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the seahorse December 2014 2014 Alumni Awards The inaugural Beryl Nashar Young Researcher Award

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In this issue 01

Alumni Awards

Meet the award recipients and finalists and see pictures from the night


50th anniversary

Celebrate with us

15 News

Keep up-to-date with what’s happening around the University

21 Graduation

Celebrations from the Ourimbah and Callaghan graduations


Alumni in print

Editorial team Editor Katie Porritt Contributing writers Katie Porritt Tenille Bleechmore Tanya Carlyle Design Sophie Brown Photography Historical photos courtesy of UON Cultural Collections Production Jaimee Davidson The Seahorse is published for alumni and friends of the University of Newcastle, and is produced by the Office of Alumni and External Relations. Subscriptions If you wish to be added to the subscription list, please email Write to us Send your comments or contributions to On the cover The late Professor Beryl Nashar: the Foundation Professor of Geology at UON and the first Australian to be awarded a PhD in geology from an Australian university. The name of this magazine, The Seahorse, has a long connection with our University and our community. The original symbol for the University emblem was a mythical seahorse (in Greek mythology a ‘hippocampus’). This was based on the naval coat of arms of Lieutenant John Shortland, the first official European discoverer of Newcastle. Today the seahorse logo is bolder and more contemporary in design. It reflects our heritage and the history of Newcastle and it looks ahead, recognising our status as one of Australia’s most forward-looking universities.

From the From my desk Vice-Chancellor to yours Throughout its relatively short history, our University has experienced a rapid but deliberate evolution into a truly international, world-class institution with a reputation for excellence in equity, education, and research and innovation.

The achievements of our alumni never cease to amaze us. In 2014, the sell-out Alumni Awards gala dinner celebrated ‘gamechangers’ – the thought leaders, unconventional thinkers, the people who push boundaries and see possibilities.

This outstanding achievement has been consistently recognised on the global stage. In 2014 UON ranked number one in Australia in both the independent Times Higher Education (THE) and QS World University Rankings of the world’s top 100 universities under 50 years old. In their global university rankings, both THE and QS ranked UON as among the top three per cent in the world.

Our finalists were an exciting mix of scientists, engineers, authors, entrepreneurs, and finance and health professionals, who joined us from across Australia, China, Indonesia, the US, Thailand and Canada. We were proud to present 10 finalists with an award.

A university’s reputation is both dependent on its global stature and the attributes of its graduates. The achievements of UON alumni have always been integral to our success, and this was again evident at the 2014 annual Alumni Awards gala dinner. The awards clearly demonstrated that the relevance of quality tertiary education is best seen in how graduates use their learning and make their way in the world. As we approach our 50th birthday in 2015, our attention is turning to the next phase of the UON journey. We are now in the early phase of planning for the transition to the University’s next 10-year strategic plan, NeW Futures, set to be launched in July 2015. Global trends in education, research and innovation, and the proposed changes to the Australian higher education landscape – including government funding cuts, fees and the expansion of the demand-driven system to non-university higher education providers – will impact UON. Our future graduates will be seeking a degree from a university that delivers the very best in both education and research, together with a strong reputation for its distinct mission.

This year we introduced a new award to recognise the importance of early career researchers. The Beryl Nashar Young Researcher Award honours Professor Beryl Nashar, an inspiring trailblazer - the Foundation Professor of Geology at UON and the first Australian to be awarded a PhD in geology from an Australian university. The inaugural award was presented to Dr Alison Thorburn who is traversing new ground in asthma research. We were also proud to present the Alumni Medal jointly to PhD graduate Professor Patricia Davidson and Arts graduate Geoffrey Bentley. You can read more about our Medallists and all of our achievers on pages 1-12. Also in this edition we celebrate the newest UON graduates from our Ourimbah and Callaghan campuses; bring you news from UON activities around the world; and we‘ve included some key dates for your diary as we gear up to celebrate the University’s 50th anniversary in 2015. We are planning an exciting program of events next year to share with our alumni and friends, including a Homecoming Festival week. Please do keep your details up-to-date through GradLink, available on our website, so that we can make sure you know about the events happening in your area.

In the competitive environment of the future, UON will serve its graduates and alumni best by ensuring that it has a reputation for innovative education and research that is regarded highly nationally and internationally.

I’d like to take this opportunity to thank the presidents, committees, regional coordinators and the Alumni Relations team for their dedication and hard work throughout the year and wish you all a wonderful holiday season.

Our partnership with alumni is strong and valued. I look forward to working with you in our anniversary year to celebrate and build the foundations for the next 50 years.

It was wonderful to see so many of you at our alumni programs this year, and I look forward to seeing you in 2015 as we celebrate together the 50th milestone.

Caroline McMillen Vice-Chancellor and President

Rose Thomson Associate Director, Alumni and External Relations

Alumni Awards

The annual Alumni Awards are an opportunity to reflect on the extraordinary accomplishments of our graduates who have each helped propel the University to its current standing as a truly international and world-class institution.

The awards dinner, held on 10 September, celebrated unconventional thinkers - those who challenge the status quo and see possibilities when others see only obstacles; who crash through barriers and make a difference in their chosen fields. Our ‘gamechangers’. In 2014 the Alumni Awards recognised 32 gamechangers across eight categories. A new category, the Beryl Nashar Young Researcher Award, recognises alumni under 35 years of age making an impact in research. The award is named after the late Professor Beryl Nashar, UON’s Foundation Professor of Geology.

