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Selection criteria

Recognising contributions to innovation, culture and beyond
Our Alumni Awards program has two classifications. It is made up of six Alumni Achievement Awards and six Graduate Medals, each with their own specific categories and criteria.

The Alumni Achievement Awards recognise and celebrate the exceptional achievements of our graduates.

Nominations for the 2020 Alumni Awards have now closed and will be announced in May 2020.

They are judged based on the nominated applicant’s commitment to excellence in their chosen field, integrity, creativity, determination, leadership, resilience, compassion and achievement ‘relative to opportunity’.

The Graduate Medals, which celebrate the achievements of our newest graduates, are named in honour of some of our outstanding alumni whose legacy continues to inspire others. Recipients of these medals embody the spirit of these alumni.

The categories for the Alumni Achievement Awards and Graduate Medals, along with specific eligibility criteria, are listed below.

Alumni Award for Cultural Contribution

This award recognises alumni who achieve excellence in arts, culture and creative sectors and/or whose efforts promote the understanding and value of cultural diversity. This may include contributions to creative arts and literature, elements of design and architecture, cultural education and other cultures, or to the understanding of them.

Alumni Award for Service to Humanity

This award recognises the personal contributions of alumni who, through service or philanthropy, improve the lives of those in need. This award also seeks to recognise the significant involvement of our alumni in projects that enrich local or international communities through activities such as volunteering, philanthropy and service to the community.

Alumni Award for Innovation and Entrepreneurship

This award recognises alumni who are forward-thinking leaders in their industry, profession, field of research or area of expertise. The award celebrates the visionary and the daring, across any field. This award might acknowledge sustainability and technology, elements of design and architecture and creative new ideas for an industry.

Alumni Award for International Achievement

This award recognises the outstanding contributions that alumni have made to international society through community service and/or professional achievements that have made a significant global impact. This could be either a one-off significant impact or an ongoing contribution, and could include both professional and community achievements.

Alumni Award for Professional Achievement

This award recognises outstanding achievements of alumni in their professional fields. This could include alumni who achieve in industry, professional and research sectors. This category is very broad in recognising achievements from an individual’s profession.

Outstanding Achievements of Young Alumni Award

This award recognises outstanding achievements made by alumni aged 35 and younger (at the close of nominations). With a broad scope, the award celebrates what younger alumni have achieved in their shorter career span.

To be eligible for nomination for a Graduate Medal, candidates must:

  • have graduated or completed the requirements for a University of Sydney award course in the 2020 calendar year
  • have achieved a minimum credit average during their award course at the University (any qualifications with pass/fail criteria excepted)
  • satisfy the criteria for one of the Graduate Medals below.
The Convocation Medal for Undergraduate Leadership

The Convocation Medal for Undergraduate Leadership recognises visionary leadership, excellence, dedication and commitment to the University of Sydney. This medal also recognises involvement in initiatives or projects that enrich student experience or the community, beyond their course requirements.

This medal is awarded to a person who, in the previous year, graduated or completed the requirements for an undergraduate degree.

The Edmund Barton Medal for Postgraduate Leadership

The Edmund Barton Medal for Postgraduate Leadership recognises visionary leadership, excellence, dedication and commitment to the University of Sydney. This medal also recognises involvement in initiatives or projects that enrich student experience or the community, beyond their course requirements.

This medal is awarded to a person who, in the previous year, graduated or completed the requirements for a postgraduate degree.

The Rita and John Cornforth Medal for Research Excellence

The Rita and John Cornforth Medal for Research Excellence recognises outstanding achievement in research at the University that contribute to the overall advancement of our communities.

This medal is awarded to a person who, in the previous year, graduated or completed the requirements for any University degree.

The John C Harsanyi Medal for Innovation

The John C Harsanyi Medal for Innovation recognises forward-thinking leaders and innovators who go above and beyond academic requirements to help shape the future.

This medal is awarded to a person who, in the previous year, graduated or completed the requirements for any University degree.

The Nigel C Barker Medal for Sporting Achievement

The Nigel C Barker Medal for Sporting Achievement recognises excellence, demonstrated outstanding leadership and vision in sports at the University.

This medal is awarded to a person who, in the previous year, graduated or completed the requirements for any University degree.

The Sister Alison Bush Medal for Contribution to Indigenous Community

The Sister Alison Bush Medal for Contribution to Indigenous Community recognises contribution to Indigenous community by representation or significant involvement in projects/initiatives that enrich Indigenous communities through creativity, innovation, volunteering or service to the community.

This medal is awarded to an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander student who, in the previous year, graduated or completed the requirements for any University degree.