SOPHIA COLLEGE Wa lk in Wi sd om
SANCTA CELEBRATES 90 YEARS
CONTENTS 90 Year Celebrations Sr Mary Shanahan Fundraising Dinner Alumni Award
6 8 12
My First Semester
Alumni in the Spotlight
6 ON THE COVER Front: Sanctaâ€™s 90 year celebrations have spanned the world and brought alumni and friends together to mark the Collegeâ€™s anniversary. Back: Postgraduate students, Joe Levy and Isabella Russo at the Tiki Party
Acknowledgements Editor Michele Dunn, Marketing and Development Manager The editor would like to thank Elizabeth Burns, Laura Kane, Maryanne Pidcock and Dr Marie Leech for their assistance with this publication. Photography Many thanks to Katelyn Reid, House of Cameo and Nicholas Chu. www.sanctasophiacollege.edu.au
Sancta Sophia College 8 Missenden Road Camperdown NSW 2050 Main Office Hours Monday - Friday, 9am - 5pm Fundraising and Alumni Enquiries Michele Dunn Phone 02 9577 2347 Email firstname.lastname@example.org General Enquiries From within Australia Phone 02 9577 2100 Fax 02 9577 2388 International Phone +61 2 9577 2100 Fax +61 2 9577 2388
Email email@example.com We are always keen to hear what our alumni and friends are doing, so please let us know any career achievements and highlights, births, marriages, engagements or other news.
Enquiries and submissions firstname.lastname@example.org
15 September Hunter Area, 90 Year Celebration Dinner
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10 September Wisdom Forum
6 November Memorial Mass and Open Day 30 November 1956 Fresher Reunion
Disclaimer: The editor has compiled SANCTA from various sources. Whilst every care has been taken to ensure the information published is accurate, the editor cannot accept responsibility for inaccuracies in the content or authenticity of that information.
In recent months, there has been a focus in Australian media on the culture of Australia’s residential Colleges, mainly highlighting the negative aspects. It has led many of us to ask ‘What are the elements of our culture?’ Where do these elements originate? What maintains them? As we discussed these challenging issues, one member of the Sancta Council wrote: Sancta WAS and IS different. What, we pondered, is the difference and where does or did it originate? Culture, we learn, is the underground stream of norms, values, beliefs, traditions, and rituals that build up over time as people work together, solve problems, and confront challenges. These formal and informal expectations and values shape how people think, feel and act.
We here at Sancta are so very fortunate to have had our culture, ethos and traditions conceived within the framework of the concept of leadership of the Religious of the Sacred Heart.
We here at Sancta are so very fortunate to have had our culture, ethos and traditions conceived within the framework of the concept of leadership of the Order of Sacred Heart nuns. The four characteristics of Sacred Heart leadership are: Personal and active faith in God; courage and confidence; rooted in love; and hearts of fire. The founder of the Order, Saint Madeleine Sophie, urged her daughters to act with ‘courage et confidence.’ She herself demonstrated the ability to innovate, to remain flexible and adapt constantly, to set ambitious goals, to think globally, to move quickly and to take risks. Throughout the ages, and in a variety of disciplines, Sacred Heart leaders have discovered new truths, explored new approaches and embraced new ideas and perspectives in a complex and changing world. Within this framework, ‘leadership happens not when obstructed by the habits and deeply entrenched ways of thinking that are heavily defended, but when we can step out of old life scripts and act with clarity of purpose, courage and concern’. When we look to how these concepts were embedded and implemented at Sancta, we look firstly to the wonderful
Principals we have been privileged to have, many of whom were members of the Religious of the Sacred Heart or from a tradition of Sacred Heart education, and who brought with them the concept of Sacred Heart leadership and the philosophies of their Order: education and empowerment for women, respectful attitudes, valuing tertiary education, encouraging the development of outstanding graduates who contribute to society in the broadest sense. It is most appropriate in this 90th year that we honour many of them: we have launched a scholarship in Sr Mary Shanahan’s name and held a major and successful fundraising function for that scholarship in May; we have launched a book on Mother Yvonne Swift – Swifty by Edmund Campion – in August; and our Principals Portraits Project; described by the artist Janelle Hatherly as the ‘Portraits of warm, wise, strong women’, is well underway. The portraits of eight Principals now adorn the Dining Hall, a daily reminder of these ‘warm, wise, strong women’ who helped shape and implement the wonderful culture of our College. In laying down the Sancta culture, these Principals were supported by Sancta Council Members, many of whom are mentioned in our 90 Notables publication; intelligent, thoughtful people, steering the College through many decades, providing an excellent level of governance, contributing their wisdom and expertise to the College. And where would Sancta culture and traditions be without our students who, over our 90 year history, have made this the vibrant place it continues to be today, acting with courage and confidence, exploring new approaches and helping to mould the culture and traditions so that we can say with confidence: Sancta WAS and IS different.
Dr Marie Leech
One of the real challenges of being on Council is to remain in touch with the requirements and aspirations of the students who live in the College.
After being a member of the Sancta Sophia College Council for many years, I was appointed as Chair at the beginning of 2016. Being the College’s 90th year, there have been a number of functions and activities undertaken by the College to celebrate this milestone and I am proud to be Chair during these commemorations. I thank Josephine Heesh for her outstanding work as Chair in 2015 (she was also Chair 2000 – 2008) as well as her dedication to the College and the Council since 1995. I also extend a warm welcome to new Council members, Luisa Pastrello, Morgan Kelly and Professor John Shields. If you are on the email distribution list, you are receiving the most informative and entertaining emails entitled Celebrating 90 Years: The Decades. Our archivist has done a wonderful job collating all those interesting facts and I really look forward to reading each email to find out about what happened to the College, its staff and its students during each decade. We still have some decades to go, so I urge you to get on the distribution list. Memories and laughter are such a good combination! One of most important festivities on this year’s calendar was the 90th Anniversary Gala Dinner and Alumni Awards held on 30 July 2016. Being able to recognise so many significant alumni and friends through the announcement of 90 Notables was a very special aspect of the evening. One of the real challenges of being on Council is to remain in touch with the requirements and aspirations of the students who live in the College.
Obviously the longer I stay on Council, the greater the age gap between myself and the students. We have therefore, done some restructuring of one of the Council committees and invited student representatives, both undergraduates and postgraduates, to be more involved. These student representatives now form part of the Students, Policy & Mission Committee of the Council which provides them with a more effective voice. On a more sombre note, no doubt most of you would have read about the University of Sydney asking former sex discrimination commissioner Ms Elizabeth Broderick AO to work with all the University’s residential colleges to set in motion a process of cultural change within the Colleges following the reported unacceptable behaviour of some students. This is welcomed whole heartedly by Sancta and all the residential colleges are working through the process of collaboration on the project. Lastly, if you haven’t been involved with the College for a while, why not do so during our 90th year? The Sancta website sets out the different opportunities to get involved, both domestically and overseas. I look forward to seeing you at one of those events.
FAREWELL JOSEPHINE HEESH At the end of 2015, the Council farewelled Josephine Heesh (FR 74); Member of Council 1995 – 2015; Chair of Council 2000 – 2008 and 2015. Josephine initially enrolled at the University of Sydney to study Arts, but switched to Arts/Law after one year, and she thoroughly enjoyed her legal studies. After graduation, Josephine joined Freehill Hollingdale & Page Solicitors, and is now a partner in Carroll & O’Dea. Sancta has been a significant part of her life. From being a full time student resident, 1974 – 1977; then resident Vice Principal, 1984-85 (a part time position whilst she
worked full time at legal practice); and then member of College Council, 19952015 working on the Finance Committee, Building Committee during her tenure, as well as being member of the Sancta Ex Students Committee from 1997-1999. Josephine has also dedicated her time to other pro bono boards including 1990-1994 Kincoppal– Rose Bay School Council; 19952000 Catholic Weekly Board. Josephine has been, and remains, an outstanding supporter and contributor to the College. She was recently recognised with a Sancta Alumni Award for Contribution to the College 2016.
