Celebrating excellence

UQ Alumni Awards 2016

From inspirational young achievers to leaders in their chosen fields, meet the outstanding recipients of The University of Queensland Alumni Awards 2016.

The head of Uniting Care Queensland and a Reserve Bank of Australia Board member are among a distinguished line-up celebrated in The University of Queensland’s 2016 Alumni Awards.

Vice-Chancellor and President Professor Peter Høj paid tribute to the recipients at the annual Courting the Greats ceremony held in October at Brisbane City Hall.

Watch a video of the 2016 Courting the Greats ceremony at Brisbane City Hall.

The awards recognise the achievements of alumni who have accomplished outstanding success in their fields and those who have made exemplary contributions to their communities in Australia and globally.

This year there are five Vice-Chancellor’s Alumni Excellence Awards and five Distinguished Young Alumni Awards, an International Alumnus of the Year, an Indigenous Community Impact Award and a Colleges’ UQ Alumni Award.

Professor Høj said the recipients were proven leaders who had taken on major challenges and responsibilities and created positive change.

“The impact UQ has in communities around the world is not limited to cutting-edge research, but encompasses the actions and accomplishments of our 236,000 alumni,” he said.

“Our UQ alumni family is a constant source of inspiration.”

The UQ Alumnus of the Year and UQ Graduate of the Year Awards – both founded and supported by the Alumni Friends of The University of Queensland Inc. – were also presented at the Courting the Greats ceremony.

UQ Sport also celebrated its Sportsman and Sportswoman of the Year, recognising the recipients’ elite achievements in sport and contributions to university life.

Previous recipients of the Vice-Chancellor’s Alumni Excellence Award have included Governor of Queensland His Excellency the Honourable Paul de Jersey, Energy Australia Managing Director Catherine Tanna, leading melanoma researcher Professor Adéle Green AC, and Wotif.com founders Graeme Wood AM and Andrew Brice AM.

Previous recipients of the Alumnus of the Year award have included Academy Award-winning actor Geoffrey Rush AC, former Governor-General of Australia, the Honourable Quentin Bryce AD CVO, and author David Malouf AO.

For more information about the UQ Alumni Awards, visit alumni.uq.edu.au/awards/alumni.

Vice-Chancellor's Alumni Excellence Awards

Recognising the significant contributions made by alumni in their local communities and beyond

Marie Myers

Bachelor of Arts ’87, Bachelor of Economics ’88
The Women’s College within UQ ’85–’86

As a young girl growing up in the tiny town of Babinda, south of Cairns, an international career seemed like another world away for Marie Myers.

But reflecting on her career now, Myers credits her childhood for developing some of the skills needed to succeed in the business world.

“One of the things that was great about Babinda was that it was very multicultural,” she said.

Watch Marie Myers's acceptance speech at the Courting the Greats ceremony.

“We had a lot of contact with people from all walks of life and I think that set me up in some ways for the challenges I’ve faced in my career, where you learn to interact with people with different personalities and from different cultures.”

Myers is the Senior Vice-President of Finance for HP Inc. (Hewlett Packard), based in in Houston, Texas, and an internationally recognised business leader and expert in global information technology, finance and business strategy.

“As a girl, I dreamed about working around the world and going to university, where I could have the opportunity to be taught by professors,” Myers said.

“I enjoyed learning and I remember going to the library at UQ and picking up The Economist and the Financial Times and being amazed because I didn’t have access to resources like that where I grew up.”

Following her graduation from UQ, Myers worked as an economist for the Australian Government before setting her sights on an international career and moving overseas to eventually join Compaq, which was bought out by Hewlett Packard in 2001.

Her achievements within Hewlett Packard over 20 years include directing the largest financial division in business history, leading the change management of 2500 employees internationally, and overseeing revenue in excess of $50 billion.

Greg Minton

Bachelor of Engineering (Mechanical) ’84, Bachelor of Economics ’89
St Leo’s College ’80–’81

As a Managing Partner of Archer Capital, Greg Minton helped lead the company to become one of Australia’s largest private equity firms.

In his 15 years at the firm, Archer Capital grew from less than $100 million to more than $3 billion in Funds Under Management, with investments in industries as diverse as V8 Supercars, restaurants, private healthcare, agriculture, retail, technology and mining services.

