Awards to honour alumni who have shaped our world

April 24, 2018
The 2018 Alumni Awards honour recent graduates and high-achieving alumni
The Alumni Awards return for another year, celebrating the achievements of our alumni and recent graduates and their contributions to the University and the wider community.

The University community will come together on 10 May to celebrate the 6 Alumni Award winners and 19 Graduate Medal finalists, who have achieved excellence in their respective fields.

From bringing musical education to regional Australia, revolutionising e-finance, or providing humanitarian aid to parts of the world most in need, all of our alumni winners and graduate finalists for 2018 have achieved incredible results.

Educator Michelle Leonard, Professor Rose McGready, Professor David Black, Doctor Vandana Joshi, Doctor Mohit Tolani and entrepreneur Nick Molnar will all be recognised for their achievements, both in Australia and overseas, at a ceremony in the Great Hall.

19 Graduate Medal finalists who have achieved excellence and contributed greatly to the University community will also be honoured at a lunchtime ceremony on 9 May, with winners announced on the day.

The award winners were selected by a panel of judges including the Alumni Council, University academics and professional staff, after being nominated by colleagues, family and people from the broader community. Nominations for the next Alumni Awards open later in the year. Find out more information about 2019 nominations.

Dr Vandana Joshi MBBS, MPH, DCH (MPHlth ’99)

Alumni Award for International Achievement

With hard work and grit, Dr Vandana Joshi has made it through several years of working in emergency situations and war-torn countries. From tsunami-affected Andaman and Nicobar Islands, to Sierra Leone where she worked with the UNICEF country team fighting the ebola crisis, she provided outstanding support to affected people, while raising sizeable resources from CARE Australia through ten micro-financing projects. Vandana has also worked in various capacities for Madhya Pradesh State health services, WHO, CARE India, USAID and UNICEF in India. She is currently in Bhutan, working to make it the first country in the region to have zero mother-to-child transmission of HIV.

Nicholas Molnar (BCom ’12)

Alumni Award for Innovation and Entrepreneurship

Nick Molnar is a serial entrepreneur with extensive experience in online retail. Nick is co-founder and CEO of Afterpay, a leading Australian retail payments innovator and one of Australia’s fastest growing fintech companies. Afterpay facilitates commerce between retail merchants and their end-customers – offering a ‘buy now, take now, pay later’ service. Afterpay currently has over half a million customers and over 5,000 retail merchants. Molnar took his company public in April 2016, listing it on the Australian Stock Exchange at a market capitalisation of $123 million.

Dr Mohit Tolani (BMedSci ’10)

Outstanding Achievements of Young Alumni Award

Dr Mohit Tolani is dedicated to taking oral health and oral health education into regional centres. He is very hands on in helping people, particularly Aboriginal and Torres Straight Islander peoples, and is active on numerous committees. Mohit led the international project, Oral Health Literacy, which aimed to reduce the inequities in healthcare between Indigenous, migrant and the general population within Australia.

Professor David Black AO (BSc ’59 MSc ’60)

Alumni Award for Professional Achievement

Professor David Black is recognised as one of the world’s leading heterocyclic chemists and has made major contributions in heterocyclic chemistry, coordination chemistry and natural products. His achievements in research and teaching have been built around his widely recognised expertise in organic chemistry, but his parallel mission has been to help guide and shape some of the world’s peak scientific organisations. He is also the first Australian to become the secretary-general of the International Council for Science.

Professor Rose McGready (MBBS ’90)

Alumni Award for Service to Humanity

Professor Rose McGready has lived and worked on the Thai-Burma border since 1994, providing maternal health services and education. In recent years, her work on the effects of malaria on foetal growth has significantly improved our understanding of maternal malaria. Rose and her team have documented over 70,000 accurately dated pregnancy outcomes and reversed the trend of unsupervised homebirths and maternal mortality. She is also focused on capacity-building for local staff.

Michelle Leonard OAM (BMusEd ’93)

Alumni Award for Cultural Contribution

Growing up in north-west NSW, Michelle Leonard learned to play piano and clarinet but noticed there weren’t many opportunities for regional students to pursue music. Her business Moorambilla Voices creates opportunities for underprivileged children in rural areas to access music education. She has taught many indigenous children and her work has a strong community focus. Moorambilla Voices has opened countless doors for many of its students, some of whom have walked out with a scholarship for Knox Grammar School or an invitation to study at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music.

Graduate Medal Finalists

  • Sam Coggins – Finalist for Convocation Medal
  • Joshua Critchley-Marrow – Finalist for Convocation Medal
  • Grace Henry – Finalist for Convocation Medal
  • Michael Rees – Finalist for Convocation Medal
  • Hope Williams – Finalist for Convocation Medal
  • Alyssa Glass – Finalist for Edmund Barton Medal
  • Georgina Kreutzer – Finalist for Edmund Barton Medal
  • Dr Kieran Muir – Finalist for Edmund Barton Medal
  • Dr Fernando Gordillo Altamirano – Finalist John C Harsanyi Medal
  • Dr Shivaughn Hem-Lee-Forsyth – Finalist for John C Harsanyi Medal
  • Drew Trahms – Finalist for John C Harsanyi Medal
  • Matthew Hood – Finalist for Nigel C Barker Medal
  • Nicholas Hough – Finalist for Nigel C Barker Medal
  • Dr Andrew Stuart Lane – Finalist for Nigel C Barker Medal
  • Dr Jennifer Baldwin – Finalist for Rita and John Cornforth Medal
  • Dr Kylie Gwynne – Finalist for Rita and John Cornforth Medal
  • Dr Marnee McKay – Finalist for Rita and John Cornforth Medal
  • Dean Cross – Finalist for Sister Alison Bush Medal
  • Holle Maree Shillingworth – Finalist for Sister Alison Bush Medal


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