2016 Distinguished Alumni Awards

November 3, 2016

Murdoch University Chancellor and Vice Chancellor (centre) with recipients of the 2016 Distinguished Alumni Awards

Murdoch University Chancellor (middle) and Vice Chancellor (second from right) with recipients of the 2016 Distinguished Alumni Awards

The extraordinary careers and outstanding achievements of four Murdoch University graduates were celebrated in front of the University’s leading academics, alumni, VIPs and government representatives at the 2016 Distinguished Alumni Awards.

The recipients, Professor Jan Thomas (BSc 1982/BVMS 1983/PhD 1997), Dr Kuruvilla Mathew (PhD 1982), Mr Patrick McClure AO (MA 1991) and Mr Chen Siqing (MBA 1999), represent a diverse cross-section of achievement including global finance, social policy, veterinary science, and environmental science.

The remarkable alumni were all chosen for their demonstrated outstanding qualities and for making significant contributions to their profession and to the community.

Dr Mathew spoke passionately about his time with Murdoch and how it had shaped his professional and personal life, with fond references to the unforgettable experiences he encountered during his work improving the living conditions in Aboriginal communities across Western Australia’s desert regions.

"I am extremely grateful for the opportunity to work for over 40 years with many gifted and supportive colleagues from Murdoch University.  Murdoch gave me the freedom to innovate in my research and in my personal life,” Dr Mathew said.

“I had many people come alongside and help me during my journey at Murdoch, including former staff members. This support and mentoring impacted me deeply and I am proud and privileged to have carried this tradition to help over 100 individuals pursue their own academic dreams.”

For Patrick McClure AO, Murdoch provided the foundations for a career in social policy. He reflected warmly on his work with Mission Australia and credited Murdoch University with giving him the conceptual framework that has supported his working life and given him the confidence to participate in a range of Government boards, including an invitation from then Prime Minister John Howard to undertake a full review of the Australian Welfare system.

"My MBA gave me a highly competitive edge in the employment market.  The skills and training I received enabled me to develop good teams wherever I have worked and to understand that teamwork is the key to effective leadership," he said.

Mr Chen, who is currently Vice Chairman of the Bank of China, was unable to attend the ceremony, but sent Mr Hu Shanjun, Head of Country (Australia) at the Bank of China, as a proxy to deliver his speech, which passionately reflected on his high regard for the MBA he completed at Murdoch 17 years ago and the strong foundations it has provided his career.

“I fondly remember my time at Murdoch, which was a wonderful learning experience. The Murdoch MBA has deeply informed my personal and business development over the years, and my time as a student led to many wonderful and enduring friendships," Chen said.

Professor Jan Thomas, who at the time of her graduation was Australia’s youngest veterinarian, said her studies at Murdoch University taught her a lot about hard work, dedication, commitment and the importance of remaining enthusiastic, even during the difficult times.

"The opportunities I have received in my career have come directly from my time as a student and the challenges and support of my teachers and mentors," she said.

The 2016 Distinguished Alumni Awards are organised annually by Murdoch University Alumni Relations to recognise the outstanding achievements of former students. This year’s event was emceed by 2015 Award recipient, Professor Colleen Hayward AO, and attended by senior Murdoch leadership, academics and VIP guests.

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