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Class notes

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University of Sydney Alumni are in the news around the world every day. However we would like to hear about the adventures of less public, but equally interesting, alumni. Tell us what you are up to and where your University degree has taken you personally and professionally.

You can submit your update online or you can email your story together with any photographs to the editor, Diana Simmonds at


1940s

SRC 1947-48 Reunion - Friday 21 May 2010

A celebratory afternoon tea was held following the graduation at which Emeritus Professor Edward McWhinney was awarded an Honorary Fellowship of the University.

Many months beforehand, The Hon Adrian Roden QC had produced a photograph of the 1947/48 SRC, with McWhinney sitting in the front row. Sixty-two years later, five of his former colleagues on the SRC attended the graduation ceremony and the reunion afterwards.

Not surprisingly, connections with the University remain strong. Roden had married the former Rose Wicks, mother of Associate Professor John Watson, Associate Dean (Clinical Development) and grandmother of a current student. Emeritus Professor Rex Olsson’s daughter Annabelle is undertaking a PhD in the Faculty of Veterinary Science. Dr Val Rundle (née Patterson) has long been an interested supporter of the Australian Archaeological Institute at Athens which is based at the University. Ruth Lucas (née Harvey) was also able to attend.

Also attending the afternoon tea were David Turner, President of the Alumni Council, and the Deputy Chancellor Alan Cameron AM. Alan was SRC President in 1967-68.

Investigations accounted for 12 of the 20 in the 1948 photo, but eight remain ‘missing’. They are David Doyle, David Ritchie, Harry Trinder, Mike Lazar, Ruby Hudson, Joan Roberts, Jill Crichton and Rosemary Cowper.


1950s

Peter Bowler (BA ’56, Dip Ed ’57)

Has had another book published in 2010, increasing his total published output to eleven, with a further one on the way. Bloomsbury UK have published an omnibus volume of his three books about the outer limits of language under the title The Completely Superior Person’s Book of Words, and this is available in Australian bookshops through Allen & Unwin. It received the accolade of being non-fiction “Pick of the Week” in the Sydney Morning Herald’s weekend Spectrum supplement. And his new novel, The De Reszke Record, a dark comedy thriller about high-end record collecting, is due for release towards the end of this year. Peter has recently been appointed to the Board of the Abbey Museum, a little-known treasure house of antiquities, art and archaeology located on the northern outskirts of Brisbane. He can be contacted at for more information about any of the above.

Mirjam Gerber nee Stiel (MBBS ’59)

Turned 75 on April 15 and is still working as a consultant in Columbus Ohio, an Aussie forever.


1990s

Professor Samy A Azer (PhD (Med) ’95)

During my work on my PhD at the Faculty of Medicine as a full-time student, I enrolled at the University of New South Wales to undertake a Master of Education. These two degrees helped me to join the Department of Pharmacology, Kansas Medical Centre as a postdoctoral fellow. Back to Australia, in 1997 I joined the School of Medicine, as a Senior Lecturer of Medical Education and worked with Professor Ann Sefton, Associate Professor Jill Gordon and Professor Michael Field on the establishment of the new medical curriculum, and the new summative assessment.

In 1999, I joined the newly established Medical Education unit at the University of Melbourne. At that time, the School of Medicine under the leadership of Professor Richard Larkins was moving to an integrated curriculum.

I played a significant role in the development of the new integrated problem-based learning curriculum and the establishment of integrated summative assessment. During my work at Melbourne, I wrote two textbooks on medical education, created an interactive CD-ROM on the liver, and contributed to numbers of research papers. In 2006, I joined the University of Toyama in Japan as a Visiting Professor of Medical Education, and helped the team there in establishing a medical education unit.

In 2007, I moved to the Universiti Teknologi MARA in Malaysia as the Professor of Medical Education and the Chair of Medical Education Research and Development Unit. I played a significant role in the revision of the curriculum, the integration of the first two years and the improvement of the summative and formative assessment. In 2007, my textbook, Core Clinical Cases in Basic Biomedical Sciences was translated into Japanese and published by Elsevier Japan. In 2009, I was invited to join the editorial board of BMC Medical Education, and MedEdWorld in the UK, and the membership of the policy committee of the Association for Study of Medical Education in the UK.

