Class notes

We want to hear from you

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


Alex Dawson (BDesArch ’11)

Has been working in an architecture firm in Washington DC and commenced postgraduate studies at the Cooper Union in NYC in June.

Tessa McGrath (BEd (Primary Hons) ’08)
Photo of the McGrath siblings

Left to right: Adele, Sean, Kathleen, Edmund and Tessa.

Writes: with the recent graduation of two of my siblings, we have continued a strong family affiliation with the University. With much affection for this institution, we are proud to say that all five children from our family have now graduated with six degrees between us (and hopefully more in future!) We are: KATHLEEN (BSc (Med) ’02 MBBS (Hons) ’06) working as a paediatrician at the Royal Children’s Hospital in Melbourne, SEAN (BPharm ’06) a pharmacist in Tuross Heads, NSW, ADELE (B Liberal Studies (Int) ’10) applying for graduate positions in government sectors; EDMUND (BArts (Adv) ’10) travelling to Japan to teach English for 12 Months.; and I am teaching English at the Immigration Detention Centre in Curtin, WA.


Geoff Usher (MA ’90)

Retired at the end of April 2010 after 19 years as Minister to the Unitarian congregation at Upper Chapel, Sheffield, and returned to Sydney in November. He is rediscovering how warm (and humid) Sydney can be. During his time in England Geoff competed a Master of Philosophy from Birmingham University, through the Urban Theology Unit in Sheffield. He is enjoying the opportunity to do much more reading for leisure rather than work, and is taking his time before becoming involved with voluntary work.

Young-Min Kwon (MBBS ’97) MD PhD FRCS FRACS

Is an orthopaedic surgeon at the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery at Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School. He has been awarded the prestigious Kappa Delta Investigator Award from the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS). Since 1947, the Kappa Delta Awards are bestowed by the Academy for outstanding research in orthopaedic surgery that is of the highest significance and impact. It is the highest award in orthopaedic research in the US.

The research, titled Evidence-Based Approach in Understanding ‘Pseudotumors’ in Metal-on-Metal Hip Replacements, elucidated mechanisms involved in adverse reactions in metal-on-metal joint replacements, which are commonly used to treat young and active patients with significant hip osteoarthritis.

As a surgeon-scientist, it is critically important to investigate and gain insights into any unexpected complication that adversely affects patients’ outcome. The research concluded that, pseudotumors develop as a reaction to the metal debris generated from the wear of metal-on-metal implants. Excessive wear of these implants, as a result of sub-optimal placement, can lead to damage to the soft tissues in susceptible patients.


Peter Godfrey-Smith (BA ’88)

Received his PhD from UC San Diego; taught at Stanford and the Australian National University, and joined the Harvard Department of Philosophy full-time in 2006, after several terms as a visitor. He is the recipient of the Lakatos Award, which is given for an outstanding contribution to the philosophy of science, for his book Darwinian Populations and Natural Selection (Oxford University Press 2009). The award was made possible by a generous endowment from the Latsis Foundation. It is in memory of former LSE professor, Imre Lakatos, and is administered by an international Management Committee organised from the LSE.

Mara Giribaldi (BSc (Orthoptics) ’94) and John Gulotta (BPharm ’86)

Were married in St Mary’s Cathedral and later celebrated with a formal reception at MacLaurin Hall.

Dr Gullotta is Adjunct Associate Professor, General Practice at the Sydney Medical School and was awarded the 2007 Alumni Award for Outstanding Achievement in Community Service for his contributions to medicine, medical education and pharmacy, as well as for his service to the Italian-Australian community in Sydney. Dr Gullotta is past president of the Australian Medical Association NSW and is in private general practice in Sydney.

Mara currently works in a private ophthalmology practice and is also Associate Lecturer, Orthoptics in the Faculty of Health Sciences at the University. She is past President of Orthoptics Australia NSW and is an Executive Councillor of the federal body.

Other alumni in the bridal party included best man, Raymond Lee (BPharm ’86 LLB ’89), maid of honour, Dr Anna Alexiadis (MBBS ’90) and groomsman, Danilo Giribaldi (BEng (Civil) ’94).

John proposed on the family boat during the midnight fireworks, NYE 2010 on Sydney Harbour!


Virginia Hood (MBBS ’70)

Professor of medicine at the University of Vermont, has been elected President of the American College of Physicians. The ACP is the United States’ largest medical specialty organisation representing 130,000 members including internists, related subspecialists, and medical students.

Her academic interests lie in metabolic acidosis, epidemiological and public health aspects of hypertension and chronic kidney disease, and the integration of public health and clinical medicine approaches for managing chronic disease.

In 1993, she received a master’s degree in public health from the Harvard School of Public Health.

William O’Toole (BSc ’72 MEng (Project Management) ’05)
Photo of William O’Toole with the Governor and event managers in Qassim, Saudi Arabia 2010

William O’Toole with the Governor and event managers in Qassim, Saudi Arabia 2010

My latest textbook is Events Feasibility and Development (Elsevier, 2011) It’s my third international textbook used for tertiary courses in event management around the world. I’ve been working in many countries over the past 15 years, assisting in the development of their events industries. In the new growing economies, events such as festivals, conferences, exhibitions and sports are taken very seriously as they have enormous economic and social returns.

I worked with the Supreme Commission for Tourism in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia on and off for six years, writing its events strategy, developing courses and generally assisting with the growth of new events. It now has festivals and events in all 13 provinces. Some, particularly the agricultural-based events like the Olive Festival, attract half a million visitors and significantly contribute to industry development.

Recently I’ve been working with the United Nations in Khartoum and developing the events industries in Kenya and Uganda.
I never imagined I would go down this path, but I’ve always been pretty good at organising – I was co-vice president of the University bushwalking club!


Thomas D Rice (BSc ’62 MSc ’75)

In 1992 when working as a geochemist in Madang, PNG, I wrote a musical setting for Dorothea McKellar’s poem My Country. Since then I have written settings for more than 50 poems; I recorded 15 on my 2003 CD, Chindwin River Dreaming. I have lived in Katoomba since 1993, apart from working as a geochemist in Myanmar from late 1994-97. Since 2008 I have convened an afternoon of poetry, plus some music, at Blackburn’s Family Hotel in Parke Street, Katoomba from 2pm-5.30pm on the second Sunday of the month.


James (Jim) Collins (BSc ’47 DipEd ’50)

Began teaching in Bega in 1950 and has been an active and respected member of the community ever since. He travels to Timor Leste several times a year as the Team Leader of Bega Valley Advocates for Timor Leste, which he started in 2004. He was appointed a Member of the General Division of the Order of Australia as part of the 2011 Australia Day Honours. The AM recognises his service to the community through roles with the Advocates, as a supporter of environment and conservation initiatives, as an innovator within the Bega dairy industry and to people with disabilities.