New Council MEMBERS Professor John Shields (left) John Shields is Deputy Dean (Education) of The University of Sydney Business School and Professor of Human Resource Management and Organisational Studies in the Discipline of Work and Organisational Studies. John is a member of the Business School’s Senior Leadership Committee and represents the School on various University of Sydney governance bodies, including the Senior Executive Group, (SEG), SEG Education and the Academic Board. John holds a PhD in Economic History from the University of Sydney (1990). His principal areas of research and teaching include performance management, reward management, executive remuneration and corporate governance, and business and labour history. Morgan Kelly (centre) Morgan is an Official Liquidator and Partner of Ferrier Hodgson. Morgan has extensive experience in advisory, workout and insolvency across a wide range of industries. This experience has involved formal appointments, expert industry reports and informal advisory
roles in businesses ranging in size from SMEs to multinational organisations. Morgan is frequently retained by Lenders, Corporates and Government Agencies to advise on situations of financial distress. He is a Personal Property Securities Act (2009) (PPSA) subject matter expert, and regularly conducts training sessions on this topic for financiers. Luisa Pastrello (right) Luisa’s experience includes having been Etihad Airways’ General Manager for Australia and New Zealand, where she was responsible for leading sales and marketing operations in one of the airline’s strategically most
important regions worldwide. Luisa has approximately 15 years’ experience in travel, tourism and aviation. Before joining Etihad Airways in 2012, she was General Manager & Head of Membership Travel Services Australia/ NZ at American Express and a Board Member of Tourism New South Wales. Luisa began her career in the aviation industry in 1995 as a Business Development Executive for Qantas. During her 10 year term at the Qantas Group, she held a number of management roles in a number of areas of the business including Government and Corporate Sales, Brand and Marketing, and the Qantas Frequent Flyer program.
It is hard to believe that we have already arrived at Semester 2. In the first semester, the Sancta students immersed themselves in all the opportunities on offer with great dedication and enthusiasm. Our community worked collectively to better ourselves, the College and the wider community.
We began the year with an extremely successful ‘RodeO-week’ which was a fantastic opportunity for our freshers to meet one another and be welcomed into the Sancta and InterCol community. The highlight of the week was Champagne in the Quad, which was hosted by Sancta and showcased our beautiful College. I would like to thank the House Committee and RA team, who all worked tirelessly over the summer holidays and during O-week, to make our new students feel at home, settle into University and College life and have an unforgettable week.
Our first General Meeting for the year was held in Week 3 of Semester and the General Secretary positions were elected. These women are certain to go on to do amazing things in their respective fields.
In essence, the community vibe within Sancta is alive and well. There is a strong sense of support, acceptance and friendship within the student body and as always we have the constant support of our lovely staff, who provide us with a safe and caring environment.
As always, our Rosebowl sporting teams trained in rain, hail and shine to prepare for competition. We put up a valiant effort in all Semester One sports including netball, rowing, and hockey. We were narrowly beaten in swimming and diving and took out second place by the smallest of margins. We also cannot forget our entrance into the Intramural sporting competition. Both our undergrads and postgrads have been able to compete in Futsal and Badminton, enjoy social sport and build friendships with a range of student bodies at other University accommodation residences. In the cultural sphere, the Palladian Cup is certainly within our reach. We placed first and second in Oration, and also
took out second place in Solo Drama and third place in Solo Vocal. We’re very keen to continue this success through Semester 2. Social events continue to be a highlight in our calendar, such as the very successful Semi-formal which was held in Week 10. The social calendar has also featured many exciting 90th year celebrations such as the Alumni Champagne in the Quad. The Social Welfare Sub-Committee has hosted numerous events to give back to the community such as the Women’s High Tea which raised over $600 for the School for Life Foundation. Mass continues to be held every Sunday evening and has been well attended. The after-mass supper allows students to reflect, socalise and eat yummy baklava. Academically, our students are working hard and applying themselves to their studies. I have actually never seen the library as full as it was in the last few weeks of semester and through stu-vac. Formal Dinners have been a highlight, with guest speakers including His Excellency, The NSW Governor; David Hurley, alumna and founder of School For Life, Annabelle Chauncy, and Nat Heath from AIME. These dinners are a time when all the College community can come together, be inspired, reflect on our own lives and consider issues affecting the wider community. Another very special dinner was the Mothers’ Dinner, where we shared a meal with our lovely Mums and the other significant women in our lives. In essence, the community vibe within Sancta is alive and well. There is a strong sense of support, acceptance and friendship within the student body and as always we have the constant support of our lovely staff, who provide us with a safe and caring environment. Aili Langford Senior Student 2016
PRESIDENT OF THE SENIOR COMMON ROOM great work that Sancta students do. We’ve also had a large number of postgrads auditioning or competing in the Palladian Cup.
There are over 95 postgraduates, affectionately known as ‘the posties’ or the PGs, who call Sancta home. Sancta’s Graduate House proves that there is a market for postgraduate students who wish to have a college experience. Like the undergrads, we are keen to feel connected to our university, and to live with in a thriving community of our peers.
We’re a diverse group of people who are either building upon our undergraduate studies, branching into a different field altogether, or undertaking further education to develop our careers.
The Senior Common Room has been hard at work this year. Here are some of the things we’ve been up to: >> Elizabeth Gatens, our Cultural Representative, has helped to establish a Book Club (which is run by two postgrads) to expose all residents to a range of literature (a recent book was The Trial by Franz Kafka – nothing like spending the holidays reflecting upon totalitarianism). Elizabeth has also established an educational speaker series called ‘Sancta Speaks’ which showcases some of the
>> Nicholas Piper, our Social Representative, has organised a variety of social events for postgrads which has fostered a strong sense of community. Events have included a postgrad O-week (featuring trivia, a scavenger hunt, and a cocktail function), a pancake breakfast, and a Tiki-themed party. We’ve also held a Game of Thrones trivia night (every Monday around 20 postgrads gather to watch the latest episode – we’re hooked!) >> Isabella Russo, our Sports Representative, has pioneered Sancta’s first entry into the Rawson Cup with a great effort in swimming. With nine swimmers in total (seven men in the Rawson Cup and two women in the Rosebowl Cup) and strong postgraduate support in the crowd, we’re very happy with our first showing. We’ve also had two social netball teams with approximately 20 students actively participating.
As we look to the latter half of the year, we’re planning an intercollege postgraduate high tea, entering Sancta’s first athletics team in the Rawson Cup, expanding our social sport offerings for postgrads, and continuing to provide postgrads with great social events. Thank you to the office-bearers of the Senior Common Room, Myriarm Song, Jackson McLeod, Elizabeth Gatens, Nicholas Piper, Isabella Russo and Ellen Weekes, for your continued efforts in making Sancta a great place for postgraduate students to live. You have all contributed many hours of your personal time in the service of who have been involved in College life this year. Sancta is richer for your participation – I hope you have felt enriched too. Joshua Preece Postscript Congratulations to Josh who was recently selected to fill the casual vacancy of Postgraduate Fellow of the University Senate.
>> Sydney Uni Sport and Fitness has established an Intramural sports competition to provide students living at other on-campus accommodation with a competitive sporting outlet. Kevin Hong, our Intramural Coordinator, has led our efforts across futsal and badminton. This has been a great way for students to participate in competitive sport without the heavy training schedule that the intercollege cups involve.
