Read about our Distinguished Alumni Award recipients or browse our other award category listings.Young Alumni Award International Alumni Award Foundation Graduate Award
Professor Richard Scolyer AO completed a Bachelor of Medical Science in 1986 and a Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery in 1990 at University of Tasmania.
A world-leading expert in diagnosing skin cancer, pathologist Professor Scolyer has been at the forefront of many major advancements in the treatment of melanoma, saving thousands of lives.
For the past 20 years, Launceston-born pathologist Professor Scolyer has been at the centre of melanoma research, which has seen life expectancy of people with advanced melanoma increase ten-fold over the last decade. It is a statistic largely attributed to Professor Scolyer’s work as co-director of Melanoma Institute of Australia. His research discoveries have changed clinical and pathology practice worldwide.
Professor Scolyer is Co-Medical Director and Consultant Pathologist at Melanoma Institute Australia; Senior Staff Specialist, Tissue Pathology and Diagnostic Oncology, Royal Prince Alfred Hospital and NSW Health Pathology, Sydney; and Clinical Professor, The University of Sydney. In 2020 Professor Scolyer was awarded Outstanding Cancer Researcher of the Year in the New South Wales Premier’s Research Awards, for his incredible contribution to melanoma research.
In June 2021 he was appointed an Officer of the Order of Australia for distinguished service to medicine, particularly in the field of melanoma and skin cancer, and to national and international professional organisations.
Adjunct Professor Steve Biddulph completed a Bachelor of Science with Honours from the University of Tasmania in 1977. He is an Australian author, activist and psychologist who has written many influential bestselling books and has lectured globally on parenting and children’s education.
Steve is one of the world’s best-known parent educators. His books, including The Secret of Happy Children, Raising Boys, The New Manhood, and 10 Things Girls Need Most, are in four million homes and over 30 languages. Steve advocates for a more affectionate and connected form of parenting and the importance of positive role models in children’s lives. His publications have influenced the way we look at childhood, especially the development of boys and men.
Steve was voted Australian Father of the Year in 2000 for his work encouraging the active role of fathers. In 2015 he was awarded a Member of the Order of Australia (AM) 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.
Dr Helen Szoke AO completed her Bachelor of Arts (Politics and Psychology) at the University of Tasmania in 1977. She was Chief Executive of Oxfam Australia from 2013-2019 and throughout her career has championed the right for everyone to have equal access to life’s opportunities.
Helen has been a strong advocate for foreign aid and international development, human rights, gender and race equity. She is currently leading the Review into Sexual Harassment in Victorian Courts and previously served as Australia’s Federal Race Discrimination Commissioner and as the Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commissioner.
Helen has contributed enormously to the broader community, particularly through her work as Interim Chair of You Matter, an initiative which supports victims of domestic violence, and as a member of the board for Life Without Barriers, a social purpose organisation which provides people with the services and assistance they need to participate as fully in society as they wish.
Helen was awarded an Order of Australia (OA) in 2018 for distinguished service to social justice. She has been a Victorian finalist in the 2016 Telstra Business Women's Awards and received an Honorary Doctorate of Laws from Deakin University in October 2015 for her contribution to Human Rights. In 2011, Helen was awarded the Law Institute of Victoria Paul Baker Award for her contribution to human rights and in 2014 she received the University of Melbourne Alumni Award for leadership.
Dr Gauden graduated from the University of Tasmania with a Bachelor of Science 1980, Bachelor of Medical Science 1983 and Bachelor of Medicine 1986 and received his fellowship in Radiation Oncology with the Royal Australasian College of Radiologists in 1994.
Dr Gauden is a distinguished medical professional. He has worked at the Launceston General Hospital as Director of the Northern Cancer Service, Tasmania, which includes the W.P Holman Clinic, and was an integral member of the Implementation Steering Committee for the North-West Cancer Service.
Launceston's W.P Holman Clinic was the State's first cancer centre and provides outpatient medical oncology, radiation oncology and clinical haematology services. The Holman Clinic is at the forefront of the national service delivery.