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Alumni Medal Geoffrey Bentley Bachelor of Arts 1961 Geoff served his country for more than 35 years as a front-line diplomat. He was the first UON graduate to make a career in the Australian Diplomatic Service. His early career from 1963 was devoted to promoting Australia’s Asia relationships in Malaysia, India, Cambodia and Singapore. In 1979 Geoff was appointed Deputy High Commissioner to New Zealand and played a significant role in forging the ANZ Closer Economic Relations Agreement – one of the most comprehensive bilateral free trade agreements in existence. He later held a range of senior Australian Government positions, including Head of Strategic Policy, where he was responsible for the political dimension of the Australia-US defence and security relationship. Geoff was appointed Australian Consul General to Hong Kong in 1989 and was the inaugural Patron of UON’s Hong Kong Alumni Chapter. In 1993, then Foreign Minister and Leader of the Government in the Senate, Senator Gareth Evans OC, appointed Geoff his Chief of Staff – a position that called for both fortitude and adept policy advice. Geoff’s stellar international service career culminated in his appointment as Australia’s Ambassador to the Russian Federation from 1994-98.

My story

As a railway man’s son, I grew up in 10 towns and attended four schools. Some places were barely whistle stops. Summit Tank had a population of nine. Bell Primary had 18 students, I was in sixth class. Fortunately I had nine formative years in the Hunter region. It is where I come from. Finishing my degree at the end of 1960, I was set to complete a Dip. Ed. and become a French teacher. However Ken Booth, the University Welfare Officer, channelled me into a vacation job at BHP to induct trainees. Soon I was a training officer and editor of Safety Angles. I suppose a former editor of the student magazine Opus was qualified for that. Having had too little money to take up my Commonwealth Scholarship to study science I reveled in developing training courses for the new sinter and basic oxygen furnace plants. Then a chance encounter back on campus changed everything.

I was encouraged to apply for the diplomatic service. In January 1963, the FJ ute took me south to Canberra. The following 35 years saw me – and the growing family – in Kuala Lumpur, New Delhi, Phnom Penh, Singapore, Wellington, London, Hong Kong and Moscow, alternated with assignments in Canberra. Along the way I worked in another 40 capitals and served numerous foreign ministers. At various stages other postings were near things, but ‘the exigencies of the service’ always prevailed. Had it been Hanoi instead of Moscow, for example, life would have been immeasurably altered. The children grew up itinerant enough. The reality of diplomacy is not quickly described. At its core is negotiation. You work at every level to advance and protect the national interests of your country and its citizens. The unpredictable is to be expected. You turn your hand to most everything: securing legal protection for Australian troops on foreign soil, ensuring safe passage of the Australian cricketers in Calcutta, stitching up sale of patrol boats

to Hong Kong, negotiating free trade with New Zealand, ensuring that Russia has nuclear waste storage technology, evacuating Australians from war-torn Cambodia, finding a missing refugee, lobbying for membership of the Security Council, being inaugural patron of the UON Alumni Chapter in Hong Kong, and even cutting a few ribbons. The variety is infinite, the responsibilities real. Getting to know each country in depth and developing genuine rapport with its decision-makers is one of the greatest challenges – and also one of the most rewarding aspects of the work. The bean counters are prone to argue it can all be done by phone. Prime Ministers disagree. They all find that nothing matches personal contact with their counterparts. Diplomats are on the ground to pave the way and remain to continue the work. It never stops. Many an hour I gratefully drew on the common sense, grounding and lack of pretention with which my University of Newcastle education equipped me.

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International Leadership Colonel Leonard Brennan AM Bachelor of Medicine 1989 A specialist general practitioner and medical administrator, Leonard has extensive experience commanding military health facilities supporting disaster relief, humanitarian assistance, peace enforcement and combat operations around the world. Leonard’s deployments have included the 1998 PNG tsunami, the 2004 Regional Assistance Mission in the Solomon Islands, and the 2011-12 International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan. As Director of Army Health from 2010-13 in Canberra, he developed and implemented the Army’s Support to Wounded, Injured and Ill Program, which supports injured or ill soldiers with rehabilitation and assists in transitioning them to civilian life. This year Leonard was named a Member of the Order of Australia for exceptional service to the Australian Defence Force in the field of health support. Leonard is currently the Chief of Army Fellow at Army Headquarters in Canberra.

My story

Looking back on a military medical career of nearly 30 years and reflecting on how I got here, I now appreciate how my mother’s work as a nursing assistant in aged care facilities and her twin brother’s career as a soldier significantly shaped my own career aspirations. Fantastic experiences with the Maitland Marist School Cadet Unit tipped the balance towards applying for a scholarship to the Royal Military College, which was thwarted by my colour blindness. In the third year of my medical degree I tried again. Successful this time, I was sponsored by the Army to complete my studies at the University of Newcastle. I credit UON’s innovative medical program for developing the skills and motivation necessary to thrive in my military career.

Early postings to a Parachute Battalion and the 1st Parachute Surgical Team provided plenty of experience in managing multiple casualties in a relative austere environment and my first regional engagements in Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia and New Zealand. The postings were split by two years based in Port Moresby immersed in tropical medicine supporting the Papua New Guinea (PNG) Defence Force and family members, assisting the establishment of an Aeromedical Evacuation (AME) service and disaster responses to the Porgera mine explosion and the Rabaul volcanic eruption. An exchange posting to Germany as the officer commanding a British Armoured Field Ambulance Squadron followed. Exercises in Germany, the UK, Belgium and many months in Poland provided a fascinating insight into the recently receded threats of the Cold War in Europe. The leadership skills developed in these early years would hold me in good stead as the next six years would see me leading multinational medical teams for the 1998 PNG tsunami, the Bougainville Peace Monitoring Group, the International Force East Timor and the Regional Assistance Mission to Solomon Islands.

