Foundation Graduate Award

Honouring the exceptional impact our alumni are having on our island and the world.

Read about our Foundation Graduate Award recipients or browse our other award category listings.

Distinguished Alumni Award Young Alumni Award International Alumni Award

Dr Emma Lee is an Indigenous success story and was awarded her PhD on 12 December 2017. Her PhD thesis was entitled ‘Establishing Joint Management processes and Models for Tasmania’s Protected Areas’. This cutting edge piece of research was described by her examiners as a ‘great work of communication that neatly blends academic scholarship with the wisdom and interpretations of an Indigenous people, and presents an eloquent argument for a cultural approach to negotiating and sharing Country, making an extremely  significant contribution to knowledge’.

During her PhD research studies, Dr Lee was based at the University’s Cradle Coast Campus where she was an active and inspirational member of the Institute for Regional Development and the Cradle Coast Academic Community of Practice.
Dr Lee was particularly active in supporting our international PhD candidates and in modelling and encouraging public research information.

Dr Lee was the first Aboriginal Tasmanian to be a recipient of an Indigenous Fellowship under the Australian Government’s Endeavour Awards.

Dr Lee’s expertise was confirmed in December 2017 when she was nominated by the Federal Minister for Indigenous Affairs to be Tasmania’s indigenous representative on the Tasmanian Regional jobs and Investment Package Committee. She is currently establishing an Indigenous cultural fisheries and food market in Tasmania, with Tasmanian Government support. This is part of her post-doctoral work with the Australian Government Fisheries Research and Development Corporation, and focuses on shifting legislative barriers to indigenous engagement. Her work will benefit thousands of Aboriginal Tasmanians, particularly through the eight organisations that constitute the Tasmanian Regional Aboriginal Community Alliance.

Dr Lee is a key architect of the first joint management plan for a Tasmanian protected area, the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage area, and drew on her international networks with the World Heritage Committee for Aboriginal Tasmanians to provide direct advice, informed opinions and aspirations. This work brought her to the attention of the ICCA Consortium, operating in 75 countries for Indigenous conservation, where she is now an Honorary Member and Oceanic representative.

The University of Tasmania is honoured to have Dr Lee as one of our alumni and proud to be recognising her achievements in the awarding of the Foundation Graduate Award for 2018.

Dr Alice Edwards has combined her two core passions, Social Justice and Law, to forge a remarkable career dedicated to human rights, particularly focussed on advancing the rights of women and refugees. Her journey started at the University of Tasmania where she studied a Bachelor of Arts and Law graduating with Honours in Law in 1997. She then travelled around Africa and witnessed first-hand the devastation of poverty in war-afflicted zones. Inspired to make a difference, Dr Edwards volunteered for a year at Food for the Hungry International in Mozambique, then returned to Australia to complete her legal articles and become admitted as a barrister and solicitor.

Driven by her passion for humanitarian causes and global outlook, Dr Edwards went on to work in legal and policy positions for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in some of the world’s most devastated locations, including Rwanda, and Bosnia and Herzegovina. She then spent five years in academia, in both research and teaching positions at Oxford University and the University of Nottingham, and currently teaches at the University of London.

Dr Edwards became the youngest woman ever to hold the position of Chief of Protection Policy and Legal Advice of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. During the world’s largest refugee crisis, she provided advice to the High Commissioner on ways to better protect refugees and was responsible for over 90 interventions submitted to major courts to protect the rights of refugees, with over a 95% success rate. She personally initiated, galvanised support for and steered the UNHCR’s global strategy to end the detention of asylum seekers and secured over $2 million in funding for projects related to human rights and research.

She now brings her passion and expertise to the role of Head of the Secretariat for the Convention against Torture Initiative, in Geneva, Switzerland – an initiative dedicated to achieving the universal ratification of the United Nations Convention against Torture. She is recognised by her peers for her expert acumen, versatility, perseverance and sense of humour.

Dr Edwards has produced over 50 publications and contributed over 30 articles to leading academic journals. Her work has made a major contribution to the field of human rights policy and law, and has impacted the lives of millions of refugees and persons in need.

The University of Tasmania is honoured to have Dr Edwards as one of our alumni and proud to be recognising her achievements in the awarding of the Foundation Graduate Award for 2017.

Dr Clare Smith attended Claremont High School and Guilford Young College before beginning her studies at the  University of Tasmania.  She graduated with a Bachelor in Biotechnology in 2007, achieving the distinction of First Class Honours.  After completing a PhD in Medical Research in 2012, Dr Smith stayed on at the University for one more year as a lecturer in Human Genetics. She also held an Honorary Associate position at the Australian School of Advanced Medicine at Macquarie University.

