Outstanding achievers

Anne Crawford, Naomi Hart and Dhruv Nagrath

Anne Crawford, Naomi Hart & Dhruv Nagrath

What do the founder of a charity, a veterinary scientist, a surgeon and a rugby league player have in common? They’re all recipients of the 2011 Alumni Awards, which recognise some of Australia’s foremost thinkers and achievers. The awards celebrate the way the recipients’ exceptional contributions, sense of innovation and generosity of spirit have enriched the lives of others.

Anne Crawford (BA ’85 BSW ’87) received the Alumni Award for Community Achievement because of her work with Can Too, the charitable program she set up. The organisation trains ordinary Australians to achieve goals they never thought possible, such as running a marathon or half marathon or completing an ocean swim. In return, the participants raise funds for Cure Cancer Australia, with more than $7 million raised since April 2005, by more than 6000 people. (You can hear more from Anne at the [[http://sydney.edu.au/what-matters||What Matters website)

Associate Professor Robyn Alders AO (BSc (Vet) ’83 BVSC ’84 DipVetClinStud ’86) received the Alumni Award for International Achievement. The award recognises her exceptional research and contributions to veterinary science, particularly for her vital work on the prevention and control of emerging infectious disease and village poultry health in Asia and Africa. She has made a significant and long-term contribution to the improvement of poultry production in rural villages, working closely with farmers, not only as a veterinarian and researcher, but also as a diplomat and negotiator between people and government departments.

Dr Wirginia Maixner (MBBS ’86) received the Alumni Award for Professional Achievement for her extraordinary work as a surgeon, her groundbreaking research and for establishing a course that educates and inspires young neurosurgeons. She has been described by colleagues as “the neurosurgeon’s neurosurgeon”, which is testimony to her reputation as a leading practitioner in this high-pressure discipline. She has performed numerous operations on children suffering rare conditions, and each of these operations required meticulous attention to detail, stamina and considerable courage. In 2007 she performed the first auditory brainstem implant on a child in Australasia. This has been described as a procedure that “could pave the way for revolutionary advances in medicine”.

Rugby league player Corey Payne (BCom ’07) received the Young Alumni Award for Achievement for his efforts to inform, educate and inspire young people from less privileged schools or low socio-economic areas about the importance of attending university, and for devoting his time and energy to supporting a range of charitable causes. Corey, who plays for the Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs, founded the Future Direction Network in December 2009 to provide support to students from south-west Sydney, through mentoring, career pathway planning and by helping them to find and apply for university scholarships.

Meanwhile, four outstanding students have been honoured with medals after showing strong leadership or achieving academic excellence while also enriching the diverse life of the University of Sydney and making a difference to the broader community. Naomi Hart (BA (Hons) ’09 LLB ’11) and Nathaniel Ware (BEc ’11) were honoured with Convocation Medals, Erin Law (MN ’11) received the Edmund Barton Medal, and Dr Kirsten Harley (BSc ’92 PhD ’10) was named the Rita and John Cornforth Medallist.

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