In hindsight the breadth of experience was incredible including surgical assisting, rotary wing AME, humanitarian assistance, forensic medicine, managing malaria and dengue outbreaks and capacity building with local health services. In 2011-12 I had the privilege to serve on the US led Combined Team Uruzgan in Afghanistan. As the senior medical officer I provided medical advice to commanders from the US, Australia, Singapore, Slovakia and The Netherlands as well as the Afghan security forces and the Uruzgan Ministry of Public Health. I coordinated the coalition health support within the Province including two military hospitals and over 15 primary care facilities. It wasn’t until I attended the University of Newcastle’s 2014 Alumni Awards dinner that I fully appreciated the incredible achievements of its alumni and it was very humbling to share the International Leadership award. Whilst the recognition is appreciated, much of the burden of my career has fallen on my family and I wish to acknowledge the support and sacrifice of my wife Megan, an alumna of UON (Bachelor of Economics 1990).

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International Leadership Glenn Kellow Master of Business Administration 1993, Bachelor of Commerce 1989 Glenn is a global business leader who joined the world’s largest private-sector coal company, Peabody Energy, as President and Chief Operating Officer in 2013. Based in Missouri, US, Glenn is responsible for all aspects of the company’s global operations. Prior to Peabody, Glenn spent 28 years with BHP Billiton working across a range of commodities and holding senior leadership posts in the US, Australia and Chile. Glenn is past Chair of Mozal Aluminium Smelter and the Global Nickel Institute; and a former director of the US National Mining Association, the University of Western Australia Energy and Mining Institute, and the Western Australian Chamber of Minerals and Energy. Glenn’s outstanding record of professional achievement was recognised earlier this year with an honorary Doctorate in Science from the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology.

Alumni Medal Professor Patricia Davidson PhD (Behavioural Science) 2003 Patricia, a global leader in cardiac health, is Dean of the School of Nursing at the prestigious Johns Hopkins University in the US. Patricia spent 23 years as a front­ line clinician and nurse manager and nearly a decade researching ways to improve cardiac rehabilitation for women. Her established body of research – which has secured more than $8 million in competitive funding from national and international bodies – focuses on chronic cardiovascular disease, heart failure, palliative care and non­malignant conditions, women’s health and Indigenous cardiovascular health. Patricia has built her research career through positions at the University of Western Sydney, Sydney West Area Health Service, Curtin University and the University of Technology Sydney, authoring 315 peer-reviewed publications, 32 book chapters and 150 peer-reviewed abstracts. A Fellow of several professional organisations and associate editor of multiple journals in her field, Patricia lends her expertise to several organisations including the International Council on Women’s Health Issues, on which she serves as Counsel General.

Newton-John Award Dr Christian Heim Bachelor of Medicine 2000 Christian is a composer and psychiatrist with a research interest in the art/medicine interface. An Associate Senior Lecturer at the University of Queensland, his work on the therapeutic use of Baroque music in dementia has been published in the Australasian Journal on Ageing. Christian is a pianist and percussionist, and co-founder of Crossbow Productions – a theatre company focusing on biographical and historical verse plays. Christian has lectured in composition at the universities of Wollongong and Newcastle, and at the Manhattan School of Music; and has conducted the Manhattan Contemporary Music Ensemble, the Western Sinfonia and the Newcastle Medical Orchestra. A psychiatrist and Fellow of the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists, Christian has worked in NSW and Queensland hospitals.

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National Leadership Paul Graham Bachelor of Economics (Hons) 1996, Bachelor of Economics 1995 Paul is Chief Economist at CSIRO’s Energy Flagship, responsible for providing advice on the global and national economic context relevant to the energy sector, and setting strategic direction regarding economic and social science research. An expert in energy market analysis, forecasting and economic modelling, Paul began his career as a Research Officer at the Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resources Economics in 1996. In 2000 he joined CSIRO, where he has been instrumental in developing world-class energy modelling capability and providing advice to the Australian Government on every major carbon policy. Widely published in his field, Paul was presented with the 2007 CSIRO Strategic Partnership Excellence Award for his seminal contribution to the Energy Futures Forum. This was a two-year project that developed future energy scenarios for Australia through a consensus process between industry, community groups and government.

My story

I started my economics career in 1996 at the Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics (ABARE) where I was mentored by some very talented economists. ABARE honed my writing skills through ruthless editing and introducing me to a wide range of skills by varying my work between the more applied quarterly commodity market analysis and forecasting to longer term economic research into topics such as non-competitive market behaviour. I was always attracted to using quantitative models and I initially applied these to better understanding how energy markets worked and how Australia could maximise wealth from its energy resources. However, I inevitably became interested in the topic of climate change because energy is the sector that will have to undergo the most adjustment to address this issue.

As I became familiar with the topic, it was becoming clearer to me that new low emission technologies would be critical to how the energy sector responds to the challenge of reducing its greenhouse gas emissions. However, I wasn’t confident that I would ever be able to learn enough about technology if I only ever worked with other economists. In 2000 I jumped at the opportunity to work as an economist embedded with scientists and engineers at the CSIRO’s division of energy technology. This gave me the opportunity to work with people who understood technologies in-depth but still apply my economics training to assist both CSIRO and its partners to understand the potential role of these technologies in addressing energy challenges. CSIRO also has a stronger mandate to work closely with industry to problem-solve. The highlights for me have been working with Australia’s leading energy companies and Commonwealth departments of Treasury, Environment and Industry to understand the potential role of different technologies in reducing emissions and how energy markets would respond to carbon pricing.