Somewhat surprisingly, science was not Dr Smith's favourite subject as a young woman.  Clare was an active sportswoman, competing in cricket and rowing, and she enjoyed English and Creative Writing.  However, a week-long work experience program at the Menzies Institute for Medical Research when she was just 15 opened the door to Dr Smith's true passion.

Just a few years later, while a research student at Menzies, Dr Smith discovered that a drug previously used to treat fungal infections had the potential to cure malaria.  Dr Smith demonstrated that the drug deprives the malaria parasite of the human red blood cells it needs to survive. Her detective work in the laboratory exposed the Achilles heel of the notoriously persistent disease, and this discovery could turn out to be one of the 21st century's most important medical breakthroughs.

Dr Smith is now in a three-year post at the University of Massachusetts helping research the treatment of tuberculosis. According to the World Health Organisation, tuberculosis is the world's leading infectious killer.  Clearly, Dr Smith does not shy away from a challenge.

Away from the laboratory, Dr Smith still loves to get into a skull or onto a cricket pitch.  As a teenager, Dr Smith rowed with the Glenorchy Rowing Club, and then went on to coach young women at the Buckingham Rowing Club. Clare Smith was viewed as a role model for the younger rowers, and her ability to inspire young women to aim for higher goals was infectious.

Success such as this is not achieved without talent, initiative and endeavour.  Dr Clare Smith possesses these qualities in abundance, and she is a most deserving recipient of the 2016 University of Tasmania Foundation Graduate Award.

John David Perry graduated from the University of Tasmania in 1994 in the combined degree of Bachelor of Commerce and Bachelor of Laws. John began to exhibit the characteristics of leadership, concern for others and high academic achievement at an early age. John was named School Captain and Dux at Scotch Oakburn College, Senior Student at Christ College, President of the National Association of Australian University Colleges and received a Rotary Youth Leadership Award in 1995.

It was while he was simultaneously working as a young partner in the Australasian Law firm of Hunt and Hunt and still in the part-time residential role of Director of Programs and Dean of Studies that he helped develop a program designed to inspire students as leaders. This grew into the Tasmanian Leaders Program, which provides leadership education and mentoring for young Tasmanians eager to take up the challenge of leadership in countless organisations and institutions. Significantly, John served as the inaugural Chair of the Board of the Tasmanian Leaders Program.

John Perry's professional career has followed a steady upwards trajectory. For five years he led the Knowledge Transfer Centre and became the Head of Innovation and Enterprise at London Metropolitan University. From there he joined American Airlines International Division as a financial analyst and Head of Europe Business Planning. His next step was to serve as Commercial lead for Atlantic Joint Business, an $11 billion joint venture between American Airways, British Airways, Iberia and Finnair headquartered in New York.

Along the way John found time to earn an MBA with distinction from the Judge Business School at the University of Cambridge also serve as the London network co-ordinator for the University of Tasmania Alumni Office.

Much to our delight, John Perry's unerring record of achievement and success has now brought him back home to Tasmania. In late 2014, Premier Will Hodgman named Mr Perry as Tasmania's first Co-ordinator General, where he serves as an international ambassador for investment and job creation in the State.

The University of Tasmania is exceptionally proud to recognise and honour one of our most distinguished graduates, John David Perry, by awarding him the Foundation Graduate Award for 2015.

Mansoor Mirkazemi arrived in Tasmania in 1986 as a 17 year-old Iranian refugee, and today, Dr Mansoor Mirkazemi is a highly successful plastic surgeon in Melbourne. His story, is one of dedication, excellence, and compassion.

Mansoor arrived in Hobart with limited English, yet with the support and encouragement of his teachers, succeeded in his secondary studies at Elizabeth College. Mansoor then spent one year performing voluntary service in Haifa, Israel, before being admitted to the School of Medicine at the University of Tasmania.

Mansoor graduated in 1995, and completed his internship and two years of Basic Surgical Training at the Royal Hobart Hospital. Mansoor credits his interest in the challenging work of plastic surgery from his time with the Plastic Surgery Department at the Royal Hobart Hospital when he worked with Professor Frank Kimble, Mr Miki Pohl and Mr Simon Thompson.

In 2002, Mansoor moved to Victoria, where he trained under the auspices of the Royal Australian College of Surgeons in General Surgery for two years before taking an extra four years of advanced training in Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery.

Much of Mansoor's work is in breast reconstruction for women who have had breast cancer, along with general plastic surgery and some cosmetic surgery. He regularly volunteers with Interplast to help people in Indonesia and Fiji where he treats children with cleft lips and palates, burn injuries, hand injuries and tumours who would otherwise not have access to medical treatment. He has also been involved in many pro bono surgeries at Monash Hospital on children from overseas with massive facial tumours who found a second chance at life.

