Nominations are now open for 2018 Alumni awards. The closing date for the 2018 awards is 15 June 2018.

We take great pride in the achievements and successes of our alumni, who reflect Victoria University's values and help create our legacy.

Our Alumni awards, which started in 2011, showcase the diversity of the programs of VU and our predecessor institutes. Alumni awards nominees have included local and international:

  • business leaders
  • philanthropists
  • world-class sportspeople
  • musicians
  • politicians
  • those who tirelessly volunteer to help make their communities better places to live. 

The Victoria University of today is built on the successes of our graduates. We are proud of the contribution you have made to our university, to the west of Melbourne, to our nation and across the global stage.

How to nominate

To nominate an alumna or alumnus for an Alumni Award, please download and complete the relevant nomination form and email to

To submit an Alumni Award Nomination Form:

  • nominators do not need to be graduates of Victoria University.
  • all selection criteria must be addressed in detail for a nomination to be considered.
  • self nomination is acceptable.

Please read the  Guidelines and Conditions of Nominations before completing and submitting the form.

 Alumni Award Winners

2017 Alumni Award recipients (L-R): Dr Jade Scott, Kot Monoah, David Jacka OAM, Amy Marks and Keary Karaolides (missing: Andrew Gaze AM).

Lifetime Achievement Alumni Award

This award recognises an alumna or alumnus who has built an outstanding and impeccable reputation based on their all-round contributions to their profession/vocation and their community; and ability to bring pride to VU through their embodiment of the VU Spirit.

Download the  Lifetime Achievement Alumni Award Nomination Form.

An eligible nominee in this category must:

  • be a VU alumna or alumnus
  • have exceptional and prolonged achievements in their professional field/vocation.
  • have made significant contributions to and impact within the community.
  • operate in a way that encourages and supports inclusion, diversity, excellence and respect.


Andrew Gaze AM

Head Coach, Sydney Kings
Bachelor of Applied Science (Physical Education)

Described by many as one of the greatest ever Australian basketballers; a member of the FIBA and Sports Australia Halls of Fame, Andrew Gaze AM is one of the most recognised, respected and leading sporting figures in our nation. Leader of the Australian team and flag bearer at the Sydney Olympics, this five-time Olympian is widely praised on the national stage not only for his own sporting prowess but for his leadership, ability to build a strong team culture, integrity with developing young athletes and his commitment and passion for excellence in everything he does.

Away from the courts Andrew is highly regarded for the quiet way he goes about supporting a range of charities and community initiatives, using his influence and networks for positive change.  This saw him recognised as Father of the Year by the Shepherd Centre in 2015. Amongst his multiple Awards here and internationally, two major awards – the NBL MVP and Australian international player of the year – are named in his honour in recognition of his values and sustained contributions as a leader and inspiration in both the sporting and broader communities.

At Victoria University Gaze helped pave the way for flexible study options for professional athletes, giving students the opportunity to achieve their sporting career and study goals simultaneously.  As a member of the Board of Basketball Victoria and head coach of the Sydney Kings, he champions community development as a key part of sustaining sport especially as a vehicle to support young people.


Tan Sri Dr Jeffrey Cheah AO

VU Honorary Doctorate, Diploma of Business

Tan Sri Dr Jeffrey Cheah AO is the visionary founder and chairman of Sunway Group, a leading Malaysian conglomerate. He is also the founding trustee of Malaysia’s largest education-focused social enterprise, the Jeffrey Cheah Foundation (JCF). He supports his passionate belief in the power of education to raise standards of living and making quality education accessible to all deserving students, through creating a legacy of perpetual scholarships with the Sunway Education Group of 16 institutions, which are now a part of the JCF.

Tan Sri is heavily involved in sustainable development through Sunway’s sustainable development town and city creation and construction programs, and also through helping establish public policy think tanks and research. He has gifted US$10million to establish the Sachs Centre on Sustainable Development, aimed at advancing the UN Sustainable development Goals in Southeast Asia.

With 9 honorary doctorates bestowed by leading international universities, twice recognised as Forbes Asia Hero of Philanthropy, Council member of UN Sustainable Development Solutions network and many other significant roles and awards of recognition, Tan Sri was also awarded an Officer of the Order of Australia for his contribution to strengthening bilateral relations between Malaysia and Australia through education.


Dr John Lasich

Doctor of Philosophy

John combines world leadership in science with business acumen.