More recently I’ve also been working to understand the implications for the future of the electricity grid, following strong retail electricity price increases and uptake of solar panels. I’ve also had the privilege of working with leading transport industry companies to develop responses to the oil price spike of 2008 and developing a roadmap for use of biofuels in aviation. Over time I needed to build a team and learn the skills of project and research portfolio management. Like any modern professional I also had to work through how to strike a work-life balance. If anything the energy sector seems to be changing faster and facing even greater challenges at this point in time so I’m still very passionate about working to understand our options for creating our energy future. 1 Vice-Chancellor, Professor Caroline McMillen. 2 Beryl Nashar finalist Dr Lakshmi Nayana Vootakuru (left) and friend. 3 Alumni President Belinda Smith. 4 International Leadership finalist Robert Lang and guests. 5 Alumni Medal recipient Geoff Bentley. 6 Entertainer Jack Dawson.

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Regional Leadership Susan Ivens Master of Business Administration 2001, Graduate Diploma in Education 1979 Bachelor of Arts 1978 Susan is a business visionary who is responsible for providing public health facilities to the Westlakes area of Lake Macquarie. Together with her husband John, Susan developed Toronto Private Hospital and Medical Centre in 1988 before establishing a similar facility in Maitland in 2001. The businesses employed more than 300 staff with a combined turnover in excess of $38 million. Susan sold the businesses in 2007 to concentrate on Directorship roles and is currently a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Company Directors; board member of Regional Development Australia Hunter; a director of the Hunter Water Corporation; and a past member of the Hunter Area Consultative Committee. In 2006 Susan became the first woman to receive the Hunter Business Person of the Year award.

Exceptional Community Service Dr Judy White AM PhD (History) 2002, Hon MA 1988 Judy is a passionate promoter of the Hunter Valley region who has written about the history of the area in eight of her 11 books. She was instrumental in the establishment of the Hunter Valley Research Foundation and a Board member for 20 years. She has also sat on the boards of Dr Barnardo’s Training Farm, the Australian Elizabethan Theatre Trust, the Hunter Economic Development Corporation, the Hunter Institute of Technology, and the University of Newcastle Foundation. “I have had the honour of being a part of, and contributing to, numerous education and economic Boards within the Hunter Valley,” she said.

“To be a positive contributor to various networks, one needs to be informed. My education from UON encouraged me to structure my research, thoughts and conclusion – a skill that I believe has enabled me to fully understand and contribute to discussions about various civic matters. “I believe UON alumni are leaders in their fields and Boards would greatly benefit from their expertise and practical, analytical education. I would like to encourage all alumni to get involved in community work by joining various Boards and offering invaluable advice.” Judy created the archives of the Royal Agricultural Society; and the Seaborn, Broughton and Walford Foundation. She personally negotiated the donation to UON’s Archives of architectural drawings worth $3 million. In 1998 Judy received a Bicentennial Women Award and was named a Member of the Order of Australia for service to the community.

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Beryl Nashar Young Researcher Dr Alison Thorburn PhD (Immunology and Microbiology) 2011 Since gaining her PhD just three years ago, Alison has made a globally significant breakthrough in asthma research. She is the first to show that a maternal diet high in fibre prevents the development of asthma in offspring, and her findings are also applicable to other diseases such as food allergy, arthritis and cardiovascular disease. Alison has presented her research at conferences across the world and is a regular reviewer for international top-rating journals in her field. A postdoctoral research scientist at Monash University, Victoria, Alison has received several awards for her work and has already supervised six honours students to completion in her short career.

Young Alumni Jacob Cass Bachelor of Visual Communication Design 2009 In 2007 Jacob established JUST Creative, a graphic design company and blog that has attracted more than three-billion views. Jacob specialises in brand identity design and his work has been featured in exhibitions at national venues including the Australian Centre for Contemporary Art and the Melbourne Museum. In 2010 Jacob was headhunted by Carrot Creative, a digital agency in Brooklyn, New York. Since relocating from Sydney, Jacob has worked with Nintendo, Jerry Seinfeld, Disney and VitaminWater and is currently employed as an Interactive Designer at advertising agency Ammirati in New York City. Jacob has 17 design awards and is widely published in the world’s leading design publications, books, magazines and newspapers. He is a force on social media with more than 70,000 Twitter followers and 50,000 blog subscribers.

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Finalists Professional Excellence Recognises an outstanding record of professional excellence in leadership, knowledge and professional practice

Dr Suzanne Hill PhD (Medicine) 1994, Graduate Diploma in Epidemiology 1997 Bachelor of Medicine 1983 Suzanne is an internationallyrecognised leader in pharmacoeconomics and public health. She is the Chair of the Australian Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee, and holds two visiting professional appointments at the University of Melbourne and Australian National University.

Dr Qing-Bin Lu PhD (Physics) 1997 Qing-Bin is a professor in Physics, Chemistry and Biology, and a University Research Chair at the University of Waterloo, Canada, with a remarkable record of achievement across disciplines including physics, chemistry, environment, climate, biology and medicine.

Professor David Sibbritt PhD (Statistics) 2002, Master of Medical Statistics 1997 Graduate Diploma in Medical Statistics 1993, Bachelor of Mathematics 1991 David is Professor of Epidemiology at the University of Technology Sydney and Conjoint Professor of Biostatistics at UON. He has quickly become one of the world’s leading public health/ health services researchers in the field.