Minton has held numerous leadership positions within the industrial sector, including General Manager of CSR Humes for Australasia, and in the management consulting industry with McKinsey & Company in Australia, Scandinavia and London.

Minton grew up in Gladstone and said his parents played a large role in his success, encouraging him to pursue higher education.

Watch Greg Minton's acceptance speech at the Courting the Greats ceremony.

“My father worked in the engineering field as a labourer at Gladstone Power Station,” Minton said.

“He always wanted me to be university educated so I associated with the engineering field from a young age.

“Mum and Dad sacrificed a lot to get me to UQ and I’ll never forget that.”

Minton was the recipient of a Queensland Alumina scholarship, which enabled him to study engineering at UQ before switching to economics and going on to complete his MBA at the International Institute for Management Development in Switzerland.

On top of his success in the private equity industry, Minton is highly regarded as a mentor, particularly in rugby league and preparing athletes for life after football.

Minton has retired young to focus on his health, but continues to inspire and assist others in any way he can through funding, networking, and mentoring.

Greg Vickery AO

Bachelor of Arts ’67, Bachelor of Laws ’69

Greg Vickery AO has made a remarkable contribution to the Australian and international community through his distinguished law career and through his service and leadership to a number of humanitarian organisations, most notably with the Red Cross.

Vickery is currently Special Counsel at legal firm Norton Rose Fulbright, having been a partner for 40 years until 2010, with specialty practice in company resources and commercial law.

A former president of the Queensland Law Society, Vickery has served on numerous boards and committees, including nine years on the Corporations and Markets Advisory Committee.

He has had a long commitment to legal ethics and currently chairs the Law Council of Australia’s Business and Human Rights Committee.

Watch Greg Vickery's acceptance speech at the Courting the Greats ceremony.

Vickery has also been widely recognised for his governance roles in humanitarian aid organisations, for which he was made an Officer of the Order of Australia in 2013.

He has volunteered his services to the Red Cross for more than 40 years, and between 2011 and 2015 held one of the top three positions in the Red Cross globally – as the Chair of the Standing Commission of the Red Cross and Red Crescent, a committee he remains a member of – one of only two Australians to ever hold this significant position.

“I always felt an obligation to put something back into community, and into my profession as well,” Vickery said.

Vickery previously spent seven years as the Honorary Consul for Indonesia in Queensland and he remains an active member of the Australian Indonesia Business Council.

Anne Cross

Bachelor of Social Work ’76, Master of Social Work ’90

Anne Cross is the Chief Executive Officer of UnitingCare Queensland, one of the largest not-for-profit health and community service providers in Australia.

The 2014 National and Queensland Telstra Business Woman of Year has been recognised for her work in the ongoing consolidation and growth of the many services operated by UnitingCare, as well as for her significant contribution to the development of innovative projects in health, aged care and community and disability services.

“UnitingCare has touch points with people’s lives all over Queensland and the Northern Territory and that’s what continues to draw me to this organisation,” said Cross, who has been at the helm since 2003.

Watch Anne Cross's acceptance speech at the Courting the Greats ceremony.

“One of the most significant achievements for me would be the establishment of the Australian Regional and Remote Community Services in the Northern Territory.

“We have been able to consolidate a range of services that most likely would have been closed because of ongoing viability issues, and the impact on the communities in the Northern Territory would have been quite devastating.

“A desire to make a difference drew me into social work at an early age and I found a passion to work for communities that are inclusive of all people,” she said.

Cross has maintained a relationship with UQ throughout her career and in 2008 was appointed as an Adjunct Professor in the School of Nursing, Midwifery and Social Work.

She is also a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Management, a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Company Directors, and a member of Chief Executive Women.

Emeritus Professor Ian Harper

Bachelor of Economics ’77, Bachelor of Economics (Honours) ’78

Professor Ian Harper is one of Australia’s best-known economists, having worked with governments, banks and corporates at the highest level.

Harper was a partner at Deloitte Access Economics from 2011 to 2016 and has held various other roles, including Emeritus Professor of The University of Melbourne, inaugural Chairman of the Australian Fair Pay Commission, Chairman of the Competition Policy Review and member of the Advisory Board of the Bank of America Merrill Lynch in Australia.

