From the Vice-Chancellor - October 2019

Alumni news
24 October 2019

When I commenced as Vice-Chancellor, I was told to look forward to the Alumni Awards, and I was not disappointed. Gathering with our community and celebrating the successes and contributions of our graduates is something I will now look forward to each year.

Last week, I had the privilege of meeting this year’s winners, and learning more about them. They show us that the possibilities that stem from a Deakin education are limitless.

Please join me in congratulating this year’s alumni award winners:

Alumni Lifetime Achievement Award – Leigh Sales OAM

Graduate Diploma of International Relations, 1999
Master of Arts (International Relations), 2001

One of Australia’s most respected and influential journalists, Leigh Sales combines her deep curiosity about the world with formidable interviewing and analytical skills.

A champion of freedom of the press and public engagement in politics, Leigh was this year awarded an Order of Australia for services to broadcasting.

Alumna of the Year – Ms Karen Stocks

Master of Business Administration, 2008

Karen Stocks has forged a stellar career in the fast evolving world of media technology, with more than 20 years’ experience in a number of highly influential roles.

In 2016 Karen was Runner-up in the CEO Magazine Managing Director of the Year Awards and since 2015 has been included in the annual B&T Magazine’s Most Influential Women in Australian Media.

Young Alumnus of the Year Award – Khyber Alam

Bachelor of Vision Science, 2016
Master of Optometry, 2016

Khyber was 13 when, with his parents and eight siblings, fled the atrocities and hardship of Afghanistan. Traumatised and deeply shy, the teenage refugee didn’t speak a word of English when the family arrived in Melbourne in 2007. But inspired by his hard working parents, Khyber became fluent in his adopted language and went on to become school captain in his final year.

Khyber has been a volunteer optometrist in rural clinics in Australia, Bangladesh and India, and has raised more than $75,000 for various charities. Using his own savings, he’s also opened an orphanage in eastern Afghanistan. Khyber hopes this orphanage, which he named “House of Knowledge” to reflect its aim of encouraging children towards learning, will be the first of many across the devastated country.

Alumni Community Service Award – Georgia Birch

Doctor of Philosophy, 2013

Building rich connections between diverse communities is at the heart of Dr Georgia Birch’s work.

Since first volunteering at a mental health program for Somali women in her own neighbourhood, Georgia has spent a decade as a cultural and mediation consultant creating networks of trust and collaboration with African Australian communities.

Alumni Community Service Award – Mark Sullivan

Bachelor of Science, 1989

Mark Sullivan is driven by his vision of eradicating the neglected diseases which bring misery and illness to at least a billion people worldwide.

As founder and managing director of Melbourne based Medicines Development for Global Health (MDGH), Mark and his team are making history in the fight against river blindness, a highly infectious skin and eye disease caused by a parasitic worm. Around 20 million people in sub-Saharan Africa suffer from this devastating disease, which often causes permanent blindness. Another 200 million live at risk in affected areas.

You can read more about the 2019 Alumni Award Winners on the Deakin Website.

This month we also welcomed the latest group of graduates into our Alumni Community bringing our community to over 285,000.

Each one of you forms part of this global network, and we are always seeking alumni stories.

Please share your story with us by contacting the Alumni Relations Office

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