He is actively involved in the teaching of plastic surgery trainees and is the Supervisor of Surgical Training at the Victorian Plastic Surgery Unit. He regularly attends local, national and international conferences and workshops to stay up to date with the latest innovations in the field of plastic, cosmetic and reconstructive surgery. Mansoor is also a contributing scholar, and has published articles in peer-reviewed journals, presented his work in many meetings, and at conferences.

Dr Mirkazemi is a Fellow of the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons (FRACS), a member of the Australian Society of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeons (ASPS) and a member of the Australasian Cleft Lip and Palate Association.

Mansoor has not only achieved his goal of becoming a doctor, but also has realised his vision of being able to help those in need. He is a shining example of giving back to the larger community through his donation of skills and time.

The University of Tasmania is honoured to have Mansoor as one of our alumni, and proud to be recognising him in the awarding of the Foundation Graduate Award for 2015.

Raised in Melbourne, Andrew MacLeod moved to Tasmania in 1988 to commence a combined degree of Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Laws at the University of Tasmania. During his time here, he held the positions of President of the Student Sports Council, Vice-President of the Student Union and manager of the Student Housing Scheme. Andrew has fond memories of his time at the University of Tasmania and believes that he would not have had the opportunity to undertake these activities at a larger university.

A public lecture during his second year as a law student inspired Andrew to begin an extraordinary career of humanitarian operations. The lecture, given by the then Minister for Justice, Michael Tate, was on constitutional law. Reverend Professor Tate urged students to “use their skills for the betterment of other people”. Andrew decided then and there that he wanted to work for the International Committee of the Red Cross and United Nations Commission for Refugees – and he’s since done both.

Earlier in his career, Andrew was a high level UN official and Delegate of the International Committee of the Red Cross in conflict and natural disaster zones as diverse as Rwanda, Yugoslavia and Pakistan. Most notably he acted as Chief of Operations to the United Nations response in the 2005 Pakistan Earthquake. Andrew was previously General Manager Community, Communications and External Relations for global giant Rio Tinto, which gave him true global exposure to economies and communities of countries such as Mongolia, United States, South Africa, Australia, and Peru. Prior to his Rio Tinto appointment, Andrew was CEO for the Committee for Melbourne.

In addition to giving his time to numerous charities, Andrew currently sits on the boards of Cornerstone Capital, the Sustainable Accounting Advisory Board, the steering committee of the World Economic Forum ‘Future of Civil Society’ project, the UN’s Expert Group on Responsible Business and Investment in High-Risk Areas, and the King’s College Humanitarian Futures Program advisory board. He also maintains a Commission as an Officer in the Australian Army Reserve.

Andrew received the Humanitarian Overseas Service Medal by Australia for work in the Balkans and was awarded a second time for work in Rwanda. He received the Australian Defence Medal for service as an officer in the Australian Infantry. He has been recognised by the Australian Government for his work in East Timor, and was awarded the Silver Medal for Humanity from the Montenegrin Red Cross. Andrew is also recognised with the Australian Davos Connection Leadership Award. As a world-class silver-medallist swimmer, for the 200 metres Butterfly at the 2002 World Masters Games, Andrew has regularly volunteered to help national swimming teams in developing countries.

Andrew’s current charitable work includes serving as a patron of ‘Swags for the Homeless’, Ambassador for the Victorian Youth Mentoring Alliance, founding Chairman of the United Nations Principles for Social Investment and an advisor to The Big Issue Australia.

For his innumerable contributions, both global and national, Andrew is a most deserving recipient of the 2014 Foundation Graduate Award.

Marnie Hughes-Warrington

Born in Dandenong, Victoria, Professor Marnie Hughes-Warrington graduated from the University of Tasmania in 1992 with a Bachelor of Education with First Class Honours before travelling to Oxford University as a Rhodes Scholar. Her studies at UTAS sparked a passion for her research on the connections between education and history in the writings of R.G. Collingwood, a philosopher of history and a Roman archaeologist who died in 1943. Marnie was admitted to the degree of Doctor of Philosophy at Merton College, Oxford in 1995.

One particular mark of Marnie’s historiographical expertise is her first book “Fifty Key Thinkers on History”, published in the year 2000. She undertook research on debates and thinkers from the ancient and modern world, from Bede to Braudel; Marx to Michelet; Ranke to Rowbotham; Foucault to Fukuyama. The book has sold close to 30,000 copies, and she is now working on a third edition.

A recipient of a number of fellowships, prizes, awards and honours, including the Prime Minister’s Award for University Teacher of the Year in 2008, Marnie was Visiting Professor in Global History that year in Leipzig. In 2009 Marnie was appointed Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Teaching and Learning) at Monash University.

In 2012 Marnie became Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic) at the Australian National University, responsible for enhancing the ANU’s national and global leadership in the provision of research-led education. Her work takes her across many domains, from innovative double degree design and education administration improvement, to ANU participation in the online consortium edX and the $50 million Tuckwell gift for student scholarships.

