Letters to the editor


Dr Martin Andrew

Martin Andrew, provided this magnificent shot from his time at University, noting he was at various times President of the Science Association, Chair of the Clubs & Societies Council and on the Union Council.

“This is a photo of me dressed as Aunty Jack, confronting Norman Gunston on the Barr Smith lawns about 1974. Aunty Jack was my party trick. I also gazumped Grahame Bond – the real Aunty Jack – who was honoured guest at a prosh breakfast by arriving half an hour early and assuming his place at the head table!”

PhD (Sc) 1979

Remembering Rwanda

I’ve just read the story of CODAN in the Spring/Summer 2023 edition.

I am a graduate of the University of Adelaide whose work with World Vision led me to Rwanda in 1997. In my early days there I was allocated a vehicle that did not have a CODAN radio, so every time I, or my Rwandan team, needed to go out of town we had to swap vehicles and driver with a department whose vehicle was CODAN equipped.

As things were dicey in those days, I had to discuss an ambush strategy with each new driver, most of them seemingly unaware of the danger we might encounter. Some months later my departmental Landcruiser was fitted, and we could work much more efficiently.

Having the CODAN was a real steadier for us - as it gave reliable and instant connection with base in Kigali. Safe operation of our vehicle opened avenues of contact and service that contributed to assisting hundreds of traumatised Rwandans. I tell some of these stories in my book: From Genocide to Generosity. Thanks to Jim, Ian and Alistair (and the University).

John Steward PhD (Ag Sc) 1972

In praise of Lumen

The latest Lumen issue celebrates all that is wonderful in the achievements and vision of our special place of learning and, as always, it has been a joy to read.

The stories and photographs are beautifully presented and so interesting. My admiration extends to the “sustainability statements” and compostable cover! Thank you for the care and excellence you bring to your readers. I very much look forward to receiving the next edition in the mail.

Sharon Tilsley BA 1976, Dip Ed 1977

Compound problem

Response to Lumen Spring/Summer issue – “New language” article introducing the use of the word alum.

As a female chemistry and biology graduate of the University of Adelaide, I would like to be addressed as ‘alumna’. As you know, in chemistry, ‘alum’ means ‘a colourless, astringent compound’. I prefer not to be called this. Why not let graduates choose their preferred term, if they do not identify as ‘male’ or ‘female’, they can select the term ‘alum’?

Dr Rita Fedel-Moen PhD (Chemical Sciences) 2003


WINNER - Dr Richard Thomson

Graduating in 1964 in chemical engineering I was launched into a career with CSR Ltd that saw me work in many countries and numerous industries, including sugar, petrochemicals, and oil and gas sectors. My employer also provided the opportunity to gain an MSc at Imperial College, London. Thereafter I formed companies; one developing novel ROVs and another providing special advice to companies and expert witness testimonies in the oil and gas industry. I had stints supporting UN efforts in post-war Kuwait and in post-Berlin-wall Poland. Realising that renewable energy was a major developing area I moved away from fossil fuels, purchasing a solar hot water business and developing expertise in solar thermal systems, consulting in the field. Finally on retirement I returned to my roots at the University of Adelaide and completed my PhD in 2022 in the same School of Chemical Engineering from where it all started! Fantastic.

BE (Met & Chem) (Hons) 1964; PhD (Proc & Res E) 2022

Adjunct Professor Robin Eckermann AM, Canberra

In 1972, I chose Philosophy as one of my two majors in an Arts degree. The other major was Computing - at the time, it was just emerging as a discipline in its own right. Information technology and telecommunications subsequently became the backbone of my working life. However, it was philosophy that honed my ability to comprehend and debate multiple sides of subjects that lay beyond the realm of simple scientific resolution.

BA 1973


Wathnak Vy

The University of Adelaide has not only imparted knowledge but also a rich historical legacy that has become an integral part of my family, community and personal journey.