Dr Gauden’s service to his local community and commitment to improving patient outcomes is an inspiration and his deeply valued contributions are very much recognised by the health and wider community.
Dr Mike Pook has spent more than 45 years as a climate research scientist but is best known more widely in the community as the ABC television weather presenter – a role he held for 18 years.
Dr Pook studied his Graduate Diploma ASOS (Hons), 1990 and then PhD in climate science, 1995 at the University of Tasmania. He is an Honorary Fellow in CSIRO Oceans and Atmosphere and a remains an Associate of UTAS. Prior to his retirement, he was a Research Scientist at CSIRO, working in the Seasonal Prediction and Climate Variability Group.
Dr Pook received many accolades and awards upon leaving the ABC and retiring from full time work as a research scientist. In 2018 he was awarded the Gibbs Medal which recognises long and distinguished service to operational forecasting and was for Mike’s outstanding contribution to our understanding of the connection between weather and climate in the Australian region.
Dr Pook developed a 50-year synoptic classification of rainfall events in southeast Australia which has led to seminal understanding of the climate system, the influence of climate drivers, rainfall trends and the diagnosis of climate model performance.
This work has changed the way he and others communicate seasonal climate forecasts and the associated weather events to the agricultural community.
Born, raised and educated in Tasmania, Magistrate Tamar Jago completed a Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Laws with Honours in Law in 1993 and a Graduate Certificate in Legal Practice in 1994.
She specialised in criminal law in private practice before taking up a position at the Legal Aid Commission in 2000. It was there she discovered that the breadth of experience and range of defence work opportunities she received has served her well, particularly the many the opportunities to lead counsel in a lot of significant trial and appeal work.
Tamara holds the distinction where in 2010, she became the first woman in Tasmania to be made Senior Counsel – the first also to receive that title working from the Legal Aid system.
In 2016, she was appointed to the bench where she continues to serve as one of this region’s senior judicial officers.
As a senior Legal Aid lawyer, Tamara values her opportunities to mentor young advocates and she hopes she will be able to continue this role from her position on the bench.
Nicholas Heyward has been Managing Director of the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra since October 2001 and has shown exemplary leadership in this role. He will retire from the TSO at the end of 2018.
Nicholas holds a Bachelor of Arts degree with Honours from the University of Tasmania.
His deep involvement with the performing arts, and specifically music, began in 1963 with the St David’s Choir where he received first rate music education from one of the great Australian music educators, John Nicholls. Later, in London he was a member of the renowned Holst Singers who toured throughout Europe.
Nicholas Heyward has had a remarkable career in arts management, with positions in London, Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane, Adelaide and latterly back home in Hobart.
He has made a most significant contribution to the development and promotion of the arts throughout Australia.
For three decades he has been at the forefront of bringing original Australian music to the attention of the world. The TSO’s internationally acclaimed catalogue of commissions and recording continues to document and capture Australia’s most impactful and interesting new music, and in so doing promotes Tasmania and Australia to an international market.
Among the many highlights from Mr Heyward’s tenure at the helm of the TSO are the separation of the orchestra from its former home as part of the ABC; its highly successful tour of China in 2016-2017, performing nine concerts in seven cities, including Shanghai and Nanjing; and the 2016 Helpmann Award-winning concert performance of Wagner’s Tristan and Isolde which laid the foundation for a continuing series of opera-in-concert programs.
His influence has been felt well beyond the TSO in Tasmania, with important contributions in arts administration and policy setting at the national level, as well as state roles such as chairing the former Arts Tasmania board, a long-term position as a director of the Theatre Royal and now chair of the National Trust of Tasmania.
Nicholas will leave the TSO in a strong position artistically and financially.
The impact and effect of his work -- the influence and passion -- will continue to influence Tasmanian and Australian arts policy and practice for years to come.
Professor Pirkis has combined her two foundation disciplines Psychology and Epidemiology to forge a stellar research career in population mental health. Over the past 25 years her work has particularly focused on the major public health problem of suicide prevention.