She is an administrator and researcher. Marnie has received grants worth more than $18 million and she is currently researching ‘measuring teaching quality’, funded by a higher education teaching grant and involving prestigious collaborators at Melbourne, Griffith and Monash universities.

Marnie has published six books and has taught on three continents and in such distinguished learning centres as Oxford and Leipzig, Monash, Macquarie and ANU, and the University of Washington in Seattle and Harvard. Her writing and teaching has taken her from the study of Hegel’s theories, to historical films and through to hate histories. These topics are all drawn together by her interest in why people make histories and why some people also hurt one another in the name of history. She also brings great experience to creating and renewing curricula, which encourages students to see themselves as agents of global change.

As a world leader in curriculum reform and renewal in history, Professor Marnie Hughes-Warrington is a woman of outstanding academic prowess, and is more than deserving of the University of Tasmania Foundation Graduate Award 2013.

Simon Hollingsworth has excelled in an impressive diversity of areas and built a strong skill base that now serves him, and Australian sport, very well. Born in Tasmania where he attended St Patrick's College, Launceston and St Virgil's College, Hobart, Simon graduated from the University of Tasmania in 1996 with a combined degree of Bachelor of Commerce and Bachelor of Laws, achieving Honours in Law. During his time at UTAS, Simon succeeded in further combining this combined degree with competing both nationally and internationally in the 400 metre hurdles. He represented Australia both at the 1992 and 1996 Olympic Games, as well as the Commonwealth Games and World Athletics Championships. Simon still holds the record at under 18 level in the 400m hurdles with a time of 50.45 seconds. He was twice the Uni of Tasmania Sportsperson of the Year.

In 1997 he went to Oxford as Tasmania's Rhodes Scholar, where he studied Politics, Philosophy and Economics at Exeter College.

After Oxford, Simon took up a position with the Boston Consulting Group in Melbourne, a global management consulting firm, where he rose to be a Senior Consultant. In 2003 Simon joined the Victorian Department of Premier and Cabinet, where he was Executive Director of the Policy and Cabinet Group, a role that involved him providing advice to the Premier on a range of complex policy matters, including social, economic and infrastructure policy.

This strong track record in public administration, combined with his experience in the sporting arena, led perhaps naturally but impressively to Simon being appointed, in September 2011, as Chief Executive of the Australian Sports Commission, which oversees the Australian Institute of Sport. In relation to high performance sport, the Australian Sports Commission primarily funds the Olympic and Paralympic effort in Australia, and it liaises across the nation with all sporting groups. Simon is responsible for a budget of over $500m, and more than 750 staff.

In this important national leadership position, Simon brings to bear a deep understanding of sport, of business, and how governments interface with sport. He is a person strongly committed to the development of sport and participation across our nation. As such, it is anticipated Simon will have a profound influence on the development of sport in Australia over the next several decades.

Simon is a most deserving recipient of the Foundation Graduate Award, 2012.

Despite still being a young man, Brodie Neill has carved out a career and international reputation in one of the toughest markets, that of furniture design.

Born in Hobart, Brodie graduated from the University of Tasmania in 2001 with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Furniture Design with Honours. He then took a Masters at the Rhode Island School of Design. At University, it was quickly recognised that here was an extraordinary individual with unlimited potential. As a student he excelled consistently, always applying twice the effort of his peers, with twice the result. His work was wholly inventive, rigorously researched, and masterfully executed.

Since graduating, Brodie has pursued his professional life with the same inventiveness, rigor and masterful production, successfully integrating digital technologies with the sensitivities of the hand-made. Furthermore, he has shown the courage and conviction to test these ideas in the fiercely competitive international arena, in New York, London, Milan, Paris and Holland, working for prestigious clients and receiving high acclaim through exhibition and authoritative design journal coverage such as Time Magazine, Esquire, Vogue and Harpers Bazaar. His designs command high prices.

To achieve such respected acceptance into this international design scene, so quickly, and at such a young age, is a major accomplishment, laying the ground for a distinguished career. It is also imperative, where one’s reputation often rests on your latest design, that a designer must continually strive to do better with each new assignment, being prepared to take risks but having the confidence and panache to be able to carry it off, every time. Brodie has demonstrated that he has what it takes to be successful at this, competing with the best in the international field, and yet remaining true to his roots. His work continues to develop at the highest level of design and execution.

As for Brodie the man, he does not try to fabricate a ‘star’ persona, but modestly lets the quality of his working do the talking. He has already proved himself as a role model in the field of furniture design. He is generous and actively engaged with mentoring others, and guest lecturing at the Tasmanian School of Art, and at universities in Europe and America. He employs interns in his studio and is free with feedback and advice to aspiring designers. He has donated a design to Maggies Cancer Caring Centre and to Save the Children in the UK, and has been an international judge at the Australian Young Designer Awards 2009 to 2011.

