Outstanding graduates recognised for leadership in their fields

Friday, 9 September 2016

The University of Adelaide will today honour outstanding graduates with awards in recognition of their significant impact on the local and world stage.

The University's Distinguished Alumni Award will be presented to five outstanding graduates and the McWha Award for Excellence will be presented to a further three graduates in a ceremony in Adelaide today.

This year's award recipients include leaders in the arts, human rights and equality, community service, cancer research, zoology, nuclear and particle physics, and 'mixed reality' technology.

"Now in its 25th year, our Distinguished Alumni Awards highlight shining examples of what it means to be a University of Adelaide graduate," said the Vice-Chancellor and President, Professor Warren Bebbington.

"The University of Adelaide currently has 125,000 alumni who are living and working all over the world. These annual awards recognise the enormous contribution and impact our alumni make in the community both locally and around the globe,” he said.

Inga Davis, Chief Executive of External Relations, said: "Today's award recipients have advanced the common good, inspiring others to think innovatively and creatively. In doing so, they have played a major role in building the reputation of this University.

"This year we have several outstanding award winners, including Kristofer Helgen, who at the age of 36 has personally discovered more than 100 new mammal species; Dr Jane Sloane, who was told by Nelson Mandela that if she really wanted to make a positive difference in the world, she should focus on citizen-led change, and she has; Dr Wally Melnitchouk one of the world’s leading nuclear physicists; and Professor Adrian Cheok, who invented (among other things) the world’s first electric and thermal taste machines. The list goes on. These graduates are just extraordinary."

The Distinguished Alumni Awards for 2016 are presented to:

Professor Adrian Cheok, founder of the Imagineering Institute, Malaysia, and the Mixed Reality Lab, Singapore
Bachelor of Engineering (Electronic) (1994), PhD in Engineering (1999)
In recognition of his outstanding leadership and contribution in the field of computing, engineering and multisensory communication

Dr Kenneth Collins AM, former Rotary International Board member; Senior Australian of the Year for Western Australia (2007)
Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery (1960)
In recognition of his outstanding leadership and contribution in the field of national and international community service

Dr Wally Melnitchouk, Senior Theoretical Nuclear Physicist, Jefferson Lab, USA
Bachelor of Science (1988), Bachelor of Science (Honours) (1989), PhD in Science (1994)
In recognition of his outstanding leadership and contribution in the field of nuclear and particle physics

Timothy Sexton, CEO and Artistic Director, State Opera of South Australia
Bachelor of Music (1981), Bachelor of Music (Honours) (1985), Graduate Diploma of Education (1988)
In recognition of his outstanding leadership and contribution in the field of opera and musical theatre direction, production and composition

Dr Jane Sloane, immediate past Vice-President of Programs, Global Fund for Women; incoming Director, Women’s Empowerment, The Asia Foundation
Bachelor of Arts (1984), Bachelor of Arts (Honours) (1985)
In recognition of her outstanding leadership and contribution in the field of human rights

The James McWha Awards for Excellence for 2016 are presented to:

Dr Kristofer Helgen, Research Zoologist and Curator-in-Charge, Division of Mammals, National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institute
PhD in Zoology (2007), Fulbright Fellow
Dr Helgen has discovered approximately 100 new species of mammals, which represents a remarkable 2% of all known mammal species in the world.

Professor Mark Hutchinson, Australian Research Council (ARC) Research Fellow; Director of the ARC Centre of Excellence for Nanoscale BioPhotonic; Professor, School of Medicine, University of Adelaide
Bachelor of Science (Honours) (2000), PhD in Medicine (2006)
An award-winning neuroscientist, Professor Hutchinson has been working on
a radical new approach linking chronic pain with glia, the immune cells that support the brain’s nervous system.

Professor Deborah White, Deputy Cancer Theme Leader and Director of Cancer Research, South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute (SAHMRI); School of Medicine, University of Adelaide
PhD in Medicine (2008)
Professor White is internationally recognised as an expert in translational leukaemia research and in the development of biomarkers to guide the discovery of new anti-cancer drugs.

A total of 15 high-achieving alumni will be honoured by the University of Adelaide at today's lunchtime ceremony, with other awards including: the Honours Alumni University Medal, the Postgraduate Alumni University Medal, and Alumni Fellows.


Contact Details

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Email: media@adelaide.edu.au
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