NewtonJohn Award Recognises innovation or creativity in any field that has improved cultural life

Dr Karen Hitchcock PhD (English) 2010, Bachelor of Medicine 2002

Grant Street Bachelor of Computer Science 1996

Karen is an author and doctor working in Acute and General Medicine at the Alfred Hospital in Melbourne. She has published in both medical and literary journals, including the Best Australian Short Stories anthologies.

Grant is a Senior Systems Engineer with Animal Logic, the Sydney-based design animation and virtual effects studio. He has worked on visual effects for feature films including Happy Feet and The Lego Movie.

Chad Watson Bachelor of Arts (Communication Studies) 1993 Chad is editor of the Newcastle Herald, having started there as a cadet in 1989. Chad has helped transform the Herald from a print-centric business into a multimedia news service.

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International Leadership Recognises an outstanding graduate who has made significant contributions as a leader in international business, commerce, industry or public service

Robert Bakewell Bachelor of Commerce 1987 Robert’s financial and global commercial experience spans more than 25 years working mainly outside of Australia. He joined Arrium Limited as Chief Financial Officer in 2010.

Dr Robert Lang PhD (Electrical and Computer Engineering) 1997, Bachelor of Engineering 1993 Rob is the Vice President, Head of SMARTS, at NASDAQ OMX, a global market leader in the financial industry for trading compliance and surveillance software.

National Leadership Recognises an outstanding graduate who has made significant contributions as a leader in national business, commerce, industry or public service

Emeritus Professor Phil Foreman AM Teachers College Certificate 1960 Regarded as one of Australia’s most esteemed and experienced educators, Phil is Emeritus Professor in Education at UON and was Chair of the NSW Institute of Teachers from 2007-13.

Professor Johana Susana Jembise PhD (Linguistics) 2007

Associate Professor Kessarawan Nilvarangkul PhD (Nursing) 2002

Susana is an influential figure in Papuan education and an advocate of women’s rights. She is the first female Papuan to ever be inaugurated as a professor, and in 2014 she was appointed Minister of Women’s Empowerment and Child Protection, in the cabinet of President Joko Widodo.

Kessarawan is a respected leader within the Faculty of Nursing at Khon Kaen University, Thailand, and Director of the University Research and Training Centre for Enhancing the Quality of Life of Working Age People.

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Regional Leadership Recognises an outstanding graduate who has made significant contributions as a leader in regional business, commerce, industry or public service

Michael Osborne Master of Environmental Studies 1994, Bachelor of Engineering 1989 In 2014 Michael celebrates 10 years as an elected Greens Councillor on Newcastle’s City Council. He is coordinator of the Green Corridor Coalition, an alliance of more than 50 community groups dedicated to protecting biodiversity corridors in the Hunter.

Paul Siderovski Bachelor of Commerce 1996 Paul is the founder and Managing Director of leading accountancy firm SiDCOR, which ranked number 20 in BRW Magazine’s Best Places to Work List in 2013. He also holds the rights in Australia, New Zealand and Hawaii for the largest yoghurt chain in the world, Yogurtland.

Todd Williams Master of Business Administration 2004, Bachelor of Business 2000 Todd is CEO of Regional Development Australia (RDA) Hunter. RDA is a national network engaging with all levels of government, business and community groups to support the development of regions.

Exceptional Community Service Recognises the work of an outstanding alumni member who has made significant contributions to the relationship between the University of Newcastle and its community

Trevor Hazell Bachelor of Science 1974

Dr Chee Hsiang Liow Bachelor of Medicine 1998

Trevor is a nationallyrecognised mental health professional who has been instrumental in framing programs and policies that build the capacity of communities and individuals to address the impact of mental illness.

Chee is a highly-accomplished medical professional committed to improving community health in povertystricken areas of rural China. In 2002 he joined Bless China International, which provides healthcare, community services development and child services to 42,000 people annually.

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Beryl Nashar Young Researcher Recognises outstanding research achievements and contributions by a graduate aged 35 years or younger at the time of nomination

Dr Sarah Gordon PhD (Medical Biochemistry) 2009, Bachelor of Biomedical Science (Hons) 2004, Bachelor of Biomedical Science 2003 Sarah is a medical biochemist who, at age 32, is already internationally-recognised for her expertise in the role of the protein synaptophysin, which is present in the neurons in the brain and spinal cord.

Dr David Pickham Master of Nursing 2006 Bachelor of Nursing 2000

Dr Lakshmi Nayana Vootakuru Bachelor of Medicine 2006

David completed his PhD at the University of California, where he studied long QT syndrome – a condition in which the heart muscle takes longer than normal to recharge between beats. He is currently Director of Transdiciplinary Research at Stanford Hospital and Clinics in California.

Lakshmi Nayana is completing her training as an anaesthetist and aspires to work at the nexus of policy, governance and clinical medicine. She holds a Masters of Public Health in Health Policy and Management from Harvard University where she studied with a full academic scholarship as a Menzies Scholar.

Renee Boundy Bachelor of Laws/Diploma of Legal Practice 2002, Bachelor of Arts 2000

Anthony Gunther Bachelor of Engineering 2008

Young Alumni Recognises outstanding professional achievements and contributions by a graduate aged 35 years or younger at the time of nomination

Nicky Antonius Master of Information Technology 2011 Nicky is Director Analytics with the Australian Government’s Department of Health, where he implements reporting and analytics capabilities to enable evidencebased regulatory policies and operational outcomes.