Motivated by a desire to replace fossil fuel energy with the sun’s limitless supply of clean energy, John built his first prototype solar power plant as a university student and spent the next 30 years working on groundbreaking ways to harness that energy.

John’s innovative thinking and entrepreneurial drive has enabled him to translate widely discussed ideas into simple and easy systems. He has made an enormous contribution to educating, inspiring and raising awareness about critical energy issues.

In collaboration with the CSIRO, John has helped bridge the divide between academia and industry.


Ms Deidre Anderson

Master of Arts, Bachelor of Arts (Recreation)

Deidre Anderson was the Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Students and Registrar at Macquarie University. She has demonstrated a lifelong commitment to supporting the development of young people, particularly those involved in sport and recreation. As a sports transition specialist, Deidre has been sought out and served as confidante and mentor to some of the world’s best and highest profile athletes.

Deidre is currently President of Australian University Sport, President of Australian Women's Sport and Recreation Association and Director AUSRAPID, a national organisation increasing sporting and recreational opportunities for people with an intellectual disability.

She holds undergraduate and postgraduate degrees in Social Science, Psychology and Sports Management and is currently completing her PhD on Risky Drinking amongst Young Australians. She has also published widely in national and international peer-reviewed journals.

Deidre is a recipient of the Rotary Paul Harris Fellowship for her contribution to international relations, the Princeton International Business Leaders award and the Eunice Gill Coach Education award.


Paul Constantinou

Diploma of Catering and Hotel Management

Paul is Chairman and CEO of Quest Serviced Apartments and won the highest profile award - the Distinguished Alumni Award. He has more than 35 years experience and is one of Australia’s true hospitality professionals. He studied a Diploma of Catering and Hotel Management at Footscray Institute (now Victoria University). In 1988 he founded Quest which has become Australia’s largest and most successful serviced apartment group.

Paul has given up much of his time to mentor young people and has provided work placements for VU hospitality students. He has received many awards in his career that acknowledge his dedication and integrity including Ernst and Young’s Australian Entrepreneur of the Year in 2009 and HM Magazine Australasian Hotelier of the Year in 2012.


Kevin Qiang Li

Master of Business Administration

Kevin graduated from a Master of Business Administration in 1996. He is a strong and ethical leader in business and the community, and encourages his peers to join him in philanthropic work. He has contributed to fostering Australia-China relations, in particular promoting VU's relationships in China. Kevin is the Co-Founder and Managing Director of Concorde Investment Management Co., and Chair of the Board of Kunlin Advertising Co. Ltd., a subsidiary of Concorde Investment Management. He is President of the Australian Chamber of Commerce – South China, and the Australia China Alumni Association – South China, an organisation open to China-based alumni of all Australian universities.


The Honourable Kim Wells

Master of Business (Accounting and Finance), Graduate Diploma of Business (Accounting) and Bachelor of Business (Accounting)

Kim received the University's first Distinguished Alumni Award for his excellence in leadership and community service. Wells has served as a Member of Parliament for 19 years, and been state treasurer since November 2010. Minister Wells is also the Honorary Patron of the Victorian Homeless Fund, member of the Victorian and National Council of Scouts Victoria, and a Fellow of CPA Australia.

Andrew Gaze AM, 2017 Award Recipient

Professional Achievement Alumni Award

This award recognises an alumna/us (aged 36 or older as at 30 June 2018) who, through their achievements and conduct, both make a difference in their field of endeavour and are an inspiration to others.

Download the  Professional Achievement Alumni Award Nomination Form.

An eligible nominee in this category must:

  • be a VU alumna or alumnus.
  • be aged 36 or older as at 30 June 2018.
  • have made significant achievements in their professional or community field of endeavour.
  • operate in a way that encourages and supports inclusion, diversity, excellence and respect.

Please read the before completing and submitting the form.


David Jacka OAM

Director, AQA Victoria
Graduate Diploma of Project Management

Recipient of the Order of Australia and Victoria’s Pride of Australia Medal for Courage, David Jacka firmly believes that “limitations can be overcome when you “Do It Differently.” From the time that a devastating motorbike accident left a 19 year old David with only 6% physical function and no movement below his armpits, he has been doing just that.  As a qualified engineer, David adapted a small light airplane to accommodate his quadriplegia and in 2013 took a solo 38-day trip around the coast of Australia. In 2016, David paddled 2, 226km down the Murray River to highlight the true potential of the human spirit.

