Victoria University has honoured the success of an illustrious group of its graduates in four categories at its first annual Alumni Awards held last night.
Victorian Treasurer The Honourable Kim Wells, a graduate of VU's Master of Business (Accounting and Finance) in 1997, its Graduate Diploma of Business (Accounting) in 1990, and Bachelor of Business (Accounting) in 1987, 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.
Other recipients are:
Honorary Lifetime Alumni Service Award
- 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.
- Community-minded entrepreneur David Southwick, Member of Parliament for Caulfield and a graduate of VU's Bachelor of Business (Retail Management) in 1991, 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.
Young Achiever Alumni Award
- Maribyrnong Mayor Sarah Carter, a Bachelor of Communications (Public Relations) graduate in 2006, 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.
- Human rights advocate Jacinta Torres Gomez of Canberra, a Bachelor of Education graduate in 2008, 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 Project, a program she co-founded to help young women in developing countries around issues of menstruation.
Outstanding Student Alumni Award
- Cross-country running champion and a Bachelor of Exercise and Human Movement student, 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.
Individual photos of each recipient with their award are available.
Ann Marie Angebrandt, Media Officer,
Marketing & Communications Department, Victoria University
Ph: (03) 9919 5487; mobile: 0403 556 001