Renee has become one of Australasia’s leading banking and finance lawyers and at just age 32 became partner of leading international law firm Allens.

At the age of 24, Anthony started his own civil contracting and engineering business that now boasts a fleet of owned machinery; offices in Perth, Karratha, Newcastle; and a team of multi-skilled employees.

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The first UON medical graduates, 1982

Join the celebrations We are finalising the yearround calendar of celebrations for 2015 including museum exhibitions and alumni reunion programs. We will also have some great free lectures such as the Morpeth Lecture, the Barton Lecture, the New Professors Talks and the Disruptive Innovation Series, just to name a few! This is just the start. Keep an eye on our website for more details on these exciting celebrations

MARCH Launch of the 50th anniversary ‘Our Community, Your University’ celebrations. John Turner Memorial Lecture with eminent WWI historian, Professor Keith Jeffery. APRIL Graduation Parade throughout the streets of Newcastle City. New Professors Talk with Professor Peter Radoll, Wollotuka Institute. MAY John McPhee Lecture, ‘Human Rights in North Korea’ with the Hon. Michael Kirby AC CMG. Alumni and Community Anniversary Appeal for the Shaping Futures Scholarship Fund. Launch of ‘UON Alumni Connect’ series, connecting graduates with sector leaders. JUNE Showcasing ‘In-kind Giving to UON’ exhibition launch. ‘Our Community, Your University’ exhibition, Newcastle Museum, including a community festival day. SEPTEMBER Embrace China Festival, Beaumont Street, Hamilton. Great Wall of China Walk, a Celebrating 50 challenge to raise funds for disadvantaged students. ‘Our Community, Your University’ exhibition, Central Coast and Cessnock. OCTOBER Alumni Homecoming. Alumni Awards Gala Dinner.

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Your university is turning 50 In 2015, UON celebrates the major milestone of our 50th anniversary. UON’s founders had a clear vision to create a University that delivered excellence in education and research and innovation.

The University is home to researchers and experts who are in the top one per cent in their field in the world in health, engineering and science, the humanities and social sciences, and in the emerging creative industries. As our reputation continues to grow, academic, teaching and professional staff from every corner of the globe are drawn to work at UON.

In 2015, we will celebrate the outstanding achievements of our alumni, staff, students and community, which have contributed to the remarkable success of the University.

On the cusp of our 50th year, UON has been recognised as Australia’s number one university under the age of 50 in the international QS ‘Top 50 Under 50’ rankings, and in the top 20 universities in the world. We have come a long way since 1965, and in 2015 we will be celebrating with our communities.

With just 1,700 students starting their studies at our bushland campus in 1965, today there are close to 125,000 alumni across the world who have studied across campuses at Callaghan, Newcastle city, on the Central Coast, in Port Macquarie, and in Sydney and Singapore, and online through

Share your story and your photos Do you have a story to share about the University of Newcastle? We would love to hear from you

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News Honorary Fellowship for former UON Chancellor Professor Trevor Waring AM (above) is one of only 14 people to be made an Honorary Fellow of the Australian Psychological Society (APS) in the organisation’s 50-year history. The honour recognises Professor Waring’s extraordinary contribution to APS and to the advancement of psychological knowledge or practice. Professor Waring, a former UON Chancellor, is a Clinical Psychologist and conjoint Professor of Psychology at UON. He holds an Honorary degree from UON, as well as a Master of Science and a Bachelor of Arts.

UON receives more than $27 million in research funding UON continues to cement its position as a global research leader, securing millions in funding from the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) and the Australian Research Council (ARC) for research projects. A drug trial, co-led by UON graduate Professor Mark Parsons, has already delivered rapid treatment benefits for stroke victims and received more than $3.9 million from the NHMRC. Overall, UON researchers received more than $17.8 million in the 2014 NHMRC funding round. The ARC’s 2015 Major Grants recognised 27 research projects across UON with almost $11 million in funding. Professor Daichao Sheng from the Faculty of Engineering and Built Environment secured the University’s largest grant of almost $800,000 to undertake a study on the mechanics of hard soils and soft rocks and their influence on the stability and serviceability of buildings. To read more about the exciting projects that received funding, visit

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Highly successful architect and town planner Esa (top left) is the recipient of the Malaysian Australian Alumni Council Distinguished Alumni Award, recognising his outstanding achievements and successes that have earned him national and international prominence. Esa is the founder and director of architectural and planning firm Akitek Jururancang (Malaysia) Sdn Bhd (AJM), and is responsible for projects including the Subang Jaya township and the master plans for the city of Kuala Lumpur. Esa is also the newlyelected President of the International Union of Architects (UIA), representing nearly 1.3 million architects in more than 100 countries. Also at the Malaysian Australian Alumni Council Awards, commercial airline pilot Faiz (top right) took home the Community Award for his significant and sustainable contribution towards critical issues in society. Faiz works with the Malaysian National Space Agency to deliver awareness programs about aerospace to students, and is President of the Astronautical Association of Malaysia.

UON Alumni win international awards Congratulations to our outstanding alumni, Tan Sri Dato’ Sri Ar Hj Esa Hj Mohamed, Captain Mohammed Faiz Kamaludin, Dr Chee Hsiang Liow and Alistair Briscombe who have won international alumni awards.

Chee (bottom left), a highly accomplished medical professional, has won the Australia China Alumni Association award for Research and Innovation. Chee is the Chairperson of Bless China International, a NGO that works to improve community health in poverty-stricken areas of rural China. Alistair (bottom right), a Master of Clinical Epidemiology graduate, is the recipient of the Australian (Vietnam) Alumni Award for Friendship, recognising his efforts on the design and implementation management of HIV and human trafficking prevention programs. Each of these awards are highly-competitive and are open to graduates from all Australian universities living in these countries.

