A Sydney centre of influence

13 December 2007

The list of Sydney's 100 most influential people, published today in the(sydney)magazine features a number of Sydney University identities.

Some of them are:

Professor Bruce Armstrong, Professor of public health at the University of Sydney and director of research at the Sydney Cancer Centre, was named for his pioneering work in understanding and preventing many forms of cancer. Most recently he has been at the forefront of the debate over the balance between excessive sun-exposure and the body's need for sunlight to produce Vitamin D. His work was also integral to the establishment of Australia's cervical cancer screening programs and pap test register.

"She's a living national treasure", is how the magazine describes Judy Bailey, pianist, composer and educator at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music. Bailey has been teaching Jazz at the Conservatorium for 35 years, nurturing musicians such as James Morrison. Her 14th album, Pendulum, will be launched next year at the university's Seymour Centre.

A doubling of the student intake in medical schools over the next two years is largely due to the efforts of Associate Professor Simon Willcock in the university's Medical Faculty. He has lobbied state and federal governments, highlighting the stress, burnout and high suicide rates amongst the medical profession, and raising awareness about the critical shortage of doctors in Australia.

Margaret Varady, principle of Sydney Girls High School and a member of the university's governing body, the Senate, was named for her leadership in education. She is a passionate educator who is particularly concerned with developing young women as leaders, supporting public education and community service.

Recently dubbed an 'urban legend' by the university newspaper Uni News, architect and university lecturer Col James has devoted his life to affordable housing, fostering a generation of socially aware architects and urban planners. His life's work has been The Block, the Aboriginal residential precinct next to the university. It was in 1975 "the Whitlam era, when things seemed possible", that he began working with community leader Mum Shirl. "We established The Block, the Aboriginal Housing Company, the Aboriginal Legal Service, black theatre…Shirley, bless her soul, would say, 'You can trust this fellow, and he doesn't charge'."

After a stint in the famous Bell Laboratories in New Jersey, Australian-born Professor Ben Eggleton came home in 2003 to establish Sydney University's world-leading optical device research centre. His team of 100 at the Centre for Ultrahigh Bandwidth Devices for Optical Systems (CUDOS), is working to develop a device that promises to increase the speed of the Internet a thousand-fold. He believes all-optical networks will eventually revolutionise health, education and defence by offering faster, more energy-efficient communications systems.

The list of Sydney's 100 most influential people, which also includes dozens of graduates, guest lecturers and former staff of the university, is published today in the Sydney Morning Herald's the(sydney)magazine.

Contact: Kath Kenny

Phone: 02 9351 2261