I am also on the International Advisory Board of Kumar and Clark Clinical Medicine since 2006. Late in 2009, I was invited to lead Medical Education at the King Saud University in Saudi Arabia. I have also received many invitations from universities in Southeast Asia, and the Middle East as an external examiner and to give lectures on my books, research in medical education and the recent trends in medical education.


2000s

Dr Robyn Hanstock (BA ’03)
Dr Robyn Hanstock and Sylvia Ransom


On 9 April 2010 I graduated with a PhD from the University of New England for my thesis “Learning Journeys in Women’s Organisations: Adult education outside conventional settings”. I continue to have speaking engagements with the voluntary organisations included in my research, such as Zonta, Quota and the Country Women’s Association. They are particularly interested in a quilt that I made to visualise the research journey of my thesis and its outcome. My finding was that a surprising level and diversity of learning, formal and informal, takes place in such organisations.

Right: With Sylvia Ransom, my former Faculty Librarian at UNE, who is now working at the Royal University of Bhutan).

Dr Jonathan P Gerber (BPsych (Hons) ’01)

Is moving to Boston, Mass, to work as an assistant professor of psychology at Gordon College; accompanied by wife Alison (BA ’04) and son Ralph Gatsby.

Eric Knight (BA/LLB ’07)

Is a Rhodes Scholar completing a DPhil at Magdalen College, Oxford and currently preparing to swim to France for charity before returning home next year. (Read more about Eric’s swim in a later issue of SAM - Ed.)

Helen H Wu (LLM ’07)

After I received my degree, I continued work in private practice as a lawyer in the Commercial and Disputes Resolution team at DLA Phillips Fox. I then joined the in-house legal team at EYE Corp, owned by Network Ten, before finding my way to my current position as Corporate Counsel for HotelClub, owned by Orbitz Worldwide. I am enjoying the challenges and rewards of working for a dynamic, international and online company with people who are enthusiastic about hotels and travel.

Anthony Zehetner (BPharm ’96 MBBS ’01)

Has been awarded the 2010 Wiley-Blackwell New Investigator Prize for his paper “Iron supplementation for breath-holding attacks in children: A Cochrane systematic review”. The Prize is awarded for excellence of hypothesis, scientific merit and oral presentation (at the World Congress of Internal Medicine). Dr Zehetner is a Medical Fellow in General Paediatrics and Deputy Chief Resident Medical Officer at The Children’s Hospital, Westmead.

He is interested in Paediatric Neurodevelopmental and Behavioural Disorders, and recently authored a chapter on “Psychopharmacology – The Use of Medication to Treat Challenging Behaviour in Children and Adolescents”. He is also a Consultant Pharmacist and Clinical Associate Lecturer for the Sydney Medical School.

Annabelle Chauncy (BA ’07)
Annabelle Chauncy

Founded in 2007 by Annabelle Chauncy and David Everett, the United Future Foundation operates under the motto “You make a living by what you get but you make a life by what you give” – an observation from Winston Churchill. UFF is about educational opportunities for kids in Uganda – building a school and assisting local teachers to reach their potential.

In May, UFF staged a sell-out (650 guests) event at the Sydney Hilton: the Black Tie and Barefoot Ball. (“Two Thongs Do Make A Right” – the theme was formal plus Havaianas.) Among the auction goodies: a boxing glove from Muhammad Ali, an ACDC signed guitar, a print signed by Nelson Mandela and a trip to Broome. The night raised more than $100,000 for the school and building begins in August; with first pupils starting classes early in 2011.

Barefoot Ball images

Top left: Annabelle Chauncy
Above left: Wesley women Nicola Wade (BHlthSc(OT) ’08), Clare Dawson (Bed (Primary) ’08), Katherine Moncrieff (BA (MediaComm) ’09) and Laura Ravanello (BComm ’08)
Above right: The Black Tie and Barefoot Ball event