The University of Newcastle, Australia

Newton-John Alumni Medal

The Newton-John Alumni Medal recognises innovation and creativity of alumni who have achieved excellence in arts, creative sectors and culture.

The community has been inspired by past recipients working in film and television, leading animation studios and world class photography.

Nominees must comply with the following selection criteria

  • Hold a minimum undergraduate Bachelor degree from the University of Newcastle
  • Demonstrate innovation or creativity in any field with the emphasis on originality, longevity, cultural and/or social value to the community.

2020 marks the 45th anniversary of the Newton-John Alumni Award, the first alumni award given by the University of Newcastle. To celebrate, this award will be elevated to become a distinguished award within the Alumni Excellence Awards program, recognising the exceptionally high calibre of recipients, past and future. Recipients of the Newton-John Alumni Medal will now receive an alumni medal in recognition of their outstanding achievements.

Nominations for the 2021 Alumni Excellence Awards will open early next year. View our Nomination Guidelines and FAQs for more information on our nomination process.

Professor Newton John, one of UONs founding fathers.

Professor Brinley Newtown-John was a man of many parts. He was an intelligence officer with the Royal Airforce, which included being seconded to the Enigma project at Bletchley Park where they were able to break German codes giving the Allies advance notice of enemy plans.

In 1954, he and his young family, including daughter Olivia, emigrated to Australia where he took the role of Master of Ormond College at the University of Melbourne.

He joined the University of Newcastle in 1958 as an associate professor in German and head of the department of arts.

In 1968 he was appointed Deputy Vice-Chancellor and frequently acted as vice-chancellor in place of J. J. Auchmuty. This was an important time for our University, achieving independence and rapidly expanding throughout the following decade.

He was remembered by former students not only for the brilliance of his instruction but also for the sense that he took them seriously and treated them without condescension.

He had a special interest in student activities and welfare, establishing the first university choir, participating in productions by the Student Players, and encouraging student revues.