A member of the Australian National Wheelchair rugby team at the 1996 Paralympics, David also finds time to be an SCI Peer Support Volunteer and speak to schoolchildren about the importance of setting goals and persisting on your path.  
He is also a Board Member of the Australian Quadriplegic Association, and the founder of NFP organisation On a Wing and a Chair.  David continues to push the limits of what can be achieved and inspires others - with or without a disability - to do the same.


Paul Booth

Bachelor of Business

Paul is one of VU’s 90 Legends, having been involved in leadership roles with VU during his student days – including as General Secretary of the National Union of Students, Victoria and a member of the VU Council – and throughout his career. He has maintained a strong interest in VU, instigating the Booth Medal in 2002 in the College of Law, and supports the Award with an annual donation.

His work, primarily in the finance sector has seen him hold very senior leadership roles at a young age. His roles include being appointed Head of Citi Global Data Services by the age of 35 and now his role at BlackRock Inc., the world’s largest asset manager with approximately US$5 trillion of assets under management, by age 44. Paul also volunteers his time and expertise in Board roles including with Surf Living Saving Sydney. He was awarded a Commonwealth Commendation for Bravery for his role as a volunteer lifeguard in 2001.

David Jacka OAM, 2017 Award Recipient

Meritorious Service Alumni Award

This award recognises an alumna or alumnus who has - in a voluntary capacity - made a significant positive contribution to the VU community and/or the broader community.

Download the  Meritorious Service Alumni Award Nomination Form.

An eligible nominee in this category must:

  • be a VU alumna or alumnus.
  • have made significant voluntary contributions within a community, which have led to enduring positive outcomes for the wellbeing of others; and/or
  • have provided outstanding voluntary service to VU, enhancing relationships between VU (departments, students, and/or alumni), industry and/or the broader community in support of achievement of VU's goals.
  • operate in a way that encourages and supports inclusion, diversity, excellence and respect.


Dr Jade Scott

Owner/Director/Osteopath, Western Region Health and Osteopathy
Bachelor of Health Science (Osteopathy), Master of Health Science (Osteopathy)

The owner and director of Western Region Health and Osteopathy - recognised as one of the largest osteopathic focused clinics in the world - Dr Jade Scott remains at the forefront of the osteopathic profession by providing the highest standards of care and respect for both patients and staff; as has her reputation for her integrity, respect and generosity in her relationships with clients, staff and students.

Jade has forged an extraordinary ongoing partnership with Victoria University. Using her business as a platform for hands on training, she established an internship program now running for several years. She also provides a financial bursary and scholarship program.  

Dr Scott has employed over 60 Victoria University alumni in her practice. She also runs regular voluntary mentoring for new alumni, to help them be successful in their own clinics. It is no wonder she is regularly engaged to speak to students as a clear and inspirational role model for her profession.


Mr Nasir Sobhani

Certificate III in Hairdressing

Nasir became Victoria Polytechnic’s Ambassador in 2015. Whilst training at VU, Nasir began offering homeless people complimentary grooming services, and respectfully learned their stories. Through realising the influence he could have on the self-esteem of others, he became “The Street Barber”. On his days off he takes to the streets to give free haircuts to people who are homeless and/or experiencing socio-economic disadvantage.

His integrity, compassion and works are followed globally, including in Russia where a local barber chain brought him to Russia and together they visited various homeless shelters and hospices providing free haircuts. Nasir has also travelled to Philippines to do the same type of volunteer work. Nasir was one of 5 people profiled as part of the Kenneth Cole Courageous Class Campaign in New York, which celebrated individuals who have overcome life’s challenges to become inspiring role models.


Mr Kon Karapanagiotidis OAM

Master of Education, Bachelor of Social Work

Kon is the CEO and founder of the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre (ASRC), the largest asylum seeker organisation in Australia.

Proudly Greek, the struggles of his parents and his own experiences of racism growing up ignited his passion for human rights.

He has worked at the grassroots with marginalised communities as a lawyer, social worker and teacher, and in 2001 founded the ASRC.

The ASRC is an innovative, one-stop shop that delivers 23 programs across the pillars of aid, justice, empowerment and community. A team of more than 800 volunteers and 40 staff have assisted more than 10,000 asylum seekers and provided in excess of 2.5 million hours of free assistance – all without Federal Government funding.