Brodie is a stellar example of an alumnus that brings enormous pride to his institution.

The Foundation Graduate Award recognises high-achieving graduates in their early to mid career who demonstrate the potential to shape the world through their vision, leadership and professionalism. Their outstanding personal qualities will inspire the next generation of graduates, and the community at large.

This year’s Award recipient grew up in Papua New Guinea, discussing the ABC radio news around the dinner table: the Whitlam Government’s dismissal, the famine in Kampuchea and the cold war arms race were the topics of much discussion. After primary school in PNG, she attended Methodist Ladies College in Melbourne. Her family moved back to Tasmania in 1986, and our recipient studied Arts and Law at the University, graduating in 1998.

She has demonstrated longstanding commitment to a myriad of community groups and has been an inspirational leader. Her memberships include the Mines Victims and Clearance Trust, life patron of the Bridgewater Country Music Club, Clarence Football Club, Australians for Reconciliation, Greening Australia, Abbeyfield House in Huonville and the Warrane/Mornington and Risdon Vale Neighbourhood Houses. She is a founding member of Emily’s List, an organisation that provides financial and mentoring support to progressive Labor women candidates across Australia.

Over fifteen years, our recipient has served the community with distinction and maintained her commitment to improving the provision of services to Tasmanians. Issues of social justice, progressive law reform and inclusion resonate with her, and she has displayed considerable skills in moving controversial and challenging issues forward, while countering resistance to change.

Her achievements have been numerous, and here are just some. She secured increased funding for Ten Days on the Island Festival and helped save the TSO from being downgraded to a chamber orchestra. She assisted Tasmanian cherry growers to break into the Japanese market, and established the Tasmanian Leaders Program. She undertook comprehensive statewide reforms in child protection services and disability services, and she developed Tasmania’s Health Plan, providing a comprehensive plan for the entire Tasmanian health system for the first time. She developed and passed legislation to establish an Integrity Commission in Tasmania, reformed Tasmania’s Freedom of Information laws and amended legislation to recognise same sex parental rights.

When she was elected to the seat of Lyons in 1996 at the age of 23, she was the youngest woman to be elected to an Australian parliament. Her ministerial appointments have included Minister for Economic Development, Minister for Infrastructure, Minister for the Arts, Minister for Health and Human Services, Minister for Justice, Attorney-General, Treasurer and Deputy Premier.

This year’s recipient is Premier Lara Giddings.

Tasmania, though a small State, has produced a large number of remarkable achievers. The University of Tasmania is immensely proud of its part in nurturing such talent and is delighted when ‘one of our own’ returns home to work with us here. Such is the case with Emily Hilder, and the University is the fortunate beneficiary of Emily’s choice.

Dr Emily Hilder was born and educated in Tasmania and graduated from the University of Tasmania with a Bachelor of Science in 1997, achieving first class honours in chemistry, followed by a PhD in analytical chemistry in 2000. Emily held postdoctoral appointments in Austria and California before returning to the University of Tasmania in 2004, where she is a Senior Lecturer in Chemistry and the Assistant Dean of Graduate Research.

Emily has established herself as one of Australia’s most talented and productive young researchers in analytical chemistry, with a national and international reputation in separation science. She was awarded an Australian Postdoctoral Fellowship in 2004 and a Future Fellowship in 2010 by the Australian Research Council – two highly competitive awards.

Emily has developed an independently funded research group within ACROSS – the Australian Centre for Research on Separation Science ­ – where she is Program Coordinator for the research theme ‘Separation Media’. Beyond her own research interests she has also been active in establishing a new multidisciplinary, virtual research centre at the University of Tasmania – TasBiotech – to encourage greater cross-disciplinary interaction in biotechnology.

Forty-eight published journal articles have established Emily in her field, and she has over 1000 career citations. She is Editor of the Journal of Separation Science, one of the leading international journals in this area. Emily is sought-after as a keynote speaker.

Many awards recognise Emily’s leadership qualities, in particular a UTAS Rising Stars Award, a UTAS Vice-Chancellor’s Award for Research Excellence, and the Royal Australian Chemical Institute’s Robert Cattrall Medal for ‘excellence in analytical chemistry based on publications and national and international standing in the field and teaching of the discipline within Australia’. In 2009 she was promoted by The Australian newspaper as one of only ten ‘Emerging Leaders’ in science in Australia. In the same year she was selected as the Tasmanian Young Tall Poppy of the Year for her commitment to and excellence in promoting an understanding of science. Indeed, Emily regularly visits schools and community groups to speak about science, and she is a partner scientist for the CSIRO Scientists in Schools program.

Such success as this is not achieved without talent, initiative and endeavour, and possession of all three qualities in abundance makes Emily Hilder a most deserving recipient of the 2010 Foundation Graduate Award.