Professor Pirkis is the Director of the Centre for Health Policy, Programs and Economics at the University of Melbourne where she has been employed since 2014. There she leads a team of researchers who bring multiple methods to bear on questions about how to reduce suicide. Professor Pirkis’ work is highly regarded because of its methodological rigour and far-reaching influence on policy and practice. There are numerous examples of the impact of Professor Pirkis’ work: the first is on ‘locations that are frequently used for suicide’ – public spots that gain a reputation as places where people seek to end their lives. Professor Pirkis has conducted empirical studies and meta-analyses of interventions showing that structural modifications work. Her work has been used by advocates to successfully support the introduction of these interventions and other measures in Tasmania and New South Wales and internationally in Canada and the United Kingdom.
Professor Pirkis also takes her role in mentoring emerging researchers very seriously, and is keen to build the capacity of the next generation of suicide prevention researchers. She has supervised 26 PhD students and over 50 young researchers, many of whom have gone on to carve out successful careers as independent researchers or practitioners.
The second example of Professor Pirkis’ internationally renowned work is on suicide and the media. Her research has shown that irresponsible reporting of suicide can lead to imitative acts. This has informed Australian and international media guidelines on safer ways to present suicide-related stories.
Partnering with Movember and Heiress Films, she made and evaluated Man Up, an ABC documentary on suicide and masculinity, watched by millions. Professor Pirkis is a stellar performer when assessed against standard academic metrics. She has attracted nearly $50 million in research funding and published countless journal articles.
Professor Pirkis has continuously held NHMRC fellowships since 2003 and has been recognised through a range of prestigious awards including Suicide Prevention Australia’s Lifetime Research Award in 2010.
Professor Pirkis’ reviews many national and international grant programs and is General Secretary of the International Association for Suicide Prevention.
Professor Pirkis’ work has made a major contribution to the field of suicide and has almost certainly contributed to saving many lives.
The University of Tasmania is honoured to have Professor Pirkis as one of our alumni, and proud to be recognising her achievements in the awarding of the Distinguished Alumni Award for 2017.
Professor Roger Byard earned a Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery from the University of Tasmania in 1978 and became a licentiate of the Medical Council of Canada in 1982. From those beginnings, Professor Byard has gone to become one of the world's pre-eminent experts in forensic pathology. His achievements span many spheres, and his contributions to the field of pathology have been recognised around the world. He is an Officer of the Order of Australia, a Fellow of the Royal College of Pathologists of the United Kingdom, a Fellow of the College of American Pathologists, an Honorary Member of the College of Forensic and Legal Medicine of Sri Lanka and a Registered Expert with the International Criminal Court in The Hague, among, many, many other title and honorifics.
Professor Byard's unique contribution to forensic pathology, in particular disaster victim identification and sudden infant and childhood death, has made a huge impact in the lives of countless families. His work has also been pivotal to law reform in Australia, leaving an enduring legacy in a difficult and highly emotive area of medicine.
Professor Byard is one of Australia's greatest contributors to the medical profession. He holds the George Richard Marks Chair of Pathology at the University of Adelaide and is a Senior Specialist Forensic Pathologist at Forensic Science in Adelaide. Professor Byard spends his time examining, investigating and researching people's deaths, and he is generous and prolific in sharing his knowledge so that others might benefit. He has a specific interest in sudden infant and childhood deaths – more commonly known as the Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, or SIDS – and he has published over 500 papers in peer-reviewed journals. His work in this area continues, and we can expect to hear more from Professor Byard on this critical subject in the near future.
And if all of that were not enough, Professor Byard also contributes his time to investigating and reporting on marine mammal and wildlife deaths in the hope of conserving marine species.
For his innumerable contributions, both national and global, Professor Roger Byard is a most deserving recipient of the 2016 University of Tasmania Distinguished Alumni Award.
Richard Miller Flanagan was born in Longford, Tasmania, in 1961, and grew up in the remote mining town of Roseberry. From these modest beginnings, Richard has emerged as the finest Australian novelist of his generation.