As the pioneer in my family to migrate to Australia and subsequently become my family's first graduate from a university, I have harnessed skills and wisdom acquired at the University to make a meaningful impact as a counsellor.

My mission is to dismantle the prevalent stigma surrounding mental health within our community. Through my efforts, I strive to foster a more empathetic and understanding environment, one where individuals can seek the help they need without fear or judgment.

Dr Stephanie Crocker

It allowed me to follow my childhood dream of becoming a veterinarian! I also was able to travel to Africa and work with animals I could have only dreamed about prior to studying.

D Vet Med 2015

WINNER - Brenton Whittenbury

Completing my Bachelor of Economics (Accounting) not only impacted my life, but that of my whole, wider family. It gave me the skills to turn around the fortunes of our family business that had started in 1868. When I graduated in 1982, I was the only one in my generation that had the financial qualification needed to pull the business up off the floor.

I am pleased and proud to say that Grundy’s Shoes is now thriving in its 155th year and is not only employing a seventh generation of our family but is helping support many other South Australian families as well.

B Ec 1982

Dolly Dawson

Being a university student provided me with countless memorable moments including academic celebrations, the ability to interact and meet new people on a daily basis, build deeper connections within the world and to be inspired to do more in the world. I was told I would never be able to attend university or have the ability to complete a degree, not only have I proved people wrong and have done just that, but I was also the very first person in my immediate and extended family to go to university.

B Psych Sc 2023


WINNER - Songzhe Li, China

The University of Adelaide was a turning point for me, fostering not only my technical growth but also personal development. The diverse academic community there nurtured my curiosity and adaptability, pushing me beyond my comfort zones. This education was more than knowledge acquisition; it was about transforming into a lifelong learner.

The cultural nuances of campus life made me a global citizen, enhancing my communication and collaboration skills. Thus, Adelaide didn’t just educate me; it changed how I perceive challenges, driving my ambition in the ever-evolving tech world.

B Comp Sc (Hons) 2023

Stacey Page

The opportunity to study at the University of Adelaide changed my life in so many ways. Gaining this education brought confidence and knowledge that I thought I was incapable of achieving. I began my journey at university as a mature-age student, coming from a disadvantaged background in out-of-home care with little support. I was a new mum struggling in a domestic violence situation and was learning to navigate my child’s and my own newly diagnosed neurodivergence. I found a sense of belonging at university and found a network of kind, caring people who helped me see that I was not worthless or stupid like I was conditioned to believe. I eventually found the courage to leave my violent partner and raise my child as a single parent in a loving safe environment; I couldn’t be more grateful for the life my son and I now have.

B Psych Sc (Hons) 2019


WINNER - Dr Moleen Nand, Fiji

Hi! My name is Moleen and I am from Fiji Islands. I graduated with my PhD in May 2023. My PhD research examined climate change loss and damage in Fiji’s sugar industry. Studying at the University of Adelaide created history for me in various ways! To begin with, I am the first person in my family to attain a PhD. Secondly, my research is the first study to examine climate change loss and damage in Fiji’s sugar industry. At the national level, I am proud to say that I am the only person in Fiji to obtain a PhD in this thematic area! Studying at the University of Adelaide equipped me with the skills and knowledge to further pursue my interest and research in climate change loss and damage in other Pacific Island Countries as a Postdoctoral research fellow at the University of Queensland.

PhD (Human Soc) 2023

Matt McRae

University transformed my life, giving me the freedom to shape my destiny. I still recall the moment, stuck in a storeroom at my part-time warehouse job post-high school, yearning for something more, but uncertain about the path ahead. Just three years later, armed with a degree in business from the University of Adelaide, I emerged with the power to craft my own future. Today, five years into my career, I am living the life I once only dreamed of – thriving both professionally and personally. The inspiration I received at the University of Adelaide ignited a spark within me, propelling me towards success, aspiration and financial stability.