Kon’s work has been recognised with an Order of Australia Medal, a Churchill Fellowship, and as a finalist for the Human Rights Medal and Australian of the Year in Victoria. He was invited to participate in the 2020 Summit, was voted one of Australia’s 20 Unsung Heroes, and is one of Melbourne’s 100 Most Influential People.


Ahmed Saleh Alhajeri

Bachelor of Health Science (Paramedics)

Following a serious accident and experiencing the pre-hospital healthcare system in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Ahmed had a vision to improve healthcare in his country. He studied the Bachelor of Health Science (Paramedic) at Victoria University and after graduating in 2007 Ahmed returned to Abu Dhabi and played a pivotal role in the development of the UAE’s ambulance service.

Ahmed is currently Deputy CEO of the National Ambulance Company, an organisation that aims to be the leading national provider of emergency pre-hospital care in the UAE. National Ambulance now serves all five of the Northern Emirates as well as Abu Dhabi, providing emergency healthcare to a population of approximately 70 million.

Through the dedicated work of Ahmed and his colleagues, the service is able now able to reach patients in remote areas, thus reducing response times and saving lives.

Timothy Marchinton

Bachelor of Recreation Management

Timothy is founder and director of Purple Soup, a unique internationally recognised organisation that offers challenging activity-based programs such as camps, day programs and hospital visits for children and their families affected by serious illness.

He developed the organisation in 2002 after realising that more than 75,000 young Australians affected each year by chronic illness were only partly being treated by health professionals who looked after their physical needs. Timothy melded theory with practice by running year round adventure therapy camps during his eight years of study. It was during this time he met the leaders of adventure therapy and worked toward his goal of creating camps for children affected by chronic illness.

Purple Soup runs programs in more than 40 countries and is recognised internationally for its creativity and programming excellence. Timothy has been awarded a number of local and international awards recognising the exceptional service that he and his organisation, Purple Soup provides.


Seah Kim Swee

Master of Business in Professional Accounting

Kim Swee has demonstrated a strong commitment to VU alumni and the broader Singapore community.

In addition to being a proud Singaporean he is also a proud Australian graduate who celebrates this connection. In 1997 Kim Swee was instrumental in developing the Singapore Chapter of the VU Alumni. He dedicates enormous energy to raising the University’s profile in Singapore.

He received the Australian Government’s Distinguished Alumni Service Award for his services to the broader Australian Alumni community, and VU recognised him as one of its 90 Legends during the University’s 90th anniversary celebrations.


John Thompson

Master in Business (Marketing), Graduate Diploma in Marketing, Bachelor of Arts

Long-time public sector employee, Mr John Thompson, is a three-time graduate of Victoria University and an active contributor to the VU Alumni Community, a past member of the Alumni Advisory Group, and a mentor to current students in the University's Career Bridge Mentoring Program. For seven years he worked at the Urban Land Corporation assisting in the development of sustainable housing for Victorians of all ages. For the past 10 years, John has focused his career on helping make Victoria's roads safer as Senior Manager of the Transport Accident Commission's road safety and marketing campaigns, which has resulted in a significant decline in Victoria's road fatality toll. He also volunteers at Global Road Safety Partnership, an organisation that has helped develop road safety programs in Vietnam and Thailand.


Wally Hopkins

Footscray community legend Wally Hopkins, a graduate engineering apprentice in 1939 from VU's original predecessor institute, Footscray Technical School, has organised annual class reunions since 1988 when a group met to mark their 50th anniversary at the school.  Mr Hopkins also has a remarkable 75-year involvement with the First Footscray Scout Troop, receiving the Silver Kangaroo, the highest award in Australian Scouting.  For his community service, he received an Order of Australia Medal, and was named a Maribyrnong Citizen of the Year.

David Southwick

Bachelor of Business (Retail Management)

Community-minded entrepreneur David Southwick, MLA, Member of Parliament for Caulfield, has demonstrated endless enthusiasm, community spirit, and entrepreneurial flair while remaining a passionate advocate for VU. He helped establish the University's Executive Education Unit and set up its first Students in Free Enterprise (SIFE) group to showcase the entrepreneurial skills of VU students at national competitions. He continues to host VU's Business Breakfast Series and guest-lectures.

