Community Legends Program

Community Legends

Championing individuals who went above and beyond during the COVID-19 pandemic.

This exhibition celebrates the kindness and resilience shown by individuals within the University of Adelaide. Our Community Legends were nominated by their peers, colleagues and those who saw them go the extra mile. These portraits created by local artist Fruzsi Kenez honour the contributions they have made to our community. 

Artist impression of Beth

Dr Beth Loveys – the student’s rock

"I would have dropped out of this semester if it wasn’t for Beth"

The calm supportive mentorship Beth provided for her students during the COVID-19 crisis shone through in the many nominations she received. 

With stress and uncertainty mounting, Beth demonstrated to her students she understood the pressures they were facing. Emails never went unanswered and minds were always put to rest.

From what we’ve heard on the grapevine, being an exceptional educator is just business as usual for Beth. It’s nice to know the training of our future wine makers and agricultural scientists is in such great hands! 


Artist impression of Ashish

Ashish Bagai – the support networker

“Ashish has been consistently there for those around him…”

When COVID-19 hit many international students’ dreams were shattered. Newly arrived students were particularity vulnerable as restrictions left them isolated without friends or family.

Ashish Bagai stepped up by providing peer support for students most deeply affected by the crisis. Leveraging a WhatsApp group he’d created, Ashish has helped over a thousand students adjust to their new situation.

During the COVID-crisis, one of the most worrying issues for group members was the loss of income from part-time employment. Working with the community, Ashish helped raise awareness by championing the students’ perspective at the highest level of the University.

This Community Legend has shown how much you can achieve using your own initiative, as well as volunteering with formal programs in the Faculty of Professions.


International peer mentors portraits

Hien Minh Vu, Simone Basso, Nahalina Yu, Alison Roennfeldt and Willa Budiman – the caring community

“…so proud of the care and commitment our volunteers demonstrated.”

As Senior International Peer mentors these five students took their volunteering role to another level during the COVID-19 crisis.

The peer mentoring program is a scheme which aims to help international students create a sense of belonging at the University. With restrictions limiting social events, these Community Legends planned innovative ways to keep the community connected.

CommuniTeas were moved to Zoom and provided exactly what people needed; information sessions and good old-fashioned amusement.

This fab five also created an Instagram takeover for 30 days of quarantine fun. They showcased their talents in the name of entertainment through cooking demos, karaoke and workout tips.

Their energy ensured that others felt supported and connected.

Dimitra Lekkas

Associate Professor Dimitra Lekkas – the creative teacher

“She is always smiling and shining with positivity during Zoom lessons, making us forget temporarily that we are in the midst of a pandemic.”

How do you teach dental students practical skills during a pandemic? Dimi showed her classes not only was it possible, but it could also be fun! When face-to-face learning was put on hold, she ensured her students could still flourish. Undergraduates were challenged to develop their manual dexterity through creative teaching practice. Tasks such as soap carving and diamond art guided students to learn the dexterity skills and hand eye coordination needed to successfully treat patients in the future. 

Having worked through the HIV epidemic as a student herself, current dental students benefited from her expertise as well as her ability to empathise. Described as going ‘beyond her job’ and providing ‘unwavering support’ she never failed to reassure her students supporting both their academic and emotional well-being. 


Melanie Ford

Melanie Ford – the super woman

“She has made an enormous difference to one of the most vulnerable sectors of our University community during this frightening crisis…”

As an international PhD student, Mel saw many of her fellow postgraduates at Waite Campus experience stress and anxiety relating to their studies as well as losing vital income from casual jobs. Like Mel, many students had to endure the COVID-19 global pandemic while living in a foreign country with very little family or social support.  Some of the international students had only just arrived in Adelaide and were understandably lost and confused. 

Mel collected donations and put together care packages of food and essential items that were delivered to Waite Campus international students. She spent countless hours scouring the supermarkets for rice, pasta, toilet rolls and hand sanitiser. She reached out to local farmers and directly purchased fresh produce for the care packages, thus helping students and farmers alike. Additionally, Mel raised funds to assist at-risk students with rent, family support, petrol and supermarket vouchers.  

As a result, Mel became a vital contact and support to many of the students and they trusted her to advocate on their behalf. She represented them and shared their views with the Adelaide Graduate Centre, the Agriculture, Food and Wine Head of School and Executive in a number of forums. Without her, the true situation of many of the students would never have been known. 


Emma Maley

Emma Maley – the friendly face

“…she's so helpful everyone always comes to her if they need help and if she can't help you she'll find someone who can.”

As a Senior Resident at Roseworthy, Emma remained living on campus and helped her fellow students during the COVID-19 pandemic. She has a smile for each person she meets (including online!) and her good vibes worked their magic during a difficult time. She is described as easy to talk to and having a positive impact on those around her.

As well as holding down a part-time job and continuing her veterinary studies, Emma still has time to contribute to a number of voluntary committees and including assisting the Adelaide University Union with social events. She also acts as her year level representative, known by staff and students for her meaningful contribution.

As a friendly face at Roseworthy Campus, her door is always open to anyone who needs a chat. Like all community legends she's always looking for ways to be involved and help others. 

Creating the portraits

About the artist

Fruzsi Kenez is an Adelaide-based painter, ceramicist and curator known for her unique style of portraiture and creative workshop offerings. She is very passionate about visual arts and loves teaching her special style of illustration and ceramic workshops both locally and interstate.

The University of Adelaide has a special place in Fruzsi's heart, as she completed her Graduate Diploma in Art History there in 2014 and is currently working towards her Masters in Art History.