Tasmania may be small in size but is big in stature because of the outstanding achievements of so many of its sons and daughters. The world over, Tasmanians have established themselves as leaders in government, science, business, diplomacy, medicine, law, education and the arts, bringing honour to this State and to this University - the alma mater of many of those leaders. David Mackey is one such Tasmanian who brings honour to this State and to this University.

David Mackey has achieved international recognition in his field at a remarkably early stage of his career and is now recognised as Australia’s most eminent genetic ophthalmologist – recognition based not only on his personal contribution to the field of ophthalmology through practice and original research, but also through the network of international research collaboration he has developed, and his outstanding commitment to his profession as a teacher and mentor to ophthalmologists from around the globe.

David’s original research into the genetics of glaucoma, and in the fields of optic atrophy and congenital cataract, has received continued research funding support for the past decade and has resulted in approximately ten research publications per year. Few can make this boast. He now has over 120 publications to his credit with ten of these having had the highest academic accolade of being cited over 100 times in other research publications.

As an indication of the respect in which he is held by his peers, David regularly receives invitations to present ‘named’ lectures at universities and professional societies. In 1993, he was awarded the Founders Cup for best scientific presentation at the Oxford Ophthalmological Conference and was the recipient of the 1999 Royal Australian College of Surgeons Foundation Scholarship. In 2000 he won the prize for best scientific presentation at the European Glaucoma Society Meeting, London. In 2005 David was awarded the five-year Pfizer fellowship for his work on the Twins Eye Study into Glaucoma, a study he initiated in Tasmania.

Born and educated in Tasmania, David gained his degree in Medicine from UTAS in 1983. After resident years in Tasmania he trained in Ophthalmology at the Royal Victorian Eye and Ear Hospital, subsequently undertaking a Fellowship in Paediatric and Genetic eye diseases at the Royal Children's Hospital where he completed his MD thesis on Leber Hereditary Optic Neuropathy in Australia. After fellowships at the Johns Hopkins Centre for Hereditary Eye Diseases in Baltimore and Moorfields Eye Hospital & the Great Ormond St Hospital for Sick Children in London, David returned to Australia to specialise in genetic eye diseases.

Until recently, David was Pfizer Australia Senior Research Fellow and Associate Professor at the University of Melbourne's Department of Ophthalmology, He also ran the genetic eye clinics at the Royal Children's Hospital and Royal Victorian Eye and Ear Hospital in Melbourne, visiting Tasmania for clinics and research sessions in Hobart and Launceston each month to participate in the ten-year Glaucoma Inheritance Study and the Twins Eye Study, both based in Tasmania.

Earlier this month David took up senior appointments at the University of Western Australia and the Lions Eye Institute as Managing Director of the Lions Eye Institute and Professor of Ophthalmology and Director of the Centre for Ophthalmology and Visual Science at the University of Western Australia. He retains the post of Clinical Professor at the University of Tasmania. We look forward to the next phase of his career which promises to be equally stellar.

There could be no more fitting recipient of the University of Tasmania Foundation Graduate Award than David Mackey.

Malcolm Wilson has dedicated his life to performance – high octane performance of the kind you would expect from a Formula One racer. An outstanding scholar, sportsman and businessman, Malcolm has always set his aspirations high, met every challenge head on, and has dedicated his life to the pursuit of excellence in any field of endeavour to which he has turned his hand.

Not content with gaining a First Class Honours degree in Chemistry and being runner-up for the Rhodes Scholarship in 1988, Malcolm went on to complete a degree in Commerce at the same level of distinction, gaining a tranche of prizes and being cited on the Dean’s Roll of Excellence. His achievement is especially noteworthy given that he undertook his studies not as a full-time student, but as a cadet employee, and later Metallurgical Officer, Research Officer, and Senior Business metallurgist of Pasminco Limited at the Electrolytic Zinc works.

Today, at the age of 42, Malcolm is now Financial Controller of BHP Billiton Marketing, based at the The Hague in the Netherlands. This key component of BHP Billiton, the world’s largest mining and resources company, is responsible for the sale and delivery to customers of all group products, with an annual revenue exceeding $US 45 billion. Malcolm has the role of managing and leading three key functions within BHP Billiton Marketing – performance reporting and accounting; strategic risk management and business planning and forecasting; and, IT systems cost management support.

Since taking on this position Malcolm has had his customary impact on the organisation bringing to bear the fine analytical skills, enthusiasm, dedication and energy that have characterised his academic and personal life. His efforts have resulted in streamlined reporting lines, the establishment of a dedicated Performance and Analysis area, Team Vision and Mission Statements to underlie key performance indicators and targets, the implementation of improved compliance and performance programs, the simplification of budget processes, and a refreshed approach to enterprise wide risk management.