Dr Jade Scott, 2017 Award Recipient

Rising Star Alumni Award

This award recognises a young alumna/us (aged 35 or younger as at 30 June 2018) who is demonstrating significant early career and/or community service achievements; which bring pride to VU.

Download the  Rising Star Alumni Award Nomination Form.

An eligible nominee in this category must:

  • be a VU alumna/us.
  • be aged 25 or younger as at 30 June 2018
  • be making significant progress and early achievements in their professional or community field of endeavour.
  • operate in a way that encourages and supports inclusion, diversity, excellence and respect.


Kot Monoah

Personal Injury Lawyer, Slater and Gordon
Bachelor of Laws

As the Chairman of the South Sudanese Community Association of Victoria, Kot provides countless hours of advice on a wide range of legal matters.  He works tirelessly to lead by example, bringing together his legal knowledge with his understanding of the importance of culture and community connections.

A recipient of the Law Institute of Victoria’s Rising Star Award, Kot has also been recognised with the 2016 Victoria Multicultural Award for Excellence Certificate of Merit, and the 2016 African Media Australia Award for Excellence in Community Leadership.

With his own personal experience living for 12 years in a refugee camp in Kenya, he brings a firsthand knowledge of what it meant to receive support for education and also learnt the importance of perseverance. Now “paying it forward”, he helps provide education to young people in juvenile detention: uses YouTube and Facebook as platforms to educate young people about topical issues and the importance of education, employment and mentoring; and has introduced work placements at Slater and Gordon for year 11 and 12 students. Kot is truly an inspirational young leader.


Christian Williams

Bachelor of Education

Despite having a severe congenital heart condition, Christian initially pursued his passion for sports and captained Australia’s junior lacrosse team. However in trying to qualify for the London Olympics in archery it became clear his health required him to pursue a different path and he traded the sporting field for a classroom. Success followed this move, being recognised as the Victorian/Tasmanian Teacher of the Year and a Young Australian of the Year finalist.

His innovative classroom activities include running a real café as a social enterprise, and creating an IPhone app to teach kids about healthy eating and exercise. For these approaches he was one of only 2 teachers in Australia to be picked from 8,000 applicants across 148 countries to be a finalist in the “Nobel Prize of Teaching” – the Varkey Foundation Global Teacher prize. Christian also continues to meet with children who have congenital cardiac conditions, inspiring them to dream big and fulfill their ambitions.


Maxwell Gratton

Master of Business Administration, Bachelor of Arts – Sports Administration

Maxwell is a sports administrator with a wide array of business, political and community expertise. After working in a number of roles at Football Federation Victoria, he was appointed CEO of Basketball ACT in 2014. He is currently the CEO of Football Federation Victoria.

Having worked in sports business for more than eight years, Maxwell has successfully managed all aspects of sporting operations, and has experience in not-for-profit and professional sport organisations.

Throughout his career, Maxwell has developed a range of expertise and skills that has prepared him for a role as a CEO. He is a proven team leader with strategic vision and business acumen, and possesses flexible and decisive work-style.

Maxwell has made an exemplary contribution to Victoria University. He is an avid supporter - employing graduates, hosting interns, advocating on behalf of the University. In a previous role, he was instrumental in the creation and funding of two Achievement Scholarships.


Balendran Kandeban

Master of Business Administration

Kandeban is currently Channel Head of Sri Lanka's number one Tamil language radio station, Shakthi FM. Over the past 12 years Kandeban has been a pioneer in the world of media, sales and marketing for Indian and Sri Lankan radio and television. Today he is more widely known as the host of the Sri Lankan game show ‘Who Wants to be a Millionaire?’

In 2008 Kandeban was youngest Station Head of a leading radio station in India while completing his Master of Business Administration (MBA) at Victoria University; a testament to his energy and multitasking skills. He is known to be an inspiring corporate leader with high integrity and the ability to envision and create successful outcomes in complex business situations. He is also a motivational speaker, leadership trainer and the only Sri Lankan media professional on the Grand Jury of the New York Festivals.

In February 2014, Kandeban was recognised by the Australian Trade Commission (Austrade) as a winner in the category of 'Australian Alumni Excellence Merit Award 2014 for Business Administration' at the Australian Alumni Excellence Awards in Sri Lanka.

