The University community will come together on 10 May to celebrate the 6 Alumni Award winners and 19 Graduate Medal finalists, who have achieved excellence in their respective fields.
From bringing musical education to regional Australia, revolutionising e-finance, or providing humanitarian aid to parts of the world most in need, all of our alumni winners and graduate finalists for 2018 have achieved incredible results.
Educator Michelle Leonard, Professor Rose McGready, Professor David Black, Doctor Vandana Joshi, Doctor Mohit Tolani and entrepreneur Nick Molnar will all be recognised for their achievements, both in Australia and overseas, at a ceremony in the Great Hall.
19 Graduate Medal finalists who have achieved excellence and contributed greatly to the University community will also be honoured at a lunchtime ceremony on 9 May.
The award winners were selected by a panel of judges including the Alumni Council, University academics and professional staff, after being nominated by colleagues, family and people from the broader community. Nominations for the next Alumni Awards open later in the year. Find out more information about 2019 nominations.
With hard work and grit, Dr Vandana Joshi has made it through several years of working in emergency situations and war-torn countries. From tsunami-affected Andaman and Nicobar Islands, to Sierra Leone where she worked with the UNICEF country team fighting the ebola crisis, she provided outstanding support to affected people, while raising sizeable resources from CARE Australia through ten micro-financing projects. Vandana has also worked in various capacities for Madhya Pradesh State health services, WHO, CARE India, USAID and UNICEF in India. She is currently in Bhutan, working to make it the first country in the region to have zero mother-to-child transmission of HIV. Vandana is receiving this award on behalf of UNICEF.
Nick Molnar is a serial entrepreneur with extensive experience in online retail. Nick is co-founder and CEO of Afterpay, a leading Australian retail payments innovator and one of Australia’s fastest growing fintech companies. Afterpay facilitates commerce between retail merchants and their end-customers – offering a ‘buy now, take now, pay later’ service. Afterpay currently has over 1.8 million customers and over 14,000 retail merchants. Molnar took his company public in April 2016, listing it on the Australian Stock Exchange at a market capitalisation of over $1 billion.
Dr Mohit Tolani is dedicated to taking oral health and oral health education into regional centres. He is very hands on in helping people, particularly Aboriginal and Torres Straight Islander peoples, and is active on numerous committees. Mohit led the international project, Oral Health Literacy, which aimed to reduce the inequities in healthcare between Indigenous, migrant and the general population within Australia.
Professor David Black is recognised as one of the world's leading heterocyclic chemists and has made major contributions in heterocyclic chemistry, coordination chemistry and natural products. His achievements in research and teaching have been built around his widely recognised expertise in organic chemistry, but his parallel mission has been to help guide and shape some of the world’s peak scientific organisations. He is also the first Australian to become the secretary-general of the International Council for Science.
Professor Rose McGready has lived and worked on the Thai-Myanmar border since 1994, providing maternal health services and education. In recent years, her work on the effects of malaria on foetal growth has significantly improved our understanding of maternal malaria. Rose and her team have documented over 70,000 accurately dated pregnancy outcomes and reversed the trend of unsupervised homebirths and maternal mortality. She is also focused on capacity-building for local staff.
Growing up in north-west NSW, Michelle Leonard learned to play piano and clarinet but noticed there weren’t many opportunities for regional students to pursue music. As Founder and Artistic Director of the not-for-profit, Moorambilla Voices, Michelle works to create opportunities for underprivileged children in rural areas to access music education. She has taught many indigenous children and her work has a strong community focus. Moorambilla Voices has opened countless doors for many of its students, some of whom have walked out with a scholarship for Knox Grammar School or an invitation to study at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music.