We are proud to announce the recipients of the 2021 Alumni Excellence Awards.

Recognised for their exceptional achievements across a diverse range of industries and communities, we celebrate our outstanding alumni and their commitment to excellence in their chosen fields. Their accomplishments inspire our next generation of students and make a lasting impact around the world.

In the 46-year history of the Awards, the University of Newcastle has recognised 180 alumni achievers, and this year we are thrilled to share the remarkable stories of our 2021 recipients.

Video: The 2021 Alumni Excellence Awards Recipients

Introducing this year's Alumni Awards Artist

Alumna Jess Kellar has always loved creating art. As a creative but shy girl, Jess sometimes had a hard time verbalising her thoughts and so painting became a vehicle for expression, communication and storytelling.

In 2019, shortly after completing her Bachelor of Fine Art, Jess was diagnosed with autism. As diagnosis is traditionally based on the male expression of the condition, it’s not uncommon for women to be repeatedly misdiagnosed or not at all.

Her featured artwork in this year’s Alumni Excellence Awards, entitled ‘Even Though I am a Woman’ gives reference to being a woman with autism. The artwork is part of Jess's exhibition for her research honours project, Thinking In Pictures. It reflects her journey to understand the way her mind works and the liberation that resulted from her diagnosis.

‘Even Though I am a Woman’ is an inspired and abstract painting that speaks volumes and captures Jess's signature emotive and colourful style. Jess used oil on canvas with vibrant brushstrokes, layering colours and strokes as it dried; allowing the fluidity of her emotions to become part of the work.

We are proud to feature Jess as our alumni artist this year.

Alumni Awards artist Jess Kellar
View Last Year's Recipients 2020 Alumni Excellence Awards

The University of Newcastle acknowledges the traditional custodians of the lands within our footprint areas: Awabakal, Darkinjung, Biripai, Worimi, Wonnarua, and Eora Nations. We also pay respect to the wisdom of our Elders past and present.