Malcolm’s achievements epitomise the heights to which young UTAS graduates can aspire given dedication, courage, enthusiasm and energy. His standing as a senior executive in the highest levels of one of the world’s premier companies establishes him as one of our most distinguished graduates and a beacon to those who would follow in his path. It is with great pride that the University of Tasmania Foundation has selected Malcolm as the recipient of the 2008 Foundation Graduate Award.

Australia, today, faces an enormous crisis as our water stock diminishes in both quantity and quality. The pressure of urban users, industry, and agriculture has weighed heavily on available supply and quality at a time when the country is facing its most prolonged drought. The Australian experience is not, of course, unique. Many countries in the world face similar problems and, elsewhere, where supply might be plentiful, the quality is extremely poor as the result of heavy pollution.

It is gratifying to know that a graduate of the University of Tasmania, Professor Nicholas Ashbolt, has taken this issue as his challenge and has been influential in engineering a fundamental mind-shift in how we manage water in a more sustainable manner - not only in the developed regions of this and other countries, but also through the dedication he has shown for the developing regions in the world.

It is Nick Ashbolt’s thesis that we cannot provide truly sustainable water solutions without adopting a holistic view covering both inputs and outputs, coupled with interaction with available energy, the environment, and our abilities to finance into the long-term. Internationally recognised for outstanding research and as a leader in the field of environmental pathogens and microbial risk assessment, Nick Ashbolt has contributed significantly to a fundamental shift away from managing water by end-point testing to one based on risk management principles.

He has been intimately involved in translating his research outcomes on microbial risk assessment into the World Health Organisation Guidelines on Recreational Water and Drinking Water, and the recently released WHO Wastewater and Excreta Reuse Guidelines. He was the microbial risk assessment team leader in a six-year Swedish-funded urban water program, and has been invited by both the Swedish and Malaysian governments to be a Visiting Professor at their leading health-related water microbiology institutes.

Recently, he was appointed Senior Water Microbiologist for the US Environmental Protection Agency – the first non-US citizen to be appointed to such a senior post in the Environmental Protection Agency. Locally, his research has been implemented by major water companies such as Melbourne Water, South Australian Water, Sydney Water, and the Water Corporation of Western Australia. He was also leader of the first water sustainability framework for Australia to be accepted by the water industry. These are but a few examples of his outstanding contribution in his field.

Nick, who is currently the Head of the School of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of New South Wales, is the only head of any School of Civil and Environmental Engineering in Australia, and possibly in the world, who is a professional environmental microbiologist. This appointment is a tribute to his leadership and to his high professional standing. He has been instrumental in attracting competitive external research grants totalling over $5 million dollars in projects where he is the sole or principal investigator, and a further $1.3 million for projects where he is a co-investigator. He is highly sought after as a supervisor of doctoral students. To date, he has been primary supervisor for some seventeen PhD and three MSc students.

As a practical demonstration of his commitment to achieving sustainability in our water systems, he has made fundamental changes to his own home in Sydney by installing systems that convert household food waste and faecal solids into compost, and will treat grey water for toilet flushing, clothes washing, and garden irrigation.

It gives the University of Tasmania Foundation great pleasure and satisfaction to award the 2007 Foundation Graduate Award to an alumnus of this University who has made such an outstanding and practical contribution in a field that is of such prime importance to our future.

Animal geneticist Dr Robert Banks has spent his brilliant career making Australian agriculture thrive.

Now one of the world's most successful genetic scientists working in agriculture, Dr Banks has spent the last two decades researching, developing, commercialising and achieving widespread industry adoption of one of the world's most highly regarded genetic analysis services.

LAMBPLAN changed the face of the industry. This innovative software tracks the genetic, physical traits of young rams and ewes from breeders and produces highly accurate predictions of their young. Over the past decade, since LAMBPLAN was launched, lamb has ranked second only to wine as an Australian agricultural success story. It is now a $2 billion market, with 100,000 tonnes exported annually, including new marketplaces in the previously inaccessible US and throughout Europe – much of which is thanks to Dr Banks' expertise, innovation and hard work.

Dr Banks' achievements have generated fundamental changes to the livestock industry by a combination of focused, practical but innovative science and extensive networking and communication. Often battling against the resistance of an industry steeped in tradition, Dr Banks has made an outstanding contribution to one of our nation's most important commodities. At both national and international industry levels he is widely recognised for his competent, determined and inspirational leadership for breeders and producers.

Robert Banks completed his Bachelor's degree in Agricultural Science at the University of Tasmania, graduating with first-class honours. His honours studies involved developing a simulation model of Tasmanian sheep enterprises, which was then used to evaluate management decisions. His PhD (at UNE) took this idea of refining industry processes further, and linked evolutionary, population, and animal breeding genetics utilising all the important theoretical and practical concepts across the discipline of genetics.