B Com 2018


WINNER - Kavita Bhandari

The University of Adelaide bestowed upon me a transformative opportunity, making me the trailblazer in my family’s history to venture overseas in pursuit of higher education. The unwavering support and opportunities extended by the University have shaped me into a resolute and self-reliant woman, one who eagerly anticipates the opportunity to shatter more barriers and confront societal conventions. My journey, from summoning the courage to leave the familiar confines of home, to spearheading my path in the male-dominated construction industry where women constitute a mere nine per cent, stands as a testament to the empowering experience I’ve garnered at the University. It has not merely equipped me with academic knowledge but has fortified me with the strength to inscribe my own narrative. With gratitude in my heart, I celebrate the University of Adelaide as the catalyst of my dreams, a place where opportunities merge with challenges, propelling us to redefine our potentials.

M Construction Management 2021

WINNER - Dr Cecilia Har

It’s always been my dream to restore someone’s health, improve quality of life, bring them happiness and a big wide smile. The University of Adelaide dental school is one of the most prestigious institutions and being a part of it has changed my life. I learnt to live in a community away from home, learnt to help and support one another, learnt to adapt to a different culture and most importantly it’s changed me from dreaming my dream, to living out my dream! The University has changed my life and equipped me to change and impact the world! Thank you, University of Adelaide, for making history in my life - I am and will forever be a proud alumna of the University.

BDS 2022

Christopher Hryciuk

Two very proud grandmothers on graduation day! I will never forget their smiles.

B App Sc (Nat Res Mgmt) 1996

Rev Judith Carpenter

WINNER - Rev Judith Carpenter

My passion has been to provide chaplaincy /spiritual care, especially to palliative care patients, in public hospitals. Completing a Grad Cert in Grief and Palliative Care Counselling 2003, as a scholarship recipient, led to implementing Pastoral Care provision in my local health service which then led onto being an ordained Chaplain. The time at the University was encouraging, a time I thrived, was challenged, and was very equipped with counselling skills used over many years in my community and which continues even now. I am very grateful for the opportunity given to learn, grow and serve others.

Grad Cert Grief and Palliative Care Counselling 2003

WINNER - Dr Francis Nge, NSW

Studying at the University of Adelaide has helped me see the world, through both education and the value of critical thinking. It has allowed me to pursue my passion and crafted an international career, taking me to France, Ecuador, Malaysia, Singapore, and back to Australia. The University’s commitment to research excellence has opened doors and allowed me to secure a position as a permanent researcher at one of the largest botanic gardens in Australia (NSW).

PhD (Bio Sc) 2021


WINNER - Joanne French

I have suffered from anxiety all my life. It limited me so much. That all changed upon attending the University of Adelaide. I overcame so many fears at that time that have helped me grow as a person, professionally as well. I am even able to speak in public as many of my volunteer positions require, as well as employment tasks where public speaking plays a huge role. I made friends I am still in contact with to this day, and always have very fond memories of being so safe at the University. Everyone was always so pleasant and helpful, with lovely quiet spaces to relax and study in quiet. It all led to me learning to challenge myself, to grow more open, and more importantly, to teach my children not to be ruled by fear.

BA (Psychology) 2007


WINNER - Priestley Habru, Adelaide/Solomon Islands

I first came to study toward a Master of Arts (Global Media) in 2018 and completed my studies in mid 2019 under an Australian Awards Scholarship. I was a reporter in a newspaper I helped established in the Solomon Islands and was its founding Editor. I returned to my home country and applied for some short-term contract work in media and communication and got two short term jobs at the same time. Fortunately, one was once a week engagement whilst the other was a three-day a week engagement. I was earning more than I used to receive from my fortnightly salary at my newspaper. I was invited to become a local media trainer an participated in public panel discussions about the role of media on the local TV and other engagement with the national media organisations. I owed these to my qualification attained at the University of Adelaide.

MA Global Media 2019

Tagged in Alumni, letters to the editor, Lumen Autumn 2024