Samuel Manhom

Master of Business (Finance), Bachelor of Accounting, Banking and Finance

Samuel currently works as an Accounts Officer for the National Sterling Group, however his journey has been one of hardship. As one of the ‘lost boys’ of South Sudan, Samuel was among thousands of young children forced to flee during civil war. He spent 12 years in refugee camps in Kenya from age 9 to 21, before he received an offer to resettle in Australia in 2004.

In Australia, he worked by day and studied at night. While Samuel completed a double degree in accounting, banking and finance and a Master of Business at VU, he never forgot his community in Rumbek, nor the countless South Sudanese children missing out on their own chance for education after 21 years of war.

Samuel is determined to make his dream a reality. Inspired by the education he received at Victoria University and the support of local and international Rotary, Samuel is raising funds to build a community primary school in his former hometown of Rumbek.


Stacey Keating

Bachelor of Applied Science (Sport Science)

Well known women’s golfer Stacey Keating has completed a Bachelor of Applied Science (Sport Science in Golf) at Victoria University. When Ballarat born Stacey was introduced to golf at age 12, she showed immediate promise, scoring her first hole-in-one and soon reduced her handicap to 8.

Stacey moved to Melbourne at 18 to focus on her game and enrol at Victoria University. She was named VU’s Female Athlete of the Year in 2006 and 2010 for her many outstanding sporting achievements. In 2006, she won her first nationally ranked tournament. Since turning professional in 2010, Stacey has won the French Open and the Spanish Open in 2012, and was one of only five Australians to contest the 2013 US Women’s Open.


Nussen Ainsworth

Bachelor of Laws

Innovative young lawyer, Nussen Ainsworth, has demonstrated significant early achievement in his legal career through his passion for technology and social media, and how he incorporates them into his profession. Nussen is a popular and regular speaker on the topic, and has presented at the Victorian Bar and the Law Institute of Victoria about the importance and benefits of modern technology, taking into account the profession's concerns about security and client confidentiality. Before he graduated, Nussen helped develop an application that allows barristers to store and retrieve casework on an ipad. This application is now being used by many in the profession. Earlier this year, Nussen was nominated for the 2012 Law Institute of Victoria President's Award in the Rising Star of the Year category.

Chelsea Hatherall

Certificate IV in Business

Chelsea Hatherall volunteered her time and skills in many community organisations and charities, including Amnesty International, the Ovarian Cancer Research Foundation, the Cancer Council, the Victorian Flood Appeal and the Laverton Community Kitchen. As Marketing and Communication Coordinator at Footscray Community Arts Centre, Chelsea has a keen interest in offering the diverse communities of Melbourne's West a place for cultural expression. She was named Hobson Bay Council's Young Citizen of the Year, and Maribyrnong City Council's Emerging Community Leader in 2012.


Sarah Carter

Bachelor of Communications (Public Relations)

Cr Carter was elected mayor in 2010 at the age of 32, the youngest woman to ever hold the position. In her role, she has developed creative partnerships, particularly around issues of good governance and sustainable planning. She is also on the boards of LeadWest, Western Melbourne Tourism, and several other organisations.

Jacinta Torres Gomez

Bachelor of Education

Human rights advocate Jacinta has worked tirelessly to improve the lives of the less fortunate, both in Australia and overseas. She is currently in Papua New Guinea working on The Crimson Campaign, a program she co-founded to help young women in developing countries around issues of menstruation.

Kot Monoah, 2017 Award Recipient

Outstanding Student - Future Alumni Award

This award recognises a current student who has demonstrated the attributes of a future alumni community leader; through commitment to achieving positive outcomes in both their academic work and their community related work/volunteer endeavours; and being an inspiration to fellow students.

Download the​  Outstanding Student - Future Alumni Award Nomination Form.

An eligible nominee in this category must:

  • be enrolled for all or part of the year in which the Award will be made (e.g. for the 2018 Alumni Awards, they must be enrolled for all or part of 2018).
  • be making strong progression with their academic pursuits.
  • be making clear and positive contributions to their community which may include the VU student community and/or the broader community.
  • operate in a way that encourages and supports inclusion, diversity, excellence and respect.


Kyriacos (Keary) Karaolides

Bachelor of Business

One of the first students to be awarded a Victoria University Chancellors Scholarship, Keary has consistently shown outstanding commitment to the VU community.

