The University of Newcastle, Australia

2019 Alumni Excellence Awards

The University of Newcastle celebrated the achievements of world-class alumni at the 2019 Alumni Excellence Awards ‘Boundless’ gala event in September. More than 350 alumni and friends returned to the Great Hall at Callaghan campus to celebrate and recognise our 25 Alumni Award recipients and finalists.

Dr Ruth Lopert

Alumni Medal for Professional Excellence recipient
M Medical Science (Clinical Epidemiology) 2001; B Medicine 1995
Consultant, LWC Health

Dr Ruth Lopert is a public health physician and independent consultant in global health, pharmaceutical policy and health technology assessment.

Nick Mitzevich

Newton-John Award recipient
Grad Dip Education 1995; Grad Dip Art 1993; B Visual Arts 1992
Director, National Gallery of Australia

As Australia's leading arts curator, Nick Mitzevich has made major contributions to Australia’s cultural life.

Steven McArthur

Alumni Medal for Professional Excellence achiever
B Science 1993
Scientific Director, Genea

As Scientific Director at Genea, Steven McArthur has made a major impact in the world of fertility and his innovations have contributed to the doubling of successful IVF procedures since the 1990s.

Liesl Tesch AM

Alumni Medal for Professional Excellence achiever
Grad Dip Education 1996; B Science 1991
Member for Gosford, NSW Legislative Assembly

Liesl Tesh AM is a Member of Parliament, Paralympian and Australian sporting ambassador.

Gavin Langley

Newton-John Award achiever
B Architecture 1992; B Architecture Design 1988
Senior Associate at Gehry Partners

Gavin Langley is a seasoned architect who has worked across the world, bringing the elements of design and sustainability to everything he has accomplished in the past 30 years.

Rosemarie Milsom

Newton-John Award achiever
Grad Dip Education 1995; B Arts 1994
Director, Newcastle Writer's Festival

In 2012, Rosemarie Milsom, who was then working as a full-time journalist at the Newcastle Herald and juggling two small children, created and launched the inaugural Newcastle Writers Festival.

Dr James Charles

Indigenous Alumni Award achiever
PhD 2017
Associate Professor, Deakin University

As a proud Kaurna man from the Adelaide Plains, Dr James Charles is leading the way in the world of podiatry and Indigenous health.

Dr Mark Wenitong

Indigenous Alumni Award achiever
B Medicine 1994
Public Health Medical Advisor, Apunipima Cape York Health Council

As one of the first Indigenous medicine graduates in Australia in 1994, Dr Mark Wenitong completed his medical studies as a mature-age student and proceeded to join World Vision and work in Central Australia where he encountered some of the harshest health challenges.

Luke Pearson

Indigenous Alumni Award achiever
B Teaching 2004 / B Arts 2004
Director of IndigenousX

Luke Pearson is a Gamilaroi man, teacher, public speaker, and trainer and Founder of @IndigenousX, which uses the alternative media space and unique characteristics of the Internet to renegotiate the representation of Indigenous voices.

Dr Serene Yoong

Beryl Nashar Young Researcher Award achiever
PhD Behavioural Science 2014; B Nutrition & Dietetics 2009
ARC DECRA Fellow, University of Newcastle

Dr Serene Yoong is an award winning scientist who has developed an outstanding research track record and established a national and international reputation as an expert implementation scientist in the field of non-communicable disease prevention.

Dr Georgina Ramsay

Beryl Nashar Young Researcher Award achiever
PhD Sociology & Anthropology 2016; B Science Hons 2011
Assistant Professor, University of Delaware

Dr Georgina Ramsay’s work and research has had significant global impact and has emerged as a leading critical voice regarding current issues of displacement, humanitarianism, and the global refugee regime.

Dr Emma Beckett

Beryl Nashar Young Researcher Award achiever
PhD Food Science 2016; M Science Mgt 2011; Grad Dip Clinical Epidemiology 2010; B Biomedical Science Hons 2007
Nutritionist Researcher, University of Newcastle

Dr Emma Beckett is a National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) Early Career Fellow at The University of Newcastle. Her research area is in the field of molecular nutrition focusing on gene-nutrient-environment interactions

Dr Isiye Ndombi

International Leadership Award achiever
MBA 2009
Consultant, the Resina Group

Dr Isiye Ndombi is an internationally recognised health development and social policy expert , a leader with over 25 years of international work in more than 20 countries.