CELEBRATIONS There has been a whirlwind of events to celebrate Sanctaâ€™s 90th Anniversary. The next few months are equally busy for alumni, friends and students alike.
The 90 Year Celebrations started with the 70s Club High Tea for our alumni who have reached that golden age.
It was a glorious Sunday afternoon for the 90 Year Anniversary Champagne in the Quad, where current and former students mingled and enjoyed the beautiful garden setting.
The Hong Kong Club was the scene for a gathering of Sancta and St John’s College Hong Kong based alumni.
New York alumni gathered for drinks with Principal, Dr Marie Leech, at the Plaza Hotel to celebrate Sancta’s Anniversary.
UPCOMING 90 YEAR CELEBRATIONS Saturday, 10 September Wisdom Forum with Kristina Keneally from 2pm.
Through the generosity of alumna, Baroness Trixie Gardner of Parkes, Sancta and St John’s alumni and friends enjoyed an evening of cocktails in the Attlee Room at the House of Lords. Over 50 guests attended and thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity to catch up with old friends, and make new connections. The Baroness and Sancta alumnus, Aidan O’Neill, addressed the group about the likely impact of Brexit.
Thursday 15 September Hunter Area, NSW Dinner A special 90 Year Celebration for those from the Hunter and northern regions at the Newcastle Club. Sunday, 6 November Memorial Mass at 11am, followed by Open Day noon – 4pm Following the Memorial Mass, the College will be open for everyone to roam the halls and recall great days here. Wednesday, 30 November 1956 Fresher Reunion luncheon at the College from 12.30pm. See www.sanctasophiacollege.edu. au/news-and-events/90year/ for more details and booking information.
Mary Shanahan and Geraldine Doogue share a light-hearted moment
Sr Mary Shanahan
FUNDRAISING DINNER A sell-out crowd of alumni and friends attended the College for an evening to celebrate the much loved former Principal Sr Mary Shanahan and to raise money for a scholarship in Mary’s name. Pre-dinner drinks in the Common Room allowed old friends to reconnect. The MC for the evening was Simone Whetton. During dinner, guests were treated to renowned TV and radio interviewer Geraldine Doogue, quizzing Mary on her life and core beliefs. Alumna Lee Lewis (Artistic Director of the Griffin Theatre) was the guest speaker. Two moving tributes were paid to Mary, by alumni Catriona O’Sullivan and Elizabeth Hannan, who reflected on the qualities which made ‘Shan’ so dearly admired. “She is lion-hearted, though small in stature…the Shan we love understands that young people can be thoughtless and self-absorbed, and she forgives us.
“She has helped us outgrow our less appealing aspects…Above all, she has grace, and, for many of us, she is as close to God on this earth as we have ever felt”. The fundraising auction saw some fiesty bidding and ‘Brad Pitt’ managed to buy a week in a Bali villa for 7 of ‘his’ mates. The evening concluded with a standing ovation for Mary, a true testament to the impact she has had on so many lives. The Sr Mary Shanahan Scholarship will support a student who is able to demonstrate the qualities that Mary looked for in prospective students when she was Principal of the College: a balanced approach to studies, social life and spirituality, with financial need being a key aspect. Through the Dinner and other pledges, support for the scholarship now stands at around $100,000, with the goal to raise a total of $600,000 over the next 3 years to fully endow the scholarship in perpetuity.
Together, we can achieve the goal! The efforts to raise the funds for the Sr Mary Shanahan Scholarship have really just begun. In the next year or so, the College will: >> invite key individuals to host a dinner for 10 friends who will be asked to pledge at least $500 per year for 3 years; >> hold an annual fundraising event; and >> most importantly, approach individuals who can offer significant support. The College can only hope to mark Shan’s time here through this Scholarship, with your help. Please lend your support by donating online: http://www.sanctasophiacollege. edu.au/support/sr-mary-shanahan-rscjscholarship-appeal/. All donations over $2 to the fund are fully tax deductible.
If you are interested in hosting a dinner with friends (at the College or your own home) or in a private conversation about how you can support the fund, please contact Michele Dunn on 02 9577 2347 or by email: marketingdevelopment@ sancta.edu.au You can listen to Geraldine Doogueâ€™s Q&A here: http://www.sanctasophiacollege. edu.au/2016/05/sr-mary-shanahanscholarship-fundraising-dinner/
GALA DINNER The 90 Year Gala Dinner, the key event in Sanctaâ€™s 90 year celebrations was held at the end of July. Over 150 people attended, as part of various reunions; to recognise 90 Notables; and to honour the 2016 Sancta Alumni Award winners.
Members of the 90 Notables who attended the Gala Dinner.
90 NOTABLE ALUMNI AND FRIENDS In Sanctaâ€™s 90th year it is fitting to pay tribute to the many alumni and friends who have contributed significantly to their profession, the community and the College over the years.
We congratulate each and every entrant in the listing and are proud to be able to call them Sancta alumni.
The 90 Notable Alumni and Friends were announced at the recent 90 Year Gala Dinner. You can see their full details in the booklet included.
ALUMNI AWARDS The Annual Alumni Awards were introduced in 2013 to honour and recognise the outstanding achievements by Sancta alumni across a wide range of professional, social and personal endeavours. As in every year, 2016 winners shine a light on the many outstanding alumni with which Sancta is privileged to be connected.
Dr Marie Leech, award winners Michael Bray (for Sonja Lyneham), Josephine Heesh, Rachel Launders, Loretta Joseph, Edwina Pickles and Council member Jann Gardner
2016 Alumni Award Winner Rachel Launders FR 86 for Contribution to College Rachel Launders graduated from the University of Sydney in 1991 with a Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Laws. Rachel was a partner at Gilbert and Tobin for 13 years, before she joined Nine Entertainment Network in 2015 as General Counsel and Company Secretary. She has extensive experience in corporate transactions and corporate governance and during her career has been exposed to a wide range of industries, including media, telecommunications, building materials, manufacturing and financial services. Josephine Heesh FR 74 for Service to the College Josephine is profiled on page 3 in this edition. Her dedication and contribution to the College, in all manner of roles makes her a very deserving winner of this award.
Rachel brought this depth of knowledge to her tenure on Council, which commenced in 2005. She took on the role of Chair from 2009 to 2014. During her Chairmanship, the College undertook a substantial expansion plan, raising funds for and building Graduate House. Rachel was instrumental in leading this
The Alumni Awards recognise significant achievement and contribution
process, her innate strength of character providing a voice of reason during a time of great change. Rachel is a great supporter of and friend to Sancta, and is a significant benefactor. She has generously given her time and expertise as a voluntary board member of Giant Steps, a school for children and young adults with autism in Sydney, since 2001 and has been the schoolâ€™s Company Secretary since 2003.
Loretta Joseph graduated from the University of Sydney in 1990 with a Bachelor of Economics, and was an undergraduate resident at Sancta during her degree. Loretta is a senior banking and financial professional, and has had a diverse and successful career working for major investment banks throughout Asia and India. She is an innovative thinker, and this year was named the Female FinTech Leader of the Year 2016, for her work in pioneering the development of Blockchain technology, which has been hailed as an ‘industry disruptor’. 2016 Alumni Award Winner Loretta Joseph FR 88 for Social Welfare and Impact
However, it is for the work outside her career that Loretta receives her Alumni Award, for the impact that she has made to the lives of children in Ladakh, India. In 2008 Loretta moved to India to establish the Macquarie Bank Derivatives Desk. In the same year, a rainstorm displaced 6000 villagers in
Edwina Pickles graduated from the University of Sydney in 1997 with a Bachelor of Visual Arts.