In his first year at VU, Keary became President of the VU Greek Society and over the past 3 years has driven its growth from 7 members to become a thriving and active society with over 200 members.  Putting in practice and ethos that you can make a difference wherever you are; during Greece’s economic crisis, Keary organised to raise over $1,000 for orphanages and boxes of winter clothes for the Greek Salvation Army.  

Keary was the first head mentor for the VU Early University pathways program, working with secondary school students from low socioeconomic areas to give them a positive taste of and encouragement for ambition and entry to University. Keary is also President of NUGAS, the largest Greek Youth organisation globally outside of Greece.  In this role he leads a variety of networking events and volunteer work in aged care centres. Keary’s respectful and generous attitude are widely regarded by others and show him as a strong role model especially for new students.


Dr Ancy Ramasamy

Doctor of Philosophy and Master of Business (Industrial Relations and Human Resource Management)

Arriving in Australia in 2010, Ancy has pursued excellence in studies and in her community and student leadership activities. A valedictorian at graduation and recipient of the VU International Research Scholarship due to her academic results, she has also been heavily involved in supporting other students.

In this area she has been an English language facilitator, Resident Assistant supporting international students in the Student Village, organiser of social events that brought together students, and also a Senior Rover, supporting new students with their academic endeavours and ability to access VU resources. Her kindness and professionalism have touched and supported many fellow students.

James Sorensen

Bachelor of Science (Biomedical Science) Honours

James has been widely acknowledged for both his academic and student leadership achievements, including the 2015 VU Individual Student Leadership Award for his commitment and demonstration of leadership through multiple roles at VU; and being the recipient of the 2016 Vice Chancellors’ research scholarship.

Whilst achieving High Distinctions and First Class Honours, he also co-founded the College of Health and Biomedicine Society, was elected to the role of General Secretary of the VU Student Union, and served on the VU Council. James also actively promotes VU, presenting to both careers teachers and students. His Honours’ research has been published in top tier journals and received international acclaim for its innovative approaches.


Adam Bromage

Doctor of Philosophy, Bachelor of Science (Honours) (Psychology)

After a decade as a hairdresser, Adam realised he wanted to achieve more intellectually and professionally, and decided to pursue tertiary education.

Most universities however, did not welcome him. He was advised that he was aiming too high and if accepted, he would most likely struggle and fail. Victoria University encouraged Adam to sit an entry exam, and he earned a place in the Bachelor of Science (Psychology).

He initially considered dropping out, but a mentoring program helped him build confidence in his academic ability. Through hard work and dedication he received an award as VU’s most outstanding first-year student.

Adam completed his degree with 23 high distinctions and first-class honours. He received a Dean’s High Achievement Scholarship, and in 2014, was awarded the College of Arts Dean’s Scholar Award.

Adam is now a Psychology PhD student holding an Australian Postgraduate Award Scholarship. He also teaches psychology to dental students at Charles Sturt University - a rare honour for a student at graduate level.

Lou Xiaocui (Catherine Lou)

Doctor of Philosophy

Catherine is a PhD candidate at Victoria Institute of Strategic Economics Studies in the College of Business, and a committed advocate for international students.

In 2013 Catherine was recognised as the state of Victoria’s international postgraduate student of the Year for her many contributions to international students. She has served as president of the International Students Association, and Postgraduate Association, and is a member of the Council of International Students Australia; the Council of Australia Postgraduates Associations; and the Victorian Association of Chinese PhD Students and Scholars.

Catherine has been vocal on many issues that affect the lives of international students, including transport concessions, student accommodation, professional development and engagement.

She was recently appointed a VU lecturer in supply chain logistics within the College of Business.


Jirayu Mecksakul

Master of Business (Finance) and Master of Business Administration

Jirayu demonstrates integrity and consistently maintains high ethical standards through being an exemplary role model to other students and through his passion to help others. He has been involved in many extracurricular activities since he commenced his double Masters degrees at Victoria University in 2013. Jirayu’s leadership ability and initiative saw him promoted to the President of Accounting, Finance and Investment Student Society (AFISS) in 2014.

As President, Jirayu has overseen an enormous growth in membership and created new engagement opportunities through social media. He also tutors small groups of students in the subject of Business Finance Through this role Jirayu has also established relationships between students and leading financial organisations to secure mentoring opportunities, career information sessions for students and financial sponsorship for AFISS.

Jirayu was a recipient of a Team Award as part of the Victoria University Student Leadership Awards in 2014.