In 1979, he enrolled in an Arts degree at the University of Tasmania. Four years later, he would graduate with First Class Honours in History. But in addition to his sterling academic achievements, Richard further made his mark at the University through his dynamic and, at times, somewhat controversial leadership of the Tasmania University Union. During his Presidency, the TUU introduced free dental and vision checks, a health food shop, a printing department, bus rebates for students from the northern part of Tasmania, a second-hand clothes and bookstore and a hair salon. Richard and his Council also worked for more student representation on university committees, anonymity in examinations and the establishment of an ombudsman.
In 1984, Richard was selected to be a Rhodes Scholar, and he earned a MLitt at Worcester College, Oxford. And then, interspersed with stints as a river guide and a labourer, he began the long journey of becoming one of the greatest novelists of the century.
Flanagan's fist four novels were non-fiction works, spanning such subjects as the Gordon River, the rise of the Green Party and a detailed account into the life and times of John Friedrich, known as Australia's greatest con-man. He refers to this period of his writing as his "apprenticeship".
In 1994 came Flanagan's first fiction novel, "Death of a River Guide", followed three years later by "The Sound of One Hand Clapping", which became a major best-seller and was then turned into a major film with Richard serving as writer and director. Four more novels followed, each receiving increasing numbers of literary awards and the critic's praises, all culminating with the publication in 2013 of "The Narrow Road to the Deep North", winner of the 2014 Man Booker Prize.
Richard Flanagan is more than a novelist. He is also a distinguished journalist, and his work has appeared in the world's leading publications, including Le Monde, The London Daily Telegraph, the New York Times and the New Yorker. Indeed, his 2007 essay on the logging company Gunns led to all sorts of consequences, and the piece won the 2008 John Curtin Prize for Journalism.
Richard Flanagan represents the best of Tasmania and the University of Tasmania, and we are extremely proud and privileged to recognise him this evening as the winner of the 2015 Distinguished Alumni Award.
Born in Brighton, a seaside suburb of Adelaide, Christobel Mattingley came to Tasmania with her family as a fourteen year old. Her studies at the University of Tasmania began in 1948 and in May 1951, she successfully graduated with a Bachelor of Arts with first class honours, majoring in German.
Christobel is a prolific writer, having authored over 50 books. While she lives in South Australia, her Tasmanian connection has been maintained over the decades, including significant writings with a Tasmanian theme. Amongst these works is King of the Wilderness, a book of great significance to Tasmania, as it places the importance of the Tasmanian wilderness into global view. Meticulously researched over a long period, it is the personal story of a man who was a pioneer in Tasmania’s South-West. It offers an historical and environmental insight into ideas, people and places of which many Tasmanians would not be aware.
Another significant publication with a Tasmanian connection is Battle Order 204. It is a vivid account of her husband’s war experiences, which tells of his leaving his Launceston home to become an RAAF bomber pilot based in England. Again, through Christobel’s meticulous research to recover details of events and personal recollections, the book conveys the message of the horror of war told from an intensely personal standpoint.
Christobel’s writing embodies a keen community concern. Her children’s books feature characters who may be viewed as desirable models for young people, without detracting from the appeal of the stories. Many of her books have been translated into other languages and published in Braille and as Hear a Book for the visually impaired. Her writing reflects a passion for causes such as preservation of the environment, Aboriginal rights and heritage, the effects of nuclear weapons on innocent people, and international cooperation.
Christobel’s strongly held principles and concerns are not only expressed in her books. Her energetic participation in workshops and community events throughout Australia and beyond, and her willingness to share her writing expertise with young people, is represented by a constant stream of activity which has continued through to the present day. Her contribution has been consistently recognised over four and a half decades through a number of awards and accolades.
Notable amongst these honours are an Australia Council Literature Board Fellowship; the Advance Australia Award for Service to Literature; and for outstanding contribution to the creation of Australian children’s books, the Inaugural Ekidnas Lifetime Recognition Award. In 1987, the City of South Perth, WA inaugurated the annual Christobel Mattingley Award for Young Writers.