Prestigious accolades for UON professors UON’s Professor Nick Talley (far right) and Professor Behdad Moghtaderi (right) have been honoured with prestigious accolades at the 2014 NSW Science and Engineering Awards. Professor Talley, an internationally-renowned gastroenterological research leader, received the ‘Excellence in Biological Sciences’ award; and Professor Moghtaderi, a world-leader in energy technologies research, took home the ‘Renewable Energy Innovation’ award. The annual awards recognise the achievements of leading researchers and their efforts to generate economic, health, environmental or technological benefits for the state.

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Alumni around the world

Alumni in Sydney, the Hunter and Melbourne It was great to see so many of our alumni at the recent Q&A panel-style discussions in Sydney, Melbourne and the Hunter. We asked panellists across industry and arts to ‘invent tomorrow’. Our experts had five minutes to sketch their vision for Australia in a field they felt passionate about.

Alumni in Singapore New Colombo Plan (NCP) scholarship students studying in Singapore have been welcomed to the city by our local Chapter, led by President Kaushik Bhanushali. The NCP scholars also met Colombo Plan scholars from the 70s at an event in August, organised by the Australia Alumni Singapore and The Australian High Commission.

Alumni in Melbourne Graduate Lindy Burns (second from left) presented the Melbourne Alumni Chapter’s first professional development event in October. Lindy, presenter of Evenings with Lindy Burns on 777 ABC Melbourne and ABC Victoria, fascinated the alumni crowd as she spoke about how she came to be in the media, how it operates, and where it is going.

Leading Indigenous historian awarded prestigious fellowship Australia’s leading Indigenous historian, UON’s Professor John Maynard, has been elected as a Fellow of the esteemed Academy of the Social Sciences in Australia, recognising his outstanding achievements promoting the advancement of the social sciences, through his work in Indigenous history. Joint Director of The Wollotuka Institute, Professor Maynard’s research has concentrated on the intersections of Aboriginal political and social history and made significant contributions to the research fields of Aboriginal race relations and sports history both nationally and internationally; and the rise of organised Aboriginal political activism during the 1920s. Professor Maynard has also secured $600,000 in funding from the Australian Research Council to examine the history of the NSW Aborigines Protection/Welfare Board from 1883-1969.

Architects Medallion win Master of Architecture (Hons) 2013 graduate, Sacha Parkinson, has won the NSW Architects Registration Board 2014 Architects Medallion for her groundbreaking proposal in relation to the redevelopment of Newcastle’s CBD and high speed rail. The Architects Medallion is the highest accolade for a graduate in NSW. Sacha’s win follows that of Angus Vinden, also a UON graduate, who won the Architects Medallion in 2013.

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UON graduate wins Winston Churchill Fellowship Alesha Bleakley, a Faculty of Education and Arts graduate, has won a prestigious Winston Churchill Fellowship and has joined 105 other Australians on an overseas study tour. Alesha, a technology teacher from Kincumber NSW, is visiting the US, UK, Netherlands, Switzerland, Germany and Finland as part of her research journey. She’s studying technology education of the future, in particular the role of computer-aided design and computer-aided manufacturing technologies. The Winston Churchill Memorial Trust has funded more than 3,900 Australian Fellowships, providing talented Australians with the opportunity to explore their areas of expertise across the globe.

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On behalf of our students and researchers, UON would like to thank all our staff, many of whom are alumni, who support the University through philanthropic donations.

Are you passionate about UON? UON is committed to continuing to build a culture of staff giving and in 2015 will launch a Staff Giving Committee. The committee is part of a wider program that aims to give UON staff and conjoints greater opportunity to experience the satisfaction that comes with supporting and being involved in something they are passionate about. We are looking for dedicated people who are interested in providing fresh ideas, energy and advice. Membership will be open to all staff, retired or former staff members and conjoint staff committed to supporting UON through philanthropy. Well-known alumnus and staff member Dr Bernie Curran has been asked to be the inaugural Chair of the committee. “I’m honoured to be working with my colleagues to help raise more funds to support our talented students and dedicated researchers,” Bernie said. If you are interested in being part of this committee please email

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UON staff giving Among the University community there is a group that has gone above and beyond to make a difference to the lives of students and researchers. Through philanthropic support, more than 320 staff and conjoints, many of whom are also alumni, have helped build a culture of giving to support education and advance our communities. One program strongly supported by the UON community is the Shaping Futures Scholarship Fund, which supports scholarships to help dedicated and capable students facing significant challenges – those students ‘most in need’. Through the generous contributions of UON staff more than $42,000 has provided 41 students with Shaping Futures Scholarships since 2011. Geoffrey Evans, a UON graduate and engineering professor, is a regular giver to the Shaping Futures Fund.

“Helping students most in need is really a meaningful thing and something I’m passionate about,” he said. “I see first-hand the difference that the support makes to a student.” The Glen Avery Scholarship Fund is another scheme close to the hearts of many staff members. The fund was established in memory of staff member and graduate Glen Avery, who passed away suddenly in 2008. Glen’s colleagues and friends have worked tirelessly to ensure he is remembered and a student scholarship is awarded each year in his name. More than $83,000 has been raised to date through fun events such as trivia, barbecues, movie screenings and sing-a-long nights. To recognise staff and alumni as some of UON’s greatest supporters, this year the University held a Staff Giving ‘Thank you’ Morning Tea. The event, hosted by Chancellor Paul Jeans and Vice-Chancellor Professor Caroline McMillen, was an opportunity to celebrate the difference that philanthropy has made to the lives of students, research efforts and community programs.