2016 Alumni Award Winner Edwina Pickles FR 95 for Cultural Contribution
Edwina is a staff photographer for Fairfax Media. Her photos appear regularly in the Sydney Morning Herald. In 2015, she was awarded the United Nations Association of Australia (UNAA) Peace Awards Best Photojournalist Award, for her photo essay Inside the World’s Largest Refugee Camp. This work explores the lives of women and children living within a camp of 355,000 people in Dadaab, Eastern Kenya, who are particularly vulnerable to sexual assault and forced marriage. The photos underline the role of women in nurturing the next generation, underscoring the importance of educating women to reduce the impact of violence on the future of the next generation.
Ladakh - many of whom were Tibetan refugees - and left countless children orphaned and impoverished. The Ladakh Buddhist Association reached out to Loretta to contact the Dalai Lama to establish a school. She overcame a host of challenges to establish the Lamdong Jammon School of Trust. The school was opened by its Patron, His Holiness, the 14th Dalai Lama, in 2012, initially as an orphanage and then as a boarding school, and now provides education and one hot meal a day for 300 children from Kindergarten to Year 5. The hope is that with more funding it will extend to Year 6. Loretta is now based in Sydney and tries to return to Ladakh each year, which is sometimes difficult as the country is snowed in for seven months of the year. She continues to endorse the school, talks with the Board regularly and is engaging Indian corporates to help sustain and run the school. In order to capture her heartbreaking and exquisite photographs, Edwina travels to extremely dangerous places at great personal risk. In the Dadaab refugee camp she was under police escort, a kidnapping attempt having been made on a female foreign aid worker by armed bandits just prior to her arrival. It is a sign of Edwina’s courageous commitment to telling important stories that she accepts this risk as part of her job. Edwina’s photographic work was recognized by the UNAA judges as “a powerful submission, which … has reached a broad audience, leading to increased public awareness and understanding. It uses the medium to effectively highlight a pressing humanitarian issue by providing a perspective that is both sympathetic and informative.”
Edwina was a finalist for the same award in 2014, for her photography in Southern Sudan and Highly Commended for her 2010 Walkley Awards photo-essay Daily Life.
Sonja Lyneham graduated from the University of Sydney in 1967 with a Bachelor of Economics, and a Master of Town Planning in 1969. She became an Adjunct Professor GSBE Faculty of the Built Environment at UNSW in 1996.
2016 Alumni Award Winner Sonja Lyneham FR 64 for Professional Achievement
Sonja has had more than 37 experience as the Executive Director of a leading strategic planning and advisory company. She has deep knowledge across all sectors of development infrastructure. She has provided high level strategic planning and management advisory services across the property and infrastructure sector to listed public companies, major development companies and State and National Governments, both within Australia and internationally. Sonia has steered audits and inquires into property, housing and infrastructure, which have led to major reforms. She has also brought her extensive experience to a variety of councils and boards.
Aidan O’Neill QC was a resident at Sancta from 1984 to 1985, when Sr Mary Shanahan introduced a number of male postgraduates into the College. At the University of Sydney he undertook a Master’s Degree in legal and moral philosophy, for which he was awarded First Class Honours, and the Law Faculty Medal for the best Master’s Degree of 1987. This degree formed part of a comprehensive University education gained in Edinburgh and Florence.
2016 Alumni Award Winner Aidan O’Neill PG 84 for Professional Achievement
Aidan is a barrister in practice in both England and Wales (since 1996) and at the Scottish bar (since 1987, silk 1999). He has also been called to the Northern Ireland Bar. He has a wide ranging public law practice across the UK specialising in the inter-relationship between EU law, human rights, and constitutional law. He also has a particular interest in the interface between law and religion. He is a widely published author, with three legal text books to his name to date, as well as numerous academic articles. He is the founder, editor and
During her eight years on the board of St Vincents Hospital, there were huge changes in not only the hospital but the NSW Health Department. In an era of government rationalization of the health system, hospitals were being downsized and closed. While the AIDS epidemic had hit Australia and St Vincents had opened its doors to these patients, the hospital was fighting to justify its existence. Sonja used her strategic planning skills and her ability to prepare business plans to ready the hospital leadership to ensure they could effectively debate with the department officers as well as the Minister for Health. Sonja’s hard work and commitment to the Mission and Values of the organisation were greatly valued by the Chairman of the Board and the Senior Administrator, and by many of the other staff of the hospital, who saw her as an inspiration and someone who could always provide guidance.
a contributor to the blog EUtopia law (www.utopialaw.com). Among his appointments, Aidan has been the Chairman of the Edinburgh Centre for Constitutional Law, and Honorary Fellow in the School of Law, University of Edinburgh, a Visiting lecturer and course leader in “Human Rights law in Practice”, Diploma in Legal Practice at Edinburgh Law School, and a Visiting Professor in the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, and Senior Research Scholar and Fellow in the Program in Law and Public Affairs, Princeton University, NJ, USA. Aidan’s professional expertise saw him placed by The Legal 500 (2015 edition), in the top tier of leading silks at the London Bar in EU law. He was awarded Legal 500 Award for London Bar EU Law Silk of the Year 2015.
Dr Wirginia Maixner grew up in Sydney’s Northern Beaches and studied at the University of Sydney’s School of Medicine, graduating in 1986 with a Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery. Encouraged by a supportive family, which includes Australia’s first female flying Doctor, Wirginia became only the third women to be accepted in to the Royal College of Surgeons’ neurosurgery training program in the early 1990s. Halfway through her program Wirgina became pregnant. Not only did she continue on, she became the first person to fight for and be granted maternity leave by the College. 2016 Alumni Award Winner Wirginia Maixner FR 80 for Professional Achievement
Wirginia went on to study and gain experience in Paris and Canada and, at age 45, became one of Australia’s youngest heads of neurosurgery and the first woman to run the department at the Royal Children’s Hospital in Melbourne. She has performed many surgeries that have saved childrens’ lives. In 2006, Wirginia performed groundbreaking surgery on a three year old girl to successfully stop seizures caused by a rare genetic condition. In 2007, she was a crucial part of a surgery where a young
Swifty, A Life of Yvonne Swift, by Edmund Campion, was commissioned by the College to mark the life of Mother Yvonne Swift, Sancta’s fourth Principal between 1958 – 1972. It has recently been published as part of the celebrations for the College’s 90 year anniversary. The note on the cover captures the essence of Swifty’s outstanding story: “When Yvonne Benedicta Swift joined the Sacre Coeur convent in Rose Bay, Sydney in 1938, she was determined to dedicate herself to religious life. But after a career as Principal of the Rose Bay School of the Sacred Heart and later Sancta Sophia College at the University
girl became the first child in Australasia to receive an auditory brainstem implant, a surgery hailed for paving the way for revolutionary advances in medicine. All of Australia knew the name Dr Wirgina Maixner in November 2009. On 16 and 17 November, she led a team of 16 neurosurgeons, plastic surgeons, and other specialist medical staff at the Royal Children’s Hospital for over 32 hours to successfully separate three year old Bangladeshi conjoined twins, Trishna and Krishna. The twins were conjoined at the skull in a condition occurring in only one in 2 million live births. Successful separations are rare. Wirginia presided over five previous operations to gradually separate the girls’ brains, where each procedure carried the risk of haemorrhage, stroke or death. The successful operations mean the girls will go on to lead healthy lives. It also means Wirginia has achieved what only a handful of doctors in the world have managed to do. Dr Wiginia Maixner is an outstanding professional.
of Sydney in the 1970s, she did something unusual: retrained as a lawyer, established her own practice and defended some of Sydney’s most notorious criminals. “Edmund Campion’s biography of this extraordinary woman, who treated everyone from bishops to bikies equally, is a truly inspiring one.” Swifty, A Life of Yvonne Swift, by Edmund Campion is available for purchase through the College for $30 per copy plus $5 postage (within Australia). Please contact Shanelle Kennedy, developmentassistant@ sancta.edu.au for further details on how to receive your copy.