In 1995, Christobel received an Honorary Doctorate from the University of South Australia for service to literature. The following year she was made a Member of the Order of Australia for service to literature and social justice.
The University of Tasmania is honoured to have Christobel as one of our alumni, and proud to be recognising her in the awarding of the Distinguished Alumni Award for 2014.
Donald William Challen’s career was founded on 15 years as a University of Tasmania academic economist. Don graduated from the University with a Bachelor of Economics with First Class Honours in 1970 and Master of Economics in 1976. He tutored in the Economics Department in 1971, was appointed a Lecturer in 1972, Senior Lecturer in 1978 and Reader in Economics in 1984.
In 1980, he was instrumental in establishing and obtaining Commonwealth and State Government funding for the Centre for Regional Economics (CREA), of which he was the founding Director. He also served as Chair of CREA’s Board for a decade from 1993. CREA was the first research centre at the University outside the physical sciences, and for 20 years it played an influential role in Tasmanian policy-making, establishing an enviable reputation for high quality policy-relevant research and regional analysis.
After two years in Canberra at the Office of the Economic Planning Advisory Council, Don returned to Tasmania in 1986, taking up the role of Deputy Under-Treasurer at the Tasmanian Treasury. Don’s career continued as Managing Director of the Tasmanian Development Authority for two years, before he was appointed Secretary of the Department of Treasury and Finance in 1993, a position he held for 17 years.
Don provided exceptional leadership to the Treasury and within the public sector more broadly. He worked with six Premiers and six Treasurers, in Liberal and Labor governments, providing advice essential for consolidating Tasmania’s dire fiscal position, inherited from the 1980s. He can be credited with supporting then Premier Michael Field AC in enabling opinion-makers to support a new era of fiscal stringency in 1989. Don had overarching responsibility for Tasmania’s entry into the National Electricity Market, and served with distinction on the boards of Basslink and Hydro Tasmania. He also played a leading role in upgrading Australian accounting standards for governments and their agencies, with ‘greater transparency’ his mantra.
Don’s outstanding contribution to public administration was recognised in 2011 when he was made a National Fellow of the Institute of Public Administration Australia.
His commitment to public policy did not end when he retired in 2010. He currently serves as Chairman of the Tasmanian Public Finance Corporation, Transend Networks, and the Motor Accidents Insurance Board; he is Deputy President of the Retirement Benefits Fund Board, and a Director of the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra.
Don was appointed a Member of the Order of Australia this year for significant service to economics, and to public administration in Tasmania in the treasury and finance sector.
Dr Nicholas Hope has made an outstanding contribution to economic development in emerging countries as a Senior Director of the World Bank and as Director of the Centre for International Development at Stanford University. Nick has influenced international economic theory and practice through his academic role, co-editing How far Across the River? : Chinese Policy Reform at the Millennium in 2003, and Policy Reform and Chinese Markets in 2008.
Nick was born in Hobart and his father was Clerk of the Court of Petty Sessions. After attending Hobart High School, where he was Dux and Head Prefect, he studied maths and physics at the University of Tasmania, graduating with a Bachelor of Science in 1965 and gaining a Rhodes Scholarship. At Balliol College Oxford he was admitted to the degree of Bachelor of Arts, specialising in Mathematics, in 1967, and a Bachelor of Philosophy in Economics in 1969.
As a Lecturer in Economics at Monash University between 1971 and 1976, Nick received a Research Fellowship from the Brooking Institute, Washington DC in 1974. Nick studied Economics at Princeton University in the United States graduating with a Doctor of Philosophy in 1975.
A stellar career with the World Bank began in 1977 for Nick, becoming involved in the production of the ‘World Bank Development report’ and, in 1980, his role as Division Chief in the External Debt Division of the Economic Analysis and Projections Department covered many projects, supervising the World Debt Tables and representing the World Bank at global seminars and conferences. In 1990, as Director of the World Bank, Resident Staff, Indonesia he was responsible for 75 projects and a $9.5 billion lending portfolio. Nick was Country Director for China and Mongolia from 1994 and heavily involved in the ‘China 2020 Study’, and from 1997 he coordinated 11 Country Directors as World Bank Staff Director in Europe and Central Asia.