After university, as Program Leader (Breeding Programs) for the Tasmanian Department of Agriculture, his research covered a range of species. He developed, for commercial use, innovative software for on-farm and central management and performance recording, as well as innovative indexing software for the dairy industry. As the National Coordinator for the Meat Research Corporation's LAMBPLAN, Dr Banks not only supervised the extension, research and technical development of his system, but also the personnel training, and project planning and management that would enable its national commercialisation. Farmers and breeders all over Australia are now using his techniques to conquer the world market.

In 2005 Dr Banks was awarded the celebrated Clunies-Ross Award, which recognises excellence in the application of science and technology. The award is the highest form of recognition for those working in a scientific field, and is designed to make known those people who have, often against difficulties and always with persistent commitment, made important contributions to science in its application for the economic, social or environmental benefit of Australia.

He is now Manager of the MLA On-Farm R&D portfolio for Southern Australia, taking in beef and sheep productivity, environment, animal health and welfare, strategic science, supply chain efficiency, and communications and adoption. This large-scale collaborative portfolio involves some $20million of research funding annually.

Continuing to inspire and be involved with the next generation of agricultural scientists at UTAS, Dr Robert Banks is a graduate who has changed – and continues to change – our world.

The name “Dr Roger Chung” has become synonymous with Tasmanian neuroscience – with breakthrough, innovation and collaboration.

At the age of just 28 – less than two years after finishing his PhD – Dr Chung has been published in 12 international journals, won three major fellowships and attracted more than half a million dollars worth of research funding.

Dr Chung's research in the NeuroRepair Group at the University of Tasmania has found new ways for the brain to heal itself after an injury, or after neurodegenerative diseases like Motor Neurone disease take hold. In particular, he is investigating how astrocytes, a supportive cell within the brain, respond to brain injury and the role that these cells play in neural recovery.

Thanks to his research, one day a damaged spine might be treatable instead of terrifying.

Dr Chung's first position at the University of Tasmania was as a postdoctoral research fellow in the NeuroRepair group, part of the School of Medicine. In 2004 he was awarded the prestigious Bill Gole Fellowship from the Motor neurone Disease Research Institute of Australia.

He also received an ARC Postdoctoral Fellowship and is now the University’s inaugural Peter Doherty Research Fellow; a grant awarded by the National Health and Medical Research Council.

In addition, Dr Chung is a named inventor on an international patent which arose from his PhD studies in the NeuroRepair Group. This has formed the basis for a productive commercial collaboration outside Tasmania, and will soon form the nucleus for a biotechnology-related company.

Deliberately bucking the trend of young UTAS medical graduates leaving the State, Dr Chung has made a conscious decision to stay in Tasmania.

He remains committed to creating a viable, vibrant environment for research throughout the State. He is a regular speaker at secondary schools and numerous voluntary organisations including Rotary and the Motor Neurone Disease Society.

It is a testament to his early success that he has already been an invited speaker at highly regarded overseas international conferences, such as those run by the Society for Neuroscience, the International Brain Research Organisation and the International Society for Neurochemistry. He was also a finalist in the Inspiring Science category of the Australian Museum’s Eureka Prizes.

He has also used the media opportunities associated with being the 2005 Premier's Young Tasmanian of the Year and a Finalist in the Young Australian of the Year to constantly promote science in general, and neuroscience in Tasmania. In this way, he has made all biomedical scientists in Tasmania the beneficiaries of his success.

This commitment to community was highlighted when Dr Chung was recently invited to participate in the Australian Future Directions Forum, championed by the Prime Minister, which brought together 100 potential young leaders to deepen relationships and explore options for the future of Australia.

Dr Roger Chung is a graduate who continues to inspire us.

  • 2005 - Mr Patrick Hall BFATas
  • 2005 - Dr Robert Mensah PhDTas
  • 2004 - Dr Sarah Pethybridge AgriSc Hons PhDTas
  • 2004 - Ms Brenda Richardson BSc HonsTas
  • 2003 - Professor Timothy McCormack LLB Hons Tas
  • 2003 - Ms Elizabeth Thomas BA Tas
  • 2002 - Mr Saul Eslake BEc Hons Tas
  • 2002 - Dr Anne-Louise Ponsonby MBBS Tas
  • 2001 - Dr Anthony Fist AgricSc Hons Tas
  • 2001 - Ms Gwynn MacCarrick BA/LLB PhDTas
  • 2001 - Dr Scott Ragg BSc Hons PhD Tas
  • 2000 - Mr John McCann BA Tas
  • 2000 - Dr Fiona Stennard BSc Hons PhD Tas
  • 1999 - Dr Jeremy Austin BSc Hons PhD Tas
  • 1999 - Dr Michelle Sale BSc Hons PhDTas