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Graduation We’re thrilled to welcome the latest University graduates to UON Alumni! The Ourimbah graduations in July and October Callaghan graduations celebrated the achievements of more than 4,200 students.

At Callaghan, honorary degrees were presented to former UON Deputy Vice-Chancellor, the Hon. John Price AM, who has supported the University for three decades as a University Council member and also acted as Chancellor on two occasions; and Professor George Klinzing, ViceProvost for Research and Professor of Chemical Engineering at the University of Pittsburgh. Congratulations to all of our graduates – we wish you all the best for your next exciting adventure! Don’t forget to stay in touch with UON by updating your details at Check out the UON alumni facebook page to tag your friends and share pictures of grad!

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Alumni in print The Burial

By Courtney Collins - Bachelor of Arts (Hons) 1999 In 1921, Jessie is on the run. A circus rider, horse and cattle rustler, and convict, this 26-year-old is just a woman wanting to survive. Two men crash through the bushland, desperate to claim the reward on her head: one her lover, the other the law. And while all odds are stacked against her, there is one who will never give up on her – her own child, who awaits her. This debut novel set in the Australian outback about a female horse thief, her bid for freedom, and the two men trying to capture her, was nominated for five awards and has been optioned for a feature film. Available at

Returning By Francesca Suters - Bachelor of Laws / Diploma of Legal Practice 2004, Bachelor of Arts 2002 Rita is 29, married to her soul mate and a mother to two adorable young daughters. She has always thought of a new year as a clean slate, but one New Year’s Day is a clean slate like no other, when Rita wakes up as her 16-year-old self, living her 16-year-old life. A thought-provoking story, Returning seamlessly invites the reader into both adult and teenage mindsets and tackles the what-ifs. What if you were able to live your teenage years with the wisdom of your adult mind? What if you met your partner at a different time? What if your regrets could be re-written? Available at

All Things Considered… By Tarnya Davis - Master of Psychology (Clinical) 1995, Bachelor of Arts (Hons) 1993 All Things Considered is a collection of thoughts on the stuff of life: children, parenting issues, relationships, bodies, minds and even death. With more than 20 years’ experience as a psychologist, Tarnya has been a witness to the stories of thousands of patients. All Things Considered brings together a wealth of psychological research along with anecdotes that have been of help to those in her care, mixed in with the real-life experience that only comes from being the mother of four young boys. Each piece gives insight on a different aspect of everyday life. Tarnya shares with her readers a range of ways to view a situation and help gain a more balanced perspective on it. Available at

Death at the Blue Elephant By Janeen Webb - PhD (English) 1983, Bachelor of Arts 1974 Death at the Blue Elephant is the first story collection by the respected and multiple award-winning Australian writer and editor Janeen Webb. She is a recipient of the World Fantasy Award, the Peter MacNamara SF Achievement Award, the Australian Aurealis Award, and is a three-time winner of the Ditmar Award. In her introduction to this book, Pamela Sargent describes these 18 stories as evoking a “combination of suspenseful anticipation, nervous apprehension, and total absorption in something far removed from my own experience”. Available at

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Meet your 2015 Alumni Advisory Committee AAC members are elected at the Annual General Meeting of Convocation to represent the views and interests of UON alumni. The Committee meets six times a year to provide advice on any University matter related to alumni. PRESIDENT Belinda Smith (above) Master of Business Administration 2008 Manager of Commercial Business Hunter TAFE VICE PRESIDENT Nick Killin Master of Business Administration 1986 Business Development Manager, GHD IMMEDIATE PAST PRESIDENT Brian Kennaugh Bachelor of Business 1993 CEO, Hunter Financial

GENERAL MEMBERS James Callender Bachelor of Commerce 2014 Accountant, H&M Accountants John Church Bachelor of Arts 1989; Master of Business Administration 2012 Director, John Church Advertising Lillian Eastwood Master of Educational Studies 2000 Indigenous Alumni Coordinator The Wollotuka Institute, UON Murray Evans Bachelor of Commerce 1987 Partner, PricewaterhouseCoopers Belinda Grealy Bachelor of Engineering (Hons I) 1998 Service Delivery Manager, Pacific National

Feel free to get in touch with members and make use of the AAC as your voice within the University. Contact E T+61 2 4921 7454

Neil Morpeth PhD (Classics) 1988 Associate Professor, English Language and Foundation Studies Centre, UON David Newham Diploma in Aboriginal Studies 1997 Bachelor of Social Science 2007 Aboriginal Programs Advisor, BHP Billiton

Jason Pauling Bachelor of Science (Hons) 1997 Master of Business Administration 2000 Master of Human Resource Management and Industrial Relations 2001 Master of Environmental and Business Management 2003 Operations Manager, Vanguard Group Meg Purser Bachelor of Arts (Communication Studies) 1993 Managing Director, Purser Corporate Communication Adriana Sung Bachelor of Food Science and Human Nutrition 2010 Administrator, Australian Centre for Microscopy and Microanalysis James Tocci Bachelor of Business 1997 General Manager, Hudson Newcastle Chad Watson Bachelor of Arts (Communication Studies) 1993 Editor, Newcastle Herald (Fairfax Media)

Contact Alumni Relations +61 2 4921 6699

LinkedIn UON Alumni, Australia

The Seahorse Alumni magazine Edition 2, 2014