, author, researcher and academic leader in Australia and overseas.

A Professor and Head of Surgery at the University of Sydney and consultant urologist at the Nepean Hospital, his roles have included Inaugural Chair of Surgery at the Australian National University; Pro Vice-Chancellor for Health, Design and Science at the University of Canberra; and Professor of Surgery and Head of the School of Rural Health at the University of NSW.

Mohamed has won several research prizes for his work in the fields of urology, including the 1995 Royal Australasian College of Surgeons Noel Newton Medal; the 1993 Alban Gee Prize in urology from the Urological Society of Australasia and New Zealand; and the 1996 inaugural Bruce Pearson Fellowship from the Australasian Urological Foundation.

Passionate about access to education, Mohamed co-founded the accredited higher education provider The Institute of Technology Australia in 2003, to deliver affordable education for students in developing countries.

Mohamed is also a talented writer and has authored several books on the patient journey and compassion, and co-authored the play At any cost? with playwright David Williamson, focusing on Australia's health care system and the right to refuse treatment.


Ross Watts

Emeritus Professor Ross Watts

Bachelor of Commerce 1966

In 1978, Ross co-founded the Journal of Accounting & Economics with Jerry Zimmerman. The journal frequently ranks number one worldwide in the citation counts for accounting journals.

Emeritus Professor Ross Watts is an esteemed academic who holds concurrent positions at the prestigious Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He is the Erwin H. Schell Professor Emeritus of Management and Professor Emeritus of Accounting and has enjoyed a rich international academic career working across Australia, New Zealand and the USA.

In 1978, Ross co-founded the Journal of Accounting & Economics with Jerry Zimmerman. The journal frequently ranks number one worldwide in the citation counts for accounting journals.

Ross's research focuses on the relationship between accounting's roles in auditing, contracting, firm governance, financing, and financial reporting. He is a source in global academic and policy circles for predictions of likely effects of proposed financial reporting standards.

Revered worldwide for his body of work, Ross has influenced the way many accounting, economics, finance, and legal academics think about accounting and its relation to economics, finance and law. His extensive list of honours and recognitions includes the inaugural Lifetime Achievement Award of the Financial Accounting Branch of the American Accounting Association in 2013.

Ross lends his considerable expertise and knowledge to advisory boards and committees; he supervises PhD students; and has presented his research to conferences, public lectures, and universities across the globe.