Taking a secondment from the World Bank in 1998, Nick took up the position at Stanford University in San Francisco of Deputy Director of the Stanford Centre for International Development. He became permanent after two years, then Director of the Centre in 2007. Nick teaches and provides student supervision in development of Asian economies, and the role and effectiveness of international financial institutions.
As a well-respected Director of the University of Tasmania Foundation USA, Nicholas has provided much expertise and support for UTAS fundraising in the United States.
In the 2012 Queen’s Birthday Honours, Nick was appointed a Member of Australia for service to the international business and finance sector, particularly the economic development of emerging nations, through senior leadership with banking and academic institutions.
Professor Rupert Maclean AO has enjoyed – and continues to enjoy – a stellar career in education, both locally and internationally.
After a spell of teaching in Australia and the UK, Rupert lectured in the Centre for Education at the University of Tasmania. While working, he gained his PhD at the University of Tasmania in 1988 under the supervision of Professor Kevin Collis and the late Professor Phillip Hughes, with whom he went on to enjoy a lifelong association and friendship.
Rupert then embarked on a highly distinguished twenty-year international career with the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation – UNESCO. Since 1990, he has held several significant and prestigious appointments, in Yangon, Bangkok, Paris and finally Bonn, where he was the Foundation Director of the UNESCO-UNEVOC International Centre for Education. Rupert’s roles with UNESCO were linked by a common purpose of improving education, particularly in developing countries. His work has included a wide range of challenges such as creating training models for former Afghani and Liberian child soldiers, improving the education of girls and women in rural areas in China, and strengthening and upgrading teacher education in Myanmar.
After his sojourn in Bonn, Rupert moved to his current home, Hong Kong, where he now holds three concurrent professorial positions at the Hong Kong Institute of Education: Chair Professor of International Education; UNESCO Chair in Technical and Vocational Education and Training and Lifelong Education; and Director of the Centre for Lifelong Learning Research and Development. In addition, he holds academic positions in Melbourne, China, the Philippines and as a Visiting Professor and Senior Research Fellow at the University of Oxford.
Rupert has published widely in his areas of expertise, and is author or co-author of 17 books, numerous chapters in books, research reports, journal articles and papers. Some of his publications have been translated into Arabic, Chinese, Japanese, French, Spanish and Russian, and he is on the editorial advisory boards of several international education journals.
Rupert’s significant contribution to education internationally was recognised in the 2011 Queen’s Birthday honours list with an Officer of the Order of Australia award for ‘distinguished service to technical and vocational education, particularly through UNESCO’.
Despite his overseas appointments, Rupert has maintained close ties with Tasmania, through regular visits and as a visiting lecturer in the UTAS Faculty of Education’s Masters program in global education. To us, therefore, he is a former student, friend, colleague and – deservedly – a distinguished alumnus.
Distinguished Professor Ross Large is an economic geologist who is internationally recognised for his research and leadership in the field of ore deposits.
After attending Hobart High, Ross received a BSc Hons from the University of Tasmania in 1969, and a PhD from the University of New England. He undertook a CSIRO Postdoctoral Fellowship at the University of Toronto, then worked for a decade in mineral exploration with Geopeko Ltd, exploring for mineral deposits in the Northern Territory, Queensland and Tasmania. The mid-eighties saw him back at the University of Tasmania, and in 1989 he established ‘CODES’, a National Key Centre in ore deposit research jointly funded by the Australian Research Council, the University of Tasmania, the mining industry and State government.
Under Ross’s leadership, CODES has progressed from an Australian Research Council – or ARC – Key Centre, to an ARC Special Research Centre, to an ARC Centre of Excellence in 2005. As such, it is now one of the top research institutes in the field of ore deposit geology and exploration in the world. With an operating budget of around $10 million, 42 geoscientists and 95 postgraduate students form a research team that works with over fifty mining and exploration companies worldwide.
