Lumen - The University of Adelaide Magazine The University of Adelaide Australia
Lumen Summer 2013 Issue
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Mr SA - Distinguished Alumni Award

The University of Adelaide's alumni have distinguished themselves throughout the world in their individual fields.

This year, the University recognises the contributions of Keith Conlon OAM, Michael Alpers AO and James Crawford SC.


Media identity Keith Conlon OAM often uses a phrase to describe his many jobs, interests and passions: "you get much more out of it than you put in".

After some 50 years of 'putting in' as a graduate of the University of Adelaide, he is very grateful and surprised to receive a Distinguished Alumni Award for his outstanding contribution to the cultural life of South Australia; to economic development, particularly through tourism promotion; and to arts and education.

"It comes as a surprise and an honour, it really does," Mr Conlon said. "When you have a look at the other names that have received the award - there's not that many of them and they've all achieved so much. It's very humbling."

Mr Conlon graduated with Arts and Law degrees in 1968 and said his time outside of the classroom - coupled with the social and cultural milieu of the time - ensured his university years were among his most formative.

"Obviously I gained a very good education, but I got a lot more than that," he said.

"We were very fortunate to live in an age of much activity - I kept myself quite busy with things like Footlights, Law School revues, and the University Jazz Club, and I met a lot of people who have become life-long friends and contacts."

After graduating, Mr Conlon started his radio career with 5AD and tutored in Law and Politics part-time at the University.

He was the Foundation Director of the University's - and Australia's first educational and community radio station, Radio 5UV, which (now known as Radio Adelaide) celebrated its 40th anniversary earlier this year.

"We were very fortunate: the University had the idea but not the financial wherewithal to act on it, and we had an anonymous benefactor at the time who wanted to give back to education.

"The donor gave $100,000 - which was a staggering amount of money at the time - and we had to work hard to get it off the ground, but it resulted in a community radio station which still plays a big role in education and community broadcasting."

Mr Conlon's subsequent career - prominent radio and television host, and seemingly limitless charity and community participant and leader - still intersects frequently with the University of Adelaide.

He is a member of the Fundraising Committee for the Elder Hall Appeal, which aims to raise $5 million to help restore this concert and meeting venue to its former glory.

And, demonstrating life's ability to come full circle, he participated in the 2012 Adelaide Law School revue - but not on stage.

"My daughter Matilda is studying Law and was in the Revue - they asked if I would like to be the honorary photographer and, as a budding amateur 'snapper', I was delighted to," he said.

"To be part of the revue again - even in a very small capacity - was fantastic but it was also very satisfying to see my daughter 'putting in' - and getting so much back."

story by Ben Osborne

Distinguished Alumni Award recipient Keith Conlon OAM

Distinguished Alumni Award recipient Keith Conlon OAM
Full Image (99.12K)

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Media Contact:
Mrs Susanne Henry
Email: susanne.henry@adelaide.edu.au
Development and Alumni
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Adelaide SA 5000
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