Whether it is trialling new malaria treatments, combating a global pandemic, or finding novel ways to connect and empower people, University of Tasmania graduates are making immense contributions to the world.
The local, national and global impact of our alumni community was recognised and celebrated by the 2020 Alumni Awards, which were announced in December.
Joint winners of the Distinguished Alumni Award Adjunct Professor Steve Biddulph AM (BSc Hons 1977) and Dr Helen Szoke AO (BA 1977) were recognised for their professional services, which have made a profound difference in many people’s lives.
Steve is an Australian author, activist and psychologist who has lectured globally and written many bestselling books on parenting, which have influenced the way society looks at childhood and the development of boys and men.
In 2015 he was awarded a Member of the Order of Australia in the Queen’s Birthday Honours list for significant service to community health, particularly in the fields of child and adolescent psychology, and as an author and educator.
“I have always aimed to apply psychology where it was needed most, first of all in families, but later on in the treatment of refugees with our SIEVX Memorial project in Canberra and, of course, the lifelong mission to improve the mental health of men and raising boys who are open-hearted and not constrained in narrow roles,” he said.
Helen is a strong advocate for foreign aid and international development, human rights, gender and race equity.
The former Oxfam Australia CEO is currently leading The Review into Sexual Harassment in Victorian Courts to find ways to prevent sexual harassment and to improve the safety, respect and accountability within that workplace, and previously served as Australia’s Federal Race Discrimination Commissioner and as the Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commissioner.
“A university education is like a key that opens a door. For me it was an enormous awakening. I feel very honoured to receive the award. It is a great honour and a privilege,” she said.
Helen’s tireless work in the human rights field led to her being made an Officer of the Order of Australia for “distinguished service to social justice through roles with human rights, anti-discrimination and equal opportunity organisations, to health sector policy development, and to the disadvantaged.”
Kate Robertson, Executive Director, Advancement, said the Alumni Relations team received a record number of nominations for the 2020 awards from staff, alumni and members of the community.
“The volume and high calibre of this years’ nominations are a testament to the strength of our global alumni community,” Ms Robertson said.
“From a Tasmanian police officer who inspires and empowers at-risk youths to a world-leading infectious diseases expert helping to contain the COVID-19 pandemic, we are incredibly proud of the achievements of our graduates, who are making a significant difference through their many and varied endeavours.”
“Thank you to everyone who took part in our first online award nominations, our award nominees — of whom we are incredibly proud —and the winners, for their sustained commitment to the betterment of society and for exemplifying the University values.”