Ross himself has become internationally recognised for his research on the genesis of stratiform gold and base metal sulphide deposits in volcanic arcs and sedimentary basins. His research has involved close collaboration with the international mining industry to determine the geological and geochemical factors that control the genesis of, and exploration for, mineral deposits. He has published ninety papers in national and international journals, and delivered fifty invited keynote addresses at conferences around the world.
Ross has received numerous awards for his work – too numerous to list here. In brief, he received the Haddon Forrester King Medal from the Australian Academy of Science in 2005 for his research contributions related to the exploration for mineral deposits, and in 2009 he became a Distinguished Professor at the University of Tasmania. That year he also received an Honorary Doctorate from the University of Lulea, Sweden, for his international research in ore deposits.
Ross has made an outstanding contribution to ore research, and elevated the standing of the University in the international arena. He is a most worthy recipient of this year’s Distinguished Alumni Award.
Reverend Professor Michael Tate has had an extraordinary and diverse career as academic, politician, diplomat and priest.
He gained a first class honours in Law from the University of Tasmania before studying a Bachelor of Arts at Oxford in the Honour School of Theology in 1971. An academic career at UTAS followed, including serving as Dean of the Faculty of Law from 1977-78.
Michael has also had a long and distinguished career as a Federal politician. From 1978 he was for fifteen years a Labor Senator for Tasmania, and will be remembered for holding the position of Minister for Justice from 1987 to 1993 in the Hawke and Keating governments. He also gave significant parliamentary committee service, including as Chair of several committees.
In 1993 he was appointed Australian Ambassador to the Netherlands and Holy See. He represented Australia at the International Court of Justice and was involved in the early days of the War Crimes Tribunal. In 1996 his outstanding achievements were recognised through the award of an officer of the Order of Australia. More recently Michael has answered a calling and is now a priest in the Hobart Archdiocese of the Roman Catholic Church.
In 1992 he was awarded an Honorary Doctor of Laws by the University of Tasmania and has been an Honorary Professor since 1997. In numerous ways, Michael continues to promote the standing of the University of Tasmania and the Faculty of Law, both at a local and international level. He continues to provide seminars for staff and lectures to students in International Law. He was instrumental in establishing the Tim Hawkins Memorial Scholarship which enables a University of Tasmania graduate to gain experience at the War Crimes Tribunals at The Hague. He also advised the Australian Government delegation at the 2010 Uganda Conference amending the Treaty of the International Criminal Court.
He has been active in promoting UTAS alumni opportunities including facilitating recent events in Melbourne, London and Oxford. Last year Michael was appointed Parliamentary Standards Commissioner, a position associated with Tasmania’s new Integrity Commission.
In short, Reverend Professor Michael Tate AO has excelled in all his professional domains. He has made an outstanding contribution to his University, his community, his State and his country. We are honoured to have him as one of our alumni, and it is fitting that his contributions be recognised by the University of Tasmania Alumni through the Distinguished Alumni Award.
Professor Byrne obtained a First Class MBBS Honours degree from the University of Tasmania in 1974. He is an Officer of the Order of Australia, the Vice-Chancellor of Monash University, a highly eminent neuroscientist and has made an outstanding contribution to research into degenerative neurological diseases. Prof Byrne first went to Monash University as the Dean of the Faculty of Medicine Nursing and Health Sciences, a role he held from 2003 to 2007. Another move to England followed with his appointment as the Vice Provost (Health) at University College London from 2007. In July last year he became the eighth Vice-Chancellor of Monash University. Apart from his dedication to clinical neurology, Prof Byrne has made an outstanding contribution to the field of research into degenerative neurological diseases, particularly as they relate to progressive muscular disease such as muscular dystrophy. Prof Byrne has also served on a number of charitable trusts and provided advice in the neurology area to several community-based organisations.