Sherrill Whittington

International Leadership Award achiever
Dip Education 1970; B Arts 1969
International Consultant

Sherrill Whittington is an expert with more than 25 years of international experience in women’s leadership and governance, particularly in post-conflict and developing environments.

Tandin Wangmo

National Leadership Award achiever
M Educational Studies 2010; Grad Cert Educational Studies 2010
CEO / Executive Director, RENEW

Tandin Wangmo is CEO of the Bhutanese non-profit RENEW - Respect, Educate, Nurture, Empower Women - which works with families affected by domestic and gender-based violence (DV/GBV) and is the only Civil Society of its kind in Bhutan.

Noni Purnomo

National Leadership Award achiever
B Engineering 1995
CEO, Blue Bird Group

Noni Sri Ayati Purnomo is a highly recognised business leader and philanthropist in Indonesia. She is the President and CEO of the family-owned Blue Bird Group Holding, the largest taxi company in Indonesia.

Dr Eileen Doyle

National Leadership Award achiever
PhD Mathematics 1986; M Mathematics 1980; B Mathematics 1977
Company Director, Board Member, various

With an exceptional career spanning more than three decades, Dr Eileen Doyle has led large corporations in executive roles, several Non-Executive Director roles and as Chairman.

Dr Kirsten Molloy

Regional Leadership Award achiever
PhD Chemistry 1998; B Science Hons 1993
CEO, HVCCC

As CEO of the Hunter Valley Coal Chain Coordinator (HVCCC), Kirsten Molloy leads the coordination of a globally-significant supply chain for a $23 billion industry.

Graeme Irwin

Regional Leadership Award achievers
Dip Teaching 1982
Principal, St Philip Christian College

Graeme Irwin has been a pioneer, developer and a leader in quality and affordable education in the Hunter region for over thirty years

Philip Sketchley OAM

Exceptional Community Service Award achiever
B Education 1988
Music Educator

Philip Sketchley OAM has been an integral part of the Hunter region’s music community with over 50 years of service as a teacher, pianist, fundraiser, conductor, accompanist, and musical director.

Lee Shearer APM

Exceptional Community Service Award achiever
UON Open Foundation Student
Managing Director, Lee Shearer & Associates

As an exceptional leader across sectors, Lee Shearer’s work has greatly impacted our region in her various roles, delivering strong tangible outcomes for communities.

Renée Bianchi

Exceptional Community Service Award achiever
B Law 2007 / Dip Legal Practice 2007; B Biomedical Science Hons 2004
Barrister, 13th Floor St James Hall Chambers

Renée Bianchi’s exemplary record of voluntary community service within and outside the legal profession has enhanced the reputation of the University through volunteering, mentorship and leadership for both the law profession and for the greater community.

Brendan Swansborough

Young Alumni Award achiever
B Business 2008; B Economics 2008
Group Account Director, Enigma

Growing up in rural NSW, Brendan Swansborough has honed his exceptional talents in advertising, surrounded by some of the best advertising talent in the world.

Jessie Porteus

Young Alumni Award achiever
B Law 2011 / Dip Legal Practice 2011; B Economics 2009
Founding Director, The Learned Crew

Jessie Porteus is an active young leader of the legal profession, and is dedicated to the development of our next generation of lawyers through mentoring and thought leadership.

Dr Bhavi Ravindran

Young Alumni Award achiever
B Medicine 2018; B Medical Science Hons 2017
Junior Medical Officer (Doctor)

Dr Vivak (Bhavi) Ravindran, is a Junior Doctor focused in the area of public health and infectious diseases. He has completed rotations in Chennai, India and an internship and consultancy with the World Health Organisation in Manila.

2019 Alumni Excellence Award recipients

2019 Alumni Award Recipients