The Governor with his wife, Council members, the Principal, students and invited guests.
THE GOVERNOR COMES TO FORMAL DINNER An impressive line up of guests have featured at recent Formal Dinners including His Excellency Governor of NSW, General David Hurley. The guest speaker program is an integral part of College life and Formal Dinners. Other guests included: >> Annabelle Chauncy - Alumna and founder of School For Life. >> Reynold Poernomo - placed fourth on MasterChef 2015, known as the dessert king, and aged 21, recently opened a dessert bar in Chippendale. >> Alan and guide dog Archie - speaker for Guide Dogs ACT/NSW, who has Optic Atrophy and was assessed as legally blind by the time he turned 21. Alan and Archie take part in training seminars for Trains, Buses, Taxi drivers and other service sectors. Speaker Secretary, Emma Pullinen with Alan and Archie, Anne-Louise Deakin, Dr Helen Beange, Dr Marie Leech and Pam Suttor
Giving students ‘THE Earlier this year, Dr Jen Scott Curwood joined the Sancta community as a Senior Tutor. Dr Scott Curwood is a senior lecturer in English education and media studies within the University of Sydney’s Faculty of Education and Social Work. She is on the Academic Board, serves on the management team for the Centre for Research on Learning and Innovation, and works as Program Director for the Faculty’s Study Abroad and General Electives. The Edge: Academic Workshops are an important aspect of the academic offerings available to all students at Sancta. There were six workshops in Semester One. These hands-on, active workshops encourage Sancta students to build their academic skills and professional knowledge, to ensure their success at university and beyond. Topics included: goal setting and task management, essay writing, lab report writing, referencing, creating a professional identity, and using social media for professional networking. According to Jen, ‘I have the opportunity to work closely with the 14 Academic Mentors, as they provide academic
support and mentorship to students within their respective disciplines. I have offered advice to the Academic Mentors on how they can best fulfill their roles, and offered support as they plan and host their academic events. “We have held a number of successful academic events at the College, to bring together current students, alumni, university faculty, and community leaders. Ranging from panel discussions to lectures, and trivia nights to cocktail parties, these academic events offered Sancta students the chance to expand their disciplinary knowledge and enhance their professional connections. “I have also worked closely with Sancta’s two cultural secretaries, as they developed new initiatives this year, such as the monthly book club, Sancta Sketches, which offers students an opportunity to appreciate (and make!) art and Sancta Speaks, which allows the Sancta community to hear about compelling work, ranging from aerospace engineering to educational technology, from current Sancta students.” The Sancta tutorial program is led by Senior Tutor, Ahsan Malik, who also
Arts Faculty evening: Clarissa Becker and Bea Wardhaugh. Behind from left to right is Maggie Sarkissian, Madalyn Busby, alumna Edwina Pickles, Alice Dormer, Isabella Barrett, Mary Schnelle and Kathryn Gill.
commenced at the College in March 2016. Ahsan completed an undergraduate degree in Economics (First Class Honours) from Cardiff University. He also has a Masters in Risk Management & Financial Engineering from Imperial College London. He is a recipient of the University of Sydney International Postgraduate Coursework Scholarship for his current study in Masters in Economics. The College tutorial offering is at the core of academic life at Sancta Sophia. Undergraduates have access to a wide ranging tutorial program, aimed at ensuring residents maximise their academic potential. This year the College offered over 30 tutorials ranging from Human Biology and Speech Disorders to Engineering and Music Theory. Furthermore, the College offered postgraduate tutorials in Pharmacology, Dentistry and Law. Students also benefit from the intercollege tutorial network, which allows them access to tutorials being held at other University of Sydney residential colleges. In student feedback, 73% stated that the tutorial program helped their knowledge and understanding of their course.
Vet Faculty evening: Back: Rowena Yeung, alumna Pip Friday, Bianca Waud, alumna Sam Giblin, alumna Nicole Newsome and Alice FeazeyNoble Front: Sharon Wang, Viola Yu and Emma Charles.
My first SEMESTER Dominique Carruthers
Where are you from? Roseville in Sydney. What are you studying? A combined law and media communications degree. What school did you go to? Abbotsleigh in Wahroonga. How did you come to be interested in living at Sancta? A family friend who went to Sancta recommended it to me. What were your first impressions of Sancta? I remember thinking that the Quad was very pretty and how friendly and outgoing everyone was. I was also very excited when I saw Maryanne’s dog - I was very reluctant to leave mine at home! What are you involved in here? I am in the soccer and basketball teams. What’s been the best part of being here so far? Getting to know everyone at Sancta. The great thing about Sancta is that you get to know everyone in the community and hear all their stories. Some are just finishing school, others have taken gap years and some have already completed a degree. How would you sum up your first semester? Busy! I have always loved keeping busy but coming to Sancta I think this is even more the case. There is always something to get involved with and so many people trying different things. Everyone has such a positive attitude that it’s hard to say no sometimes!
Where are you from? Mackay, North Queensland. What are you studying? I study the Juris Doctor at the University of Sydney. What was your undergraduate degree? Political science and modern history at the University of Melbourne. How did you come to be interested in living at Sancta? I was interested in Sancta because it offers a great, separate postgraduate building. I love that I can be involved in anything that the College does, but also retreat to my room when I need to study. What were your first impressions of Sancta? My first impressions were that the rooms were very modern and spacious. I also thought there were a lot of people, but I have since become great friends with so many of them. What are you involved in here? I have been involved in rowing, social netball, badminton, and I run the Book Club. What’s been the best part of being here so far? I have enjoyed the various college events, especially the intercollegiate ones. The range of sport is also awesome! How would you sum up your first semester I was able to live a very balanced lifestyle last semester, as I was able to enjoy college life, and keep on top of my studies. My degree requires a lot of study and Sancta postgrad house enriches my experience at uni.
Where are you from? Kempsey, NSW What are you studying? A Bachelor of Science at the University of Sydney. What school did you go to? St Pauls College, Kempsey. How did you come to be interested in living at Sancta? I did my research on the internet and came for a tour. It felt like a welcoming and friendly environment, and from then on I knew Sancta was my choice of college. What were your first impressions of Sancta? I knew I had walked into a warm welcoming community with great tradition and values. What are you involved in here? I’m on the Social Welfare Sub-committee and play soccer. What’s been the best part of being here so far? I really enjoyed having lots of new opportunities and fun experiences. A definite highlight has been meeting other individuals from all different walks of life and making lots of new friendships with the most amazing people. It’s fabulous being so close to uni especially for those 8am lectures. Being able to explore this unique city, which is a bit of a change from the rural life, has been amazing. How would you sum up your first semester? It was definitely an eye opener, adjusting from high school to university learning. Being in a supportive environment with other girls in a similar situation made it easier to adjust. It’s been wonderful to be able to meet other like-minded people and be involved in the new experience of college and university life with them.
Where are you from? I was born in Beijing, China and moved to Ontario, Canada at a later age. What are you studying? I’m a first year postgraduate Doctor of Medicine student. What was your undergraduate degree and where did you get it? I completed my Bachelor of Science in Biomedical Sciences at the University of Waterloo. I then received a Bachelor of Science in
Where are you from? I grew up and live in Queens Park, Sydney. What are you studying? A double degree in Business and Law. What school did you go to? Kincoppal Rose Bay School How did you come to be interested in living at Sancta? From the stories I heard about the College from old girls at Kincoppal. They spoke of nothing but positive experiences and the beginning of life long friendships. Hearing that Sancta was also a college that accepted students from different campuses really appealed to me as I knew I would be mixing with a variety of girls with different interests, disciplines and backgrounds.
