The University of Newcastle, Australia

2016 Alumni Awards

We had an overwhelming response for our 2016 Alumni Awards and are delighted to announce the outstanding recipients for each of our Alumni Awards.

The Award recipients were recognised at our gala dinner on Friday 21 October 2016.

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

Award Recipients

Professor ER Meng Hwa

Alumni Medal for Professional Excellence
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.

Conjoint Associate Professor Douglas Absalom

Newton-John Award
PhD (Linguistics) 1977 Master of Arts 1971 Diploma in Education 1968 Bachelor of Arts 1967

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, which significantly contributed to the internationalisation of the University’s student population and overall multicultural transformation.

Dr Neelam Pradhananga

Exceptional Community Service Award
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.  Following this and based on her personal experience of learning Nepali, she founded Sabdamala Nepalese Language School which now has five branches in Sydney and was the first Nepali community language school in Australia.

Andrew Donaldson

Regional Leadership Award
Bachelor of Architecture 2005 Bachelor of Design (Architecture) 2001

Andrew Donaldson Architecture & Design (ADAD) was established just as Andrew completed the transformation of Sydney’s Museum of Contemporary Art in 2012.  At the pinnacle of his career and having achieved national and international industry recognition, Andrew’s entrepreneurial spirit kicked in as he launched ADAD, a cross-disciplinary architectural practice that specialises in bespoke residential construction and public art gallery design.

Dr Andrew Walker

National Leadership Award
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. Today, Aspen Medical is a highly successful international company employing more than 2,000 staff in Australia, the Pacific, West Africa, the Gulf region, UK and USA.

Dr Suzanne Hill

International Leadership Award
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. Based in Geneva and currently WHO’s Director of Essential Medicines and Health Products, Suzanne plays a vital part in the implementation of internationally significant legislation serving the public interest and its health needs.

Professor John Maynard

Indigenous Alumni Award
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. Credited with unearthing the links between early African-American and Aboriginal politics, John's comparative study on Native American and Aboriginal issues surrounding land, politics and children during the early 1900s has gained global attention.

Dr Andrew Gardner

Beryl Nashar Young Researcher Award
PhD (Neuropsychology) 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.  As part of his studies, he created a tool designed to assist club medical staff in recognising players who may have sustained a concussion. He has extended this research program overseas with colleagues in the United States and Wales.

Dr Vincent Candrawinata

Young Alumni Award
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 an extraction technology which allows for the natural phenolic compounds in horticultural produce to be used within an innovative nutraceutical product. These phenolic compounds are one of the most potent combinations of antioxidants known and are linked to a reduced risk of cardiovascular diseases, respiratory diseases and even cancer when consumed.