Brittany Tolson

Bachelor of Laws

Brittany has excelled in her academic and professional pursuits since her first year at Victoria Law School (VLS).

Her academic excellence was rewarded in 2012 when she was inducted into the Golden Key International Honour Society. The honour recognises the top 15 per cent of university students worldwide.

As a legal assistant to a distinguished Melbourne barrister, Brittany has effectively and consistently raised the profile of the VLS among barristers at the Victorian Bar. She also participates in the VLS’s mentoring program and is strongly involved in the Law Students’ Society. Her passion for community service is demonstrated at Community Support Frankston and Peninsula Community Centre.

Jacinta Carroll

Bachelor of Exercise Science and Human Movement

In addition to being an outstanding student, Jacinta is the current under 21 world champion and  among the world’s top water-skiers.

Since joining the sport of water-skiing at age 10 and setting a goal to become a world champion at age 14, Jacinta has been determined to be the best in all she does. She was named Victoria University’s 2012 Female Athlete of the Year for her sporting achievements, VU’s highest sporting accolade. In June 2013, Jacinta won the 54th US Masters Waterski and Wakeboard Tournament.

Despite the considerable training she puts in to remain at the top of her sport, Jacinta is ably fulfilling the academic requirements for her degree with plans to pursue postgraduate studies


Garry Kuan

Doctor of Philosophy

PhD Candidate, Mr Garry Kuan, originally from Malaysia, is a high-achieving student in many ways. He is a world-class musician who has performed as first violinist with the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, and is a well-respected sport psychologist. His PhD research – which looks at how music and imagery can improve athletic performance – was recently used by some of Australia's elite weightlifters and air-pistol shooters to prepare for their events at the London Olympics. In early 2012 Garry was named Australia's International Student of the Year for his academic excellence and his contributions to the community. These contributions include the free weekly violin lessons he offers at VU, as well as fundraising activities with his local church for children's music therapy programs at refugee camps in Burma.


Liam Adams

Bachelor of Exercise and Human Movement

Cross-country running champion and Olympian, Liam Adams of Moonee Ponds, is the University's most decorated current student athlete. For his success in national and international competitions, he was twice named VU's Male Athlete of the Year (2008 and 2010), and in those same years, received the prestigious Australian University Sport (AUS) Male Athlete of the Year. In 2010, the AUS established the Australian University Sport Honour Roll, into which Liam was inducted. The AUS is Australia's peak governing body of university sport, with 41 member universities representing more than one million students. He recently placed first in the Sydney City2Surf competition against 80,000 runners.

Keary Karaolides, 2017 Award Recipient

Spirit of Victoria University Alumni Award

At VU, our values and our ethos - our spirit - are what drives our directions, our work, our approaches and relationships. They describe what is important to us and reflect our pride in who we are and where we come from and explain oour ambitions.

The Spirit of VU Alumni Award is awarded to a finalist who is not recipient in her/his category of nomination; but who has impressed the awards panel with the manner in which she/he has overcome challenges in her/his life and also the way she/he fully embodies the VU ethos. The Spirit of Victoria University Alumni Award will not necessarily be awarded each year and is only made when the panel makes a recommendation to the Vice Chancellor that there is a candidate who meets the criteria.


Amy Marks

Bachelor of Screen Media

Amy Marks’ energy, passion, creativity and success knows no bounds. In 2016, Amy received a Westpac Bicentennial Foundation scholarship in the Young Technologist category for her talent in technology and innovation.  Amy is passionately pursuing a career in media because of its capacity to effect social change and transcend cultural barriers.

In 2017, Amy was one of only five national winners selected by video entry to make a short film with the theme “my unique identity” for SBS.  Amy, who lives with Cerebral Palsy Spastic Diplegia, created her film as an authentic representation of her life, to help reduce the assumptions that she is either extremely tragic or inherently inspirational.

Amy is also Secretary of VU Access Collective and volunteers at SYN media as Social Media Coordinator.  She also helps organise student events and is a great example to others of how to get the most out of life at Uni.

Amy Marks, 2017 Award recipient

Important dates

  • Nominations open: Wednesday 4 October 2017
  • Nominations close: 5pm Friday 15 June 2018
  • Award selection panel reviews nominations: late June - end July 2018
  • Nominees notified, finalists announced: mid-August 2018
  • Awards presentation evening: Thursday 4 October 2018 (TBC)