Nursing from McMaster University, with a certificate in critical care nursing at George Brown College. What were your first impressions of Sancta? Grad House is very modern and functional, with lots of amenities. The rooms are spacious and ensure good privacy. The Rooftop is definitely the highlight of the building - I really enjoy catching up with a few friends over coffee or beer, while looking at the city skyline from up there. The undergraduate building gives me a sense of Sancta’s history and tradition. I especially love the Dining Hall and the Common Room, and attending the weekly Formal Dinners What are you involved in here? I am glad that I could be Sancta’s inaugural Intramural Sports convenor this year,
What were your first impressions of Sancta? I entered Sancta with mixed feelings of excitement and nervousness. However, the nerves were quick to pass as I was greeted by many friendly faces. O-week was a great way to get to know our fabulous fresher cohort and helped introduce us to the Sancta vibe. This atmosphere of fun and inclusion continued when the rest of the College community returned. The second years’ on my floor made the 3 freshers feel incredibly included which added to this sense of community. What are you involved in here? So far, this year, Netball, Swimming, Futsal and Soccer teams. Involving myself as a fresher in sport has been a great way to meet people in different years and keep fit. I have also involved myself by attending events such as the Rowing and Palladian Dance. Attending these events has been a great way to show college spirit and support the talents of the rest of the community.
organising sporting teams to compete with other residences of the University of Sydney. I was the Intramural badminton captain, and competed in mens’ singles. I also tutor an undergraduate nursing course. What’s been the best part of being here so far? You mean beside the awesome Sancta parties? Well... it’d definitely be the strong sense of community. Everyone here is so warm and friendly, and the people I’m living with have made my transition from Canada to Australia a much easier process. There’s always something going on, so there is never a dull moment. There are so many ways you can get involved, be it in arts, athletics, or leadership. How would you sum up your first semester? Busy, happy, and fulfilling.
from across Australia and the world. Such friendships would not have been possible without the experience of college. Sancta has continued to give me a sense of community, an aspect of life that I treasure greatly from my school days. The endless sporting, cultural, and social events that Sancta offers gives everyone a chance to flourish and feel like a valued member of the community. Sancta also offers an incredible support network in terms of academics and pastoral care. Such initiatives as the tutorial program combined with the incredible Residential Assistants, have made my transition from high school to university and college life very smooth. How would you sum up your first semester? Very busy yet extremely rewarding. The numerous activities offered by the College including sport, cultural and social events, social justice initiatives and faculty events kept me busy whilst also ensuring my personal potential is enhanced in many areas.
What’s been the best part of being here so far? Definitely meeting new people
My first semester continued Adam Birman
Where are you from? Perth, WA. What are you studying? A Masters of Commerce, specialising in Business Analysis and Marketing. What was your undergraduate degree? I completed a Bachelor of Arts (History/ Economics) at the end of 2015 at the University of Western Australia. How did you come to be interested in living at Sancta? Moving over from Perth, I knew I wanted to live at a college. This is because I knew studying Masters was going to be tough and most colleges have networks in place that would be able to support me throughout
Where are you from? Sydney - only about 20 minutes from Sancta. What are you studying? Arts/Nursing at the University of Sydney. What school did you go to? Ascham. How did you come to be interested in living at Sancta? I had never really thought about going to college. I wanted to go to Sydney University and I lived in Sydney so there didn’t seem like much point. But then I heard about Sancta through a few friends of my older sister, who had come here, and it sounded like so much fun. They always raved about
my studies. Sancta caught my eye because it has the largest community of postgrads out of any of the other colleges. Browsing around the website, I developed a little bit of an understanding of the welcoming, supportive and nurturing culture that Sancta has. After this, and my phone call with Dr Leech, I knew Sancta had everything I was looking for to call home in Sydney. What were your first impressions of Sancta? I arrived just in time for the O-week Formal Dinner. At the Dinner I was genuinely surprised at the willingness of residents, who had clearly already lived here and had their own friends, to introduce themselves and make me feel welcome. This is exemplified by the fact that following the after-Dinner port, I was actively encouraged to go up to the Rooftop and continue socialising. By the end of O-week I had got to know most of the people living here and I had really begun to relax into my new home.
the girls and the constant range of fun activities. After hearing this first hand, my heart was set on Sancta. What were your first impressions of Sancta? That it was a home; a place I could really live. As soon as I walked into the foyer, and saw the ways the girls treated one another, it was clear to me that the Sancta community was filled with kindness and acceptance. I could also tell that it was not a dull place! People buzzing all over the place and there is always somewhere to go or something to do. What are you involved in here? In first semester I was lucky enough to be elected fResher rep. This role has been absolutely amazing and has allowed me to really get to know and care for the other fResh. I have also been a part of the Social Sub-committee, which has been a great opportunity to get involved in college events as well as getting to know and make friends in other years.
What are you involved in here? I have tried to get involved in as much as possible. I play social netball on Sundays with other postgrads, have tried out for the debating team and went along to support a couple of the intercollege netball and hockey matches. I was also involved with Sancta’s first Rawson Cup Swim Team. This is something I am extremely proud of. I hope we have established a strong base to continue Sancta’s participation in this event for years to come. What’s been the best part of being here so far? The best part of living in Sancta so far has been the friendships that I have made. I have really enjoyed meeting people with a diverse range of attitudes. How would you sum up your first semester? Firstly, I’d have to say it’s been much more fun than I have expected. It’s certainly helped me cope with the stresses of a Masters course.
What’s been the best part of being here so far? The girls! I was told countless times before coming to college that the friends I made here would last a lifetime, but I didn’t really understand what that meant until I was here. And to be honest I still don’t really understand how it only took a few weeks for us all to feel like family. Already my Sancta family have cared for me more than I could of ever imagined. They are the ones that have made Sancta special to me, and the ones that make me excited to return. How would you sum up your first semester? Hectic, busy and fun, it has definitely left me wanting more!
Where are you from? Melbourne. What are you studying? The Juris Doctor at University of Sydney. What was your undergraduate degree? Science at the University of Melbourne, majoring in Anatomy. I have also completed an Honours Degree in Science at the University of Melbourne. How did you come to be interested in living at Sancta? Having decided that campus accommodation would enable a smoother transition to living in Sydney, I began looking at the residential colleges on campus. I became interested in
Where are you from? Mount Eliza about 90 minutes south of Melbourne. What are you studying? A Doctor of Medicine at the University of Sydney. What was undergraduate degree? A Bachelor of Science at the University of Melbourne. How did you come to be interested in living at Sancta? I spoke to some people about moving to Sydney and they all seemed content that their decision
Sancta due to the large size of the postgraduate cohort, as I wanted to be able to meet like-minded individuals. In addition, the diversity of the students and the opportunities offered, both academically and socially, were of great interest to me. What were your first impressions of Sancta? I felt very welcome when I first arrived. Those whom I met were very eager to make me feel comfortable and help me settle in. I was really impressed with my room, the facilities offered and the great view on the rooftop. What are you involved in here? I am involved in the Book Club, social netball and a running club, and I participated in the Palladian dance competition. Additionally, I am a member of the postgraduate Social sub-committee.
extracurricular activities, along with being a productive respite from study, provides the opportunity to meet other students in other year levels and enables me to give back to the Sancta community. The others students whom I met while participating in activities were very welcoming, inclusive and supportive and I found that this really helped me feel more comfortable at Sancta and in Sydney. How would you sum up your first semester? I have really enjoyed my first semester at Sancta. Living at Sancta enabled me seamlessly transition into living in Sydney; providing me with the opportunity to meet other like minded people and travel easily to University and into the city. I am really looking forward to becoming further involved within the community and consolidate and cultivate the friendships I have formed.
