The University of Newcastle, Australia

UON shines the spotlight on exceptional graduates

Monday, 10 August 2015

What do a belly dance instructor, a maxillofacial surgeon and a young PR specialist leading an 80-person communications team have in common? They are among the finalists in the 2015 University of Newcastle (UON) Alumni Awards.

Alumni Awards finalists

In the University's 50th year, a record-number of high-calibre nominations were received and the University is proud to acknowledge the achievements of 30 graduates across the categories of professional excellence, cultural life, community service, leadership, Indigenous and young alumni.

Congratulations to the finalists in the following categories.

  • Alumni Medal for Professional Excellence: Emeritus Professor William Caelli AO; Professor Edwin Galea; Laureate Professor Kevin Galvin; Dr Anthony Joseph Lynham
  • Newton John Award: Linda Barcan; Jonathan Biggins; Dr Patricia Flanagan; Hal Kirkland
  • Alumni Award for International Leadership: Sein-Way Tan; Dr Andrew Walker; Sherrill Whittington
  • Alumni Award for National Leadership: Paul Broad; Neima Candy; David Hughes; Cheryl Kernot
  • Alumni Award for Regional Leadership: Stewart Dowrick; Kristen Keegan; Kirsten Molloy
  • Alumni Award for Exceptional Community Service: Colleen Potts OAM; Michael Slater; Dr William Tan
  • Indigenous Alumni Award: Conjoint Professor Sandra Eaves; Dr William Jonas AM; Associate Professor Peter O'Mara
  • Beryl Nashar Young Researcher Award: Dr Natalie Beveridge; Dr Melinda Hutchesson; Dr Luke Wolfenden
  • Young Alumni Award: Rhys Courtney; Matthew Gain; Olenka Motyka

Recipients will be announced at a gala event on Friday 23 October, which promises to be a highlight of the University's 50th anniversary celebrations. This year the gala event will move to a larger venue, the University's own Great Hall, and will be hosted by Australian actor, writer, radio presenter, comedian and proud UON graduate, John Doyle. Tickets to the event have sold out. 

Presented annually by UON's Alumni Advisory Committee, the Awards celebrate and showcase the outstanding quality and diversity of UON graduates.

"Each year the Alumni Advisory Committee is overwhelmed by the incredibly high standard of nominations and this year has set the bar even higher," President of Alumni, Belinda Smith said.

"The Awards are an opportunity to reflect on some of the extraordinary accomplishments by graduates, and the finalists are making impressive contributions to their industries and communities across the globe." 

For information about the Alumni Awards and to read more about the finalists visit

  • Niki Hennessy
  • Phone: 02 4985 4980

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