Our alumni in the news

Our alumni are constantly featured in the media as well as in publications across Australia and around the globe. The Alumni Relations office recognises the world-class excellence of our alumni and shines a spotlight on their achievements.


Our alumni never cease to amaze us, so it was only fitting that seven were acknowledged in the 2014 Australia Day honours list.

Dr Peter Wakeford

Dr Peter Wakeford, a Clinical Supervisor with the UON Medical School from 1982 to1995, received the Order of Australia medal for service to medicine and to the community. A passionate advocate for health facilities in regional areas and a strong supporter of the University's medical students, Peter was a driving force behind the delivery and support of the University Department of Rural Health in Tamworth.

Phillip Ruthven

Regarded as one of the country's leading analysts and forecasters in job trends, business and investment movements, Mr Phillip Ruthven was honoured with a Member of the Order of Australia for significant service to business, commerce and the community. Phillip is a 1962 science graduate and the founder and Chairman of IBISWorld. IBISWorld was established in 1971 and is an international corporation providing online business information, forecasting and strategic services. 

Luke Marsden

Mr Luke Marsden, a member of the University's Curriculum Advisory Board for Podiatry, received the Order of Australia Medal for service to the field of podiatry. Currently the proprietor of Maroubra Podiatry, Luke also teaches at the University of Western Sydney. He is a board member of the Podiatry Council of NSW and a member of the Professional Currency Committee.

Gael Davies

Mrs Gael Davies, an inaugural member of the Newcastle Art Society, received the Order of Australia Medal for service to the arts and community. Gael has served as Society Secretary for three decades and has catalogued collections for the University. She was also manager and curator of the Von Bertouch Galleries from the 1970s until 2003.

Dr Barbara Woodward

Dr Barbara Woodward's career has spanned both the government and commercial sectors in global corporations. As a former Senior Executive and Managing Director, Barbara's strengths are in maximising the behavioural change of individuals and groups. She is also the founder and principal benefactor of the Birthday Wish Education Program for disadvantaged rural girls in China. Barbara, an education graduate, was honoured with a Member of the Order of Australia significant service to international relations through business and charitable organisations.

William Storer

Mr William Storer, an Arts Newcastle Teachers' College graduate, was acknowledged with a Member of the Order of Australia for significant service to the visual arts, particularly through the development of regional and community museums. Following a 30-year teaching career, William was the Army Museum of NSW registrar from 1991 until 2001 and then the national secretary of Museums Australia; the convener of the regional, remote and community museums program; and the collection manager of the Newcastle Maritime Museum.

Liesl Tesch

Gold medallist and Paralympic Games champion Ms Liesl Tesch has been awarded a Member of the Order of Australia for her significant service to sport as a gold medallist at the London 2012 Paralympic Games, and through the promotion and facilitation of sport for people for a disability. In addition to her sporting prowess, Liesl is a primary school teacher and holds a Bachelor of Science and a Graduate Diploma in Education from UON. She has represented Australia at the Paralympics in sailing and basketball, and is the co-founder of Sports Matter, a non-profit sporting organisation that uses sport to unite communities.

Congratulations to everyone on their outstanding achievements.


29.11.13

Gold Walkley awarded to UON graduate

Joanne McCarthy has won Australian journalism's most prestigious award, the Gold Walkley, for her coverage of child sex abuse in the Catholic Church.

The Newcastle Herald journalist's reporting last year on the sexual abuse of children, primarily by Catholic clergy in the Newcastle and Hunter regions, prompted a state enquiry and royal commission.

In her acceptance speech at the Walkley Award ceremony in Brisbane on November 28, Joanne thanked the victims for trusting her and her team.  

"I want to thank all of the people, the victims and the family, who have trusted us," she said speech.

"For people who have every reason in the world not to trust, they trusted us. I think over the years that's what got us to the point that we did and I'm proud of that because we didn't let them down."

The Herald team including Joanne, editor Chad Watson and reporters Ian Kirkwood and Jason Gordon won the Walkley award for coverage of community and regional affairs for the 'Shine the Light' series on child sex abuse.

2013 has been a successful year for Joanne who was named Melbourne Press Club's Graham Perkin Australian Journalist of the Year, the Gold Kennedy NSW Journalist of the Year and Prodi's Northern NSW Journalist of the Year. These awards all recognised her investigative work into the Catholic Church.

Joanne, who completed a Bachelor of Arts in 2003 and the Open Foundation Program in 1997, said her time at University was invaluable during her research.

"For the past seven years I have had to source documents, objectively assess information, conduct interviews, critically evaluate competing data, reach conclusions, write articles in which arguments are developed and deliver speeches to support those arguments, often against considerable criticism," she said.

"That work has relied on the skills I developed and tested at the University, after completing Open Foundation."

Listen to Joanne's interview with 1233 ABC Newcastle following her Gold Walkley award win. 


UoN Fine Art Student Wins National Tertiary Art Prize

Bachelor of Fine Art graduate and Faculty medallist Shan Turner-Carroll is the winner of the Doctor Harold Schenberg Art Prize.

Shan's work was selected to represent the University at the Hatched exhibition, which features 37 artists from 20 art schools across Australia. His work is currently showing at the Perth Institute of Contemporary Arts.

Shan was awarded the Jennie Thomas Travelling Art Scholarship in 2012 and will be travelling to Myanmar in June. He will be exhibiting his award-winning work and creating new images reflecting the experience of his ancestral homeland.

You can see Shan's work on our Callaghan campus. As part of the University's history and heritage project, Shan photographed the former Dean of Law Neil Rees. His portrait hangs in the Law School, located in the McMullin building.

Watch an interview with Shan.


Focus on our alumni in print

Our alumni are published in a vast range of texts in their fields of excellence. Alumni in Print shines a spotlight on our published alumni.

Graduate wins twice for first novel

Michael Sala is an award-winning author, an award winning teacher, and a graduate of the University of Newcastle.

The Last Thread, Michael's first novel, tracks a childhood spent between Holland and Australia. Michael develops a disjointed intimacy between the old world and Newcastle - an intimacy reflected in complex family relations that strain across the international and the suburban.

The Last Thread won the Pacific Region section of the Commonwealth Book Prize and the UTS Glenda Adams Award for New Writing. Michael has previously been shortlisted for the Vogel Australian Literary Award.

Michael continues to write, and teaches at the University of Newcastle. In 2012 he won the Vice-Chancellor's Award for Sessional Teaching Excellence.

Read more about Michael's prize win and watch his interview with ABC News.