What’s been the best part of being here so far? The vast array of opportunities offered. Becoming involved in
was one of the best that they made in their life. A few of them had moved into Sancta and spoke so highly about the positive atmosphere and nurturing environment.
What’s been the best part of being here so far? Definitely the mood that Sancta evokes - happy, open and warm. I feel comfortable studying or hanging out with friends at any time and in any place.
What were your first impressions of Sancta? The postgrad building was phenomenally new and fresh! I think it’s wonderful that the college has an older, heritage building and a new building in the same grounds - it’s very unique in this way. All of the people that I have met over these months have been kind, entertaining and incredibly intelligent.
How would you sum up your first semester? The fact that I think I need to start paying rent on the library rather than my room, I’ve loved every minute here. To be surrounded by friends all of the time is a true luxury.
What are you involved in here? I’ve dabbled in the world of Palladian trials, love my mixed netball and a few of us go on runs and other fun fitness activities most weeks.
COMMENCEMENT DINNERS The College officially welcomed new undergraduates and postgraduates in two separate Commencement Dinners at the start of the year. The dinners are very popular with families and friends as one of the first formal occasions at the College.
All the postgraduates at the Commencement Dinner
Welcoming new parents is a key part of the dinner
An historic move
FOR SANCTA IN SPORT For the first time in the Collegeâ€™s history, Sancta entered a team in the Rawson Cup competition (for men) in swimming, with a team in the athletics set to follow this year. Sanctaâ€™s students are now also part of the recently launched Intramural competition, run by the University of Sydney which includes futsal, basketball, table tennis and badminton and has both mens and womens competitions. Next year it will extend to include up to eight sports. There will also be an Intramural Arts competition that will include cultural pursuits such as poetry slam and battle of the bands.
Signing the College Register
ANDIE’S REALLY GOING PLACES Fresher Andrea Gillard is achieving great things in hockey. She has been named in the National Junior Hockey Squad, which comprises athletes in the under 21 age group, in preparation for the Junior World Cup in Chile in late November.
Isabella Barrett (centre left) and Hannah Siemer with the Sancta cheer squad
ONCE BITTEN TWICE SHY Sancta students took out first and second place in the Palladian Oration competition, speaking on the topic of ‘Once Bitten Twice Shy’. In first place, Hannah Siemer used her speech as a means to raise the topic of alcohol consumption amongst young people. According to Hannah, “Initially, I was really stuck on how to approach the topic, ‘Once Bitten Twice Shy’. I had difficulty thinking outside the square much of what came to me was about romance and that wasn’t particularly a subject I wanted to broach at
Palladian Oration! Binge drinking is a serious issue in Australian culture, especially for Generation Y, and so through my speech, I wanted to raise the topic and bring the audience’s attention to how serious the consequences can be. I didn’t want to preach, merely open people’s eyes. I believe my generation has trouble knowing when to stop when it comes to drinking and that can lead to mistakes being made - I just wanted to remind people that it is okay to learn from their mistakes; that being once bitten, twice shy isn’t always such a bad thing.”
Isabella reconceptualised the meaning of ‘Once Bitten, Twice Shy’ taking the tack that common perceptions of the idiom perpetuate the idea that it simply means giving up and is seen as a weakness. Issy argued that sometimes walking away should be recognised as a strength. She made a case that, instead of glorifying boldness and bravery, we should appreciate those who acknowledge their imperfections and are calculated and cautious. In Solo Drama, Sancta’s performers, Francesca Earp (second place) and Hannah Siemer, were outstanding.
ON SONG It was a great result for Sancta’s choirs at the Eisteddfod. The Small Choir took out 2nd place and Big Choir was highly commended.
STUDENT SOCIAL EVENTS As with every semester, social activities were big and small, relaxed and formal. Here’s a snapshot of the Sancta Informal, Ladies High Tea, Oration Victory Dinner and the PG Tiki Party.
PG Tiki Party
Ladies High Tea
Oration Victory Dinner
Alumni in THE
BRIGID MCLAUGHLIN FR 89 What is your occupation? I am an Australian Fashion and Textile Designer; the designer and director of Brigid McLaughlin Pty Ltd. What degree(s) have you completed? Whilst at Sancta I completed a Bachelor of Arts at University of Sydney majoring in Fine Arts. Then I went on the National Art School where I completed a Diploma of Fashion Design. How did you get to where you are now from the degree you first studied? I will be eternally grateful to my parents for steering me towards Sydney University and especially Sancta. Whilst my parents were always supportive of my desire to study fashion, they suggested I do a university degree first, and so by their recommendation I joined the Sancta community. After graduation I went on to study Fashion Design at The National Art School, East Sydney. I graduated with distinction and was very fortunate to be offered immediate employment as Designer of the recently launched Charlie Brown collection. Charlie had been one of the judges of the International Smirnoff Award for which I was a finalist. This chance encounter led to my employment for the next five years with the Discovery Group; designing both the Charlie Brown and Lili labels. I spent a year in London working with the Issey Miyake London team; in wholesale and retail sales and visual merchandising. When I came back to Sydney, I joined M. Webster Holdings, and was the Head of Design of the newly acquired David Lawrence collection for 3 years. I moved to Lisa Ho as Head of Design of the Lisa Ho collection. In 2006, I launched the Brigid McLaughlin collection. Porcelain, my resort collection was launched 3 years later in 2009. How do you balance life and work? Not well, but that doesn’t worry me, as I enjoy my work so much. I am in the business of making people happy; by helping them present themselves to the world in a way that makes them more confident or often even empowered. What are your favourite memories of Sancta? I feel very privileged to have been at Sancta for three years: 1989 until 1991. I have so many great memories especially of the wonderful friendships I made; of drinking port in our gowns after Formal Dinners; Champagne in the Quad, and of course ‘community parties’. Above all, I remember Sr
Shanahan’s subtle but strong guidance steering us on our individual paths ‘to walk in wisdom’. Who do you stay in touch with from College days? I stay in touch with lots of Sancta girls who have scattered far and wide. Cal Stewart has been great at organising a Sancta girls weekend away each May where I have the pleasure of catching up with these girls. How did Sancta shape your life? First and foremost Sancta gave me great friendships that I know will last my lifetime. Secondly, Sancta gave me strong values by which to live my life. It has been great that in the last few years I have had several opportunities to reconnect with the College and its past and present residents. Even after all this time, I still find my Sancta connection is inspiring and character building. The stories of the personal achievements of past students and staff continue to inspire and even strengthen the bond. Any words of wisdom you’d like to pass on to the Sancta students and alumni? Love what you do and inspire others to do the same. Reach out and help others to find their true potential or passions in life. Beauty can be found everywhere and in everyone, you don’t need to look far, you just need to keep your eyes and heart wide open.
