Alumni community shines

A philanthropist, world-leading orchestra conductor and an acclaimed author are among University of Queensland 2021 Alumni Awards recipients.

Vice-Chancellor and President Professor Deborah Terry AO said the awards were a highlight of the year and an opportunity to acknowledge the good work and profound success of the University’s community.

"This year’s award recipients are role models for our students, and we are proud to recognise their extraordinary efforts," Professor Terry said.

"UQ’s alumni community of more than 300,000 extends across 190 countries, and collectively has an astounding impact across the globe,"

The UQ Alumnus of the Year title was awarded to Caroline Frazer (pictured), a renowned philanthropist who is passionate about education and the arts in Queensland.

Though humble in her approach, Mrs Frazer - together with her husband Professor Ian Frazer AC - has significantly advanced the next generation of talent in the state through her generous support.

By co-leading UQ’s first major philanthropic campaign, Mrs Frazer helped to attract over 30,000 gifts and more than $607 million to support a range of causes at UQ, with support of students closest to her heart.

"The more people in the community who know that there are ways to support students and help build a better-educated society, the better," Mrs Frazer said.

Sexual assault survivor advocate and acclaimed author, Bri Lee (pictured), was among the recipients of a Distinguished Young Alumni Award.

She said her work as an author and in helping to reforming Australia’s consent and sexual assault laws had real impact in people’s lives.

"I have received countless messages from people who have read one of my books then made real change in their lives," Ms Lee said.

"There is no more satisfying feeling than knowing your work is having an impact like that."

Musical maestro, international conductor Simon Hewett (pictured), was one of five 2021 recipients of the Vice-Chancellor’s Alumni Excellence Award for his leadership and generosity in building opportunities for young Queensland musicians.

Mr Hewett said while at UQ he was supported by generous academic staff, and he was happy to now be able to pay it forward.

"While I was an undergraduate student, the Dean and Head of School of Music, Malcolm Gillies AM, was a hugely important mentor and influence for me," Mr Hewett said.

"He helped me to pursue conducting and flourish in that, then he encouraged me to pursue a career in Germany and supported me every step of the way - he even gave me piano lessons for six months after I left UQ for free to help me succeed in the program!"

Mr Hewett is now the Music Director of the Queensland Youth Orchestra and continues to serve in the role of Principal Conductor with the Hamburg Ballet.

The full list of the 2021 Alumni Awards are:

UQ Alumnus of the Year (award created by Alumni Friends): Caroline Frazer for commitment to improving the lives of so many Australians through arts and educational advocacy and philanthropic work.

Vice-Chancellor’s Alumni Excellence Award:

  • Simon Hewett for leadership and generosity in building opportunities for young Queensland musicians, and for commitment to the UQ community.
  • Daryl Holmes OBE for leadership in the field of dental care, as well as outstanding commitment to serving others.
  • Amanda Johnston-Pell for outstanding leadership in business, and for your service to community, education and private diplomatic initiatives.
  • Marguerite Evans-Galea AM for outstanding leadership in the field of science and for commitment to advancing the role of women in STEMM.
  • Allan Davies for outstanding professional achievements as well as commitment to helping others through the Dalara Foundation.

Distinguished Young Alumni Award

  • Bonny Cumming for commitment to serving Australia's Indigenous communities.
  • James Fielding for entrepreneurial leadership and service to UQ through the Ventures program.
  • Bri Lee for advocacy for survivors of sexual assault and for law reform, and exceptional achievements as an author.
  • Bavahuna Manoharan for leadership in the medical field as Queensland responds to the COVID-19 crisis.
  • Mikhara Ramsing for serving other, including through the founding of the Miks Chai.

Indigenous Community Impact Award: Kevin O’Brien for his contribution to improving understanding between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians and advocacy in the design community.

International Alumnus of the Year: Ryan Taft for outstanding contributions to medical research of rare diseases, and commitment to serving others through advocacy and philanthropy.

Gatton Gold Medal: Daniel Kelly AM for outstanding leadership and service to international humanitarian emergency response work.

Colleges' UQ Alumni Award: Scott Young for outstanding contributions to the international sporting community and commitment to improving University life at King's College.

UQ Graduate of the Year (award created by Alumni Friends): Jessie Harper, Bachelor of Agricultural Science (Hons)

Sportsman of the Year: Callum Davies (student) for middle-distance running.

Sportswoman of the Year: Natalie Grider (student) for Australian rules football.

Full details of the 2020 Alumni Award recipients are here


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