Honorary awards

Emeritus Professor Ann Sefton AO

The title of Honorary Fellow of the University of Sydney was awarded to Emeritus Professor Ann Sefton AO by the Chancellor Ms Belinda Hutchinson AM at the Medicine ceremony held at 9.30am on 10 May 2013.


Chancellor, I have much pleasure in presenting Emeritus Professor Ann Sefton AO for the award of an Honorary Fellowship of the University of Sydney, in recognition of her immense support of the interests and welfare of this University, and promotion of the academic purposes of the University through her extensive contributions to medical education.

Ann Sefton graduated from the University of Sydney with a BSc(Med) in 1957, a MBBS in 1960, a PhD in 1966 and DSc in 1990. As a student, Ann was a prominent contributor to University life, and through her roles on the Student Representative Council and as the first elected female president of the Medical Society, she was instrumental in the development of Student Health Service, child care facilities, a learning assistance centre and a vacation care centre.

Her distinguished career within the Department of Physiology culminated in her appointment as Professor of Physiology in 1992, with a special area of expertise in visual science. In this field she published some 50 papers in scientific journals and was prominently involved in the emergence of this discipline as an area of multidisciplinary strength in the University. She retained her Personal Chair until 2001.

Ann’s skills as a teacher of neuroscience to students of Medicine, Dentistry and Science were highly regarded, and she took a leading role in revising the medical curriculum, culminating in the move to introduce the Graduate Medical Program in 1997. From 1999-2001, she joined the Faculty of Dentistry part-time as Associate Dean to assist in the development of a graduate entry dental program. Ann was a Council Member of the International Union of Physiological Sciences, and Chair of its Education Committee from 2003-09. She has contributed to the medical accreditation program of the Australian Medical Council, and has led national reviews of medical and dental education in Australia.

Ann received an award for Excellence in Teaching from the University of Sydney, and an Australian Award for University Teaching from the Commonwealth Government for her contributions to innovation in medical education. She was made an Officer of the Order of Australia in 2000 for “service to medical education, particularly in the area of reform and the development of a graduate medical program, and to physiology research in the field of neuroscience through the study of function and structure of the visual pathways of the brain”.

Ann Sefton has been Deputy Chair of the University’s Academic Board and Chair of the Academic Forum, and was a Fellow of Senate from 2001-09. During this time she was appointed Pro- Chancellor (2002), and was elected Deputy Chancellor by Senate from 2004-08. She was involved in the founding of the University of Sydney Medical Graduates’ Association in 1990, and was a member of the University’s Alumni Council from 2006-09.

Since her retirement in 2001, Ann has continued to be a prominent national and international consultant in medical education, particularly in the International Union of Physiological Sciences, chairing its Education committee. She is frequently invited to run medical education workshops internationally, particularly in South-East Asia, and has acted as a consultant on aspects of medical and physiology education locally, nationally and internationally.

Chancellor, I present Emeritus Professor Ann Sefton AO and invite you to confer the title of Honorary Fellow of the University upon her.