GEMMA BURGESS FR 95 What degree(s) have you completed? Bachelor of Arts in English Literature, History and Performance Studies; and a postgraduate degree in journalism. Where do you live now, and where have you lived since Sancta? New York City now, Zurich, and London in the past. What is your occupation? I am an author and screenwriter. How did you get to where you are now from the degree you first studied? After finishing my postgrad degree, I realised I didn’t want to be a journalist, but I did want to write. So I moved to London, cold-called about a hundred advertising agencies begging for a job, and became a copywriter. Making up straplines and ad campaigns is a very fun career, if you’re into words. When I was 30, on a whim, I started writing a book in my spare time, sent it off to ten literary agents that I found via Google (I was very naïve) and was offered a two-book deal with Harper Collins (...and very lucky). After the second book came out, I signed a book series deal with Macmillan, quit advertising, and moved to Switzerland, as my husband was working there. I realised I wanted to be a screenwriter more than an author – I’d thought about it for years, long before bookwriting, but it felt impossible, like going to the moon. So, I started reading screenwriting books and writing spec scripts, while writing the book series (I was also pregnant with my first baby and throwing up all the time at this point… it was a fun year). We moved to New York City, I had another baby, wrote some more books, I sold a TV pilot, and a couple of movie scripts that are somewhere in development, and here we are…
And finally, any words of wisdom you’d like to pass on to the Sancta students and alumni? Hmmm… I am not exactly known for wisdom. But I would tell myself at 17: everything is going to be okay. Surround yourself with kind people. And nothing interesting is easy. Gemma’s wikipedia listing reads: Gemma Burgess was one of the first New Adult authors picked up by St. Martin’s Press, the publisher who first coined the term “New Adult” in 2009. Her critically acclaimed Brooklyn Girls series centers on five twenty-something girls and the humor, heartbreak, and drama that bring them together. Brooklyn Girls was first published in 2012, Love And Chaos was published in 2013, and The Wild One was published in November 2015. The Brooklyn Girls series has been translated into seven languages and is available in over 40 countries. Burgess is also the author of The Dating Detox and A Girl Like You (Harper Collins UK). She currently lives in New York City with her husband and two children. True Love, an hourlong post-feminist romantic dramedy written by Burgess, has been put in development by American Broadcasting Company. The potential pilot is to be directed by Anne Fletcher.
How do you balance life and work? I think work/life balance is a silly concept invented to make women feel bad. It’s just life. What are your favourite memories of Sancta? I was at Sancta from 1995 to 1997, and my favourite memories are the long hours just hanging out with my friends. We didn’t have phones in our rooms until 1997, no internet, and barely any TV. So we just talked all the time. It was the best. I also directed a play in third year, and loved that. How did Sancta shape your life? The friendships I made at Sancta are lifelong – we have a constant connection, a shorthand. I feel so fortunate to have that. Do you stay in touch with friends from your college days? Of course! Emails, texts, Facebook, Whatsapp, Instagram…
A SANCTA ROMANCE
In the spring of 2010, I enrolled at the University of Sydney as a postgraduate. Having never been to Sydney, or Australia for that matter, I had decided that Sancta would be a good place to call ‘home’ for a while. Caroline Runte, who was also a postgrad here, and I met in the Dining Hall during our first week at College and, shortly thereafter, began to explore the exciting new world we were living in together. As international students (I’m American and she’s German), the College provided the perfect network for us to learn more about Australia and Australians, integrate into university life and develop meaningful friendships. We shared many unforgettable experiences during our travels throughout the country, and began to feel a special bond with this beautiful land down under. Sadly, at the end of the semester, Caroline left to finish her studies in Europe. After graduating from the University of Sydney the following semester, I was
admitted into the Summer Program at the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies in Geneva. However, our reunion in Switzerland was short-lived, as I was required to return back to the United States when the Program finished. While in Florida plotting my next move, both Caroline and I had a crazy idea. Would it be possible for an American to work in Switzerland? It seemed improbable, but we were running out of options. Caroline told me about a company called “Syngenta” and we discovered their Production and Supply Graduate Program. It was a perfect fit for me. After numerous interviews, was accepted and shortly afterwards I moved to Basel. Finally, we were together again. We were married last September and travelled back to our beloved Australia, where it all began, to celebrate the occasion. We are now expecting our first baby in September. Christian Sautter
CONDOLENCES We are saddened by the loss of some of Sancta’s great supporters and alumni. Our heart-felt sympathies to their family and friends. Carolyn Dwyer FR 57 passed away 22 July 2016. Helen Downing nee Roberts FR 46 passed away 31 May 2016. Imelda (Mollie) Windsor nee Burfitt FR 36 passed away 21 January 2016. Grosvenor Charles Thomas BurfittWilliams, passed away October 2015.
Alumna, Gloria Fong PG 12 was a finalist at the University of Sydney Alumni Awards for the John C Harsanyi Medal for International Student Achievement.
Congratulations to alumna, Natalie Adams FR 84 on her appointment as a justice in the NSW Supreme Court.
Bernard Carey PG 77, passed away suddenly in late July. He met his wife, Professor Hilary Carey (nee Beange) whilst at the College as a postgraduate. His daughters, Eleanor and Beatrice were undergraduates at Sancta and his mother-in-law is alumna Dr Helen Beange.
Our newest ALUMNI We welcome our most recent members of the alumni community: Isabella Donald Shipra Choudhari Amelia Ryan Dong Fang Zhao Gabrielle Tam Hasmik Tchakhmakhtchian William Adamson Thahabah Alharthi Gloria Hiu-Wai Fong
Emmet Gillespie Jack Kelly Ben Kende Menghi Liu Aditya Mandan Sandhya Menon Abdullah Mohammad Anna Ne Jia Yi Camilla Pascoe
Huma Aziz Maggie Beach Jenny Chiang Chih Yu Chou Alice Feazey-Noble Jonathon Khoo Emily Laing Sarah Martland Carlee Millikin
Anne-Laure Paquot MinChul Park Ruth Scott Kate Siyaguna Lindan Song Sha Liu Martin Kamata Rohit Bhattacharya
STAFF NEWS WELCOME TO TWO NEW STAFF MEMBERS Sydney campus, in various roles. In her most recent position as an Academic Support Officer, she developed and delivered a range of academic and learning skills workshops to students, and she was also involved in delivering professional development to administrative and academic staff in the use of educational technologies and learning management systems. Tracy Bradford, Archivist Mia Trinidad, Registrar and College Secretary Mia Trinidad joined Sancta Sophia College in April 2016 as Registrar and College Secretary. She graduated from the University of Sydney with a Bachelor of Computer Science and Technology. Her interest and passion in the development and education of youth, led her to work as a Youth Pastoral Missionary in the Philippines and New Zealand in 2007 and 2008. She was involved in building homes for the poor, witnessing to young people, and mentoring and training youth leaders. Together with the local youth, she ran conferences and retreats, established programs in parishes and schools, and led mission trips to other cities and countries. For 7½ years she worked at The University of Notre Dame Australia,
In the College’s 90th year, it seems only fitting that Tracy Bradford has joined the staff as the College Archivist. In the last eight months, Tracy has unearthed a wealth of information that has assisted with detailing the history of the College and recognising our notable alumni and friends. Tracy is highly credentialled and has a wealth of experience. She has Doctor of Philosophy (University of Technology, Sydney), Master of Letters (Public History) with Merit (University of Sydney) and Bachelor of Arts (University of New England) and Diploma in Law and Collections Management with Merit (Institute of Art and Law, London). Some of her roles include being commissioned by Lend Lease and Roads and Maritime Services NSW to undertake research into the life and career of Albert ‘Tibby’ Cotter, an Australian test cricketer who was killed in action at the Battle of
Beersheba in World War I for the Albert ‘Tibby’ Cotter walkway at Moore Park in Sydney. Another recent project, also commissioned by Roads and Maritime Services NSW, involved the research and writing of brief biographies of the 9 Australian Victoria Cross recipients at Gallipoli, together with an overview of the Gallipoli campaign for interpretative panels for the Gallipoli VC Memorial Rest Area in Holbrook NSW. She has also been the Manager, Collection Access & Description, State Library of NSW and Head of Manuscripts, State Library of NSW amongst other significant roles. She has also authored a number of papers. In her spare time, Tracy is a keen hockey player and has assisted with the training of Sancta’s hockey goalies. Tracy recently represented Australia and won gold in the Masters World Cup Hockey tournament.