2020 Alumni Excellence Awards

Last year, marked with the ever changing landscape of the global pandemic, the University of Newcastle celebrated the achievements of our world class Alumni Excellence Awards recipients through a small dinner hosted by the Vice-Chancellor and via the production of a showcase short film.

Professor Gail Garvey

Alumni Medal for Professional Excellence
Doctor of Philosophy 2015; Master of Education (Research) 2001; Bachelor of Education 1987
Senior Principal Research Fellow, Menzies School of Health Research

Professor Gail Garvey is a proud Kamilaroi woman from NSW, whose strong leadership led to the first National Roundtable identifying research priorities in cancer for Indigenous Australians and the establishment of the National Indigenous Cancer Network.

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Heath Johns

Newton-John Alumni Medal
Master of Marketing 2007; Master of Business Administration 2006
Managing Director, BMG Australia & New Zealand

Heath Johns was the first employee and named Managing Director of BMG Australia and New Zealand in early 2016. In 2020, he was named as one of the 'Power 50' in the Australian music industry.

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Shahni Wellington

Indigenous Alumni Medal
Bachelor of Communication 2014
Political Correspondent, NITV/SBS

Shahni Wellington is a proud Jerrinja woman of the Wandi Wandian people. She is an active member of the Darkinjung community on the Central Coast and has done outstanding work in her field of journalism, as the political correspondent and now senior presenter and journalist for National Indigenous Television (NITV).

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Dr Kira Mileham

International Leadership Award
Doctor of Philosophy (Physics) 2011; Bachelor of Arts (Communication Studies) 2006; Bachelor of Science 2006
Global Strategic Partnership Director, IUCN Species Survival Commission

In overseeing Strategic Partnerships for the Species Survival Commission of the International Union for Conservation of Nature, Dr Kira Mileham is ‘match-maker’ for the world’s leading species conservationists.

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Kevin Young

National Leadership Award
Master of Business Administration 1991; Bachelor of Engineering 1979
Non-Executive Director - Former Managing Director of Sydney Water 

Kevin Young served as Managing Director of Sydney Water for eight years, leading through significant change as they adopted a new vision, strategy, and structure, and took the organisation’s reputation to an all-time high.

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Dr Jaelea Skehan OAM

Regional Leadership Award
Doctor of Philosophy 2019; Bachelor of Arts (Psychology) 1998
Special Advisor, National Suicide Prevention Taskforce

Jaelea Skehan is an internationally respected leader in the prevention of mental illness and suicide and works tirelessly to develop and deliver best practice mental health and suicide prevention programs, policy, and research across Australia.

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Dr Kcasey McLoughlin

Beryl Nashar Young Researcher Award
Doctor of Philosophy (Politics) 2016; Bachelor of Laws / Diploma in Legal Practice 2009 (Honours); Bachelor of Arts (Honours) 2007
Senior Lecturer, Newcastle Law School

Kcasey McLoughlin is a Senior Lecturer in Law at Newcastle Law School. Her research, broadly defined, concerns the extent to which law can be used as a tool for equality.

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Luke Hawthorne

Young Alumni Award
Bachelor of Laws / Diploma in Legal Practice (Honours) 2012; Bachelor of Arts (Honours) 2010
Senior Associate, King and Wood Mallesons (KWM); Non-executive Director, Shaun Parker and Company

Luke Hawthorne is an award-winning lawyer in a leading international law firm, a campaigner for Indigenous Australian artists and their cultural rights, and a leader in LGBTQIA+ advocacy.

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Friends of the University

Convocation Medal for Exceptional Contribution

For nearly forty years, the Friends have fostered a connection between the University and the wider community and have supported the Student Scholarships and Prizes programme to the value of $1M.

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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.