Inspiring graduates crowned
The University of Newcastle Alumni has announced that Cheong-Chua Koon Hean has won the 2010 Convocation Medal for professional excellence.
The award was one of eight presented to former graduates of the University from around the world in a special presentation at Newcastle City Hall on Wednesday night.
Mrs Cheong-Chua graduated from the University on Newcastle in 1981 with a Bachelor of Architecture (University Medal).
From April 2004 to August 2010 she was the CEO of Singapore’s Urban Redevelopment Authority, where she distinguished herself as a global leader in urban renewal, in charge of land use planning, the conservation of the built environment and the real estate market.
The Newton John Award is presented to a graduate displaying innovation or creativity and has been won this year by Yasser Hamed, a senior technical director for Walt Disney Feature Animation based in Los Angeles, USA.
Mr Hamed, 29, graduated from the University in 2002 with a Bachelor of Mechanical Engineering and has achieved international acclaim. He developed the animation software tools for use in numerous animation features, including the movie Happy Feet and Alice in Wonderland.
The inaugural Indigenous Alumni Award was presented to Dr Jacquelyne Hughes who is completing a PhD studying obesity and diabetes in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. Dr Hughes graduated from the University in 2000 with a Bachelor of Medicine.
Three Alumni Awards for Leadership were also announced in the categories of regional, national and international.
The International winner is Associate Professor Wang Shuguang, a world leader in policy advice and research into HIV/AIDS in China.
The National winner is Nick Mitzevich, Director of the Art Gallery of South Australia. In 2001 Nick was appointed Director of the Newcastle Region Art Gallery, one of the youngest to ever lead a major gallery in this capacity in Australia.
The regional winner is Dr Andrew Hedges, Medical Director of Hunter IVF. He graduated in 1987 with a Bachelor of Medicine and is recognised nationally and internationally as a leader in reproductive medicine and for research into sperm DNA damage.
The Alumni Award for Exceptional Community Service has been awarded to Bob Nelson, Founder of the University of Newcastle Science and Engineering Challenge, which now involves more than 20,000 students from 700 schools nationally.
Mr Nelson has also supervised the expansion of the Challenge into Singapore and England.
The Young Alumni Award, for a graduate aged 30 years or under, was presented to Sarah Kemp, Managing Director of Smart Future Consulting. Since graduating from the University with an MBA in 2009, she has been working with young professionals who specialise in creating a sustainable future. Sarah was the Hunter Business Chamber Young Achiever of the Year in 2008.
President of Alumni, Brian Kennaugh says each of the winners inspires others who may be completing their degrees or contemplating careers.
“Each winner has a story of professional excellence, innovation or creativity and each has contributed to society in a powerful way,” Mr Kennaugh said.
“The Alumni Awards remind us of the strong platform and quality of education provided by The University of Newcastle, whose graduates continue to lead and influence in their chosen fields.
“As a group of your peers and on behalf of the University and the region we serve, Alumni congratulates the winners in 2010.”