He is a Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences in Australia and the Australian Institute of Company Directors, and a Distinguished Public Policy Fellow of the Economic Society of Australia.

Watch Professor Ian Harper's acceptance speech at the Courting the Greats ceremony.

Harper was this year appointed to the Board of the Reserve Bank of Australia, joining fellow UQ alumni Catherine Tanna and Kathryn Fagg, who have served on the Board since 2011 and 2013 respectively.

Harper’s opinion is sought on a range of topics including market economics, privatisation, deregulation, taxation, globalisation and economic issues of the day.

“I’m a great believer in consultation,” Harper said.

“Economics is a social science and you’re talking about people and the circumstances they encounter when they try to enter the job market, when they try to buy goods and services, when they try to feed their families, clothe their kids, or send them to school.

“That is the bread and butter of economic policy. At the end of the day when you’re giving advice on economics – let alone running institutions, advising governments or setting policy – it’s very important to remember the impact that it has on people’s lives.”

Distinguished Young Alumni Awards

Recognising young alumni (35 years or younger) whose early accomplishments inspire and provide leadership to students and all alumni.

Michael Fox

Bachelor of Commerce ’01, Bachelor of Laws ’03

Michael Fox graduated from UQ with a Bachelor of Laws and a Bachelor of Commerce. After becoming a lawyer, and later working for Google, Fox decided to quit his job with the tech giant to follow his dream of becoming an entrepreneur.

With business partners Jodie Fox and fellow UQ alumnus Mike Knapp, he co-founded the award-winning online store, Shoes of Prey.

Watch Michael Fox's acceptance speech.

From the humble beginnings of three people discussing the idea in a lounge room in October 2009, Shoes of Prey is now a global retail brand that enables shoppers to design their own shoes online or in-store, with five offices globally, almost 200 staff and a multimillion-dollar annual turnover.

As co-founder and Chief Executive Officer at Shoes of Prey, Fox manages the operations, logistics and the Customer Happiness team.

“We thought we would experiment with something in the ecommerce space because we could see that was taking off in Australia at the time,” Fox said.

“We wanted to create something that would stand out to customers. It’s about understanding who your customer is, what they value, and what you are able to create to meet what they want.”

Dr Jackie Campbell

Bachelor of Veterinary Science ’06

Anyone who’s cared for an elderly or dying pet knows it is emotionally exhausting.

So it’s remarkable that veterinarian Dr Jackie Campbell is able to work with these animals, and their loving owners, every day.

Campbell graduated from UQ’s veterinary science program in 2006, and in 2014 founded Sunset Home Veterinary Care – one of Australia’s first mobile palliative care services, delivering individualised home-based veterinary care to families with pets approaching the end of their lives.

Taking her cue from how doctors deliver palliative care services in human health, she formulated a practice that revolved around supporting families to make better and more informed decisions for their pet during the last few months of life.

“Clients often have tears dripping down their faces when they ask me how I manage to do this job,” Campbell said.

“It’s actually such an honour to be with these families during this time. I’m dealing with the best clients – people who are incredibly attached to their pet – and I know that my team is helping to provide them with the best possible care.

“Nearly all vets do the medical side of the job wonderfully, but it’s the human side of care that can sometimes be overlooked, something we’re really working to change.”

Ben Milbourne

Bachelor of Applied Science (Human Movement Studies) ’04

In 2012, then high school science teacher Ben Milbourne cooked his way to the finals of season four of hit TV show MasterChef.

Now, as a celebrity chef, entrepreneur and community leader, Milbourne has turned his passion for cooking into a successful media career, teaching millions of people worldwide about the joys of food.

Watch Ben Milbourne's acceptance speech at the Courting the Greats ceremony.

With a Bachelor of Applied Science (Human Movement Studies) from UQ, Milbourne’s initial career aspirations lay in teaching secondary school science, and health and physical education.

“I never thought I would be on the path that I am now. But my ability to do what I do, and be able to grow in every position I’ve been in, has been due to my ability to learn quickly from the people around me,” Milbourne said.

“Learning is the key. Take as much as you can from every experience and the paths will open up for you.”

Mike Knapp

Bachelor of Laws ’03, Bachelor of Science (Computer Science) ’03

Mike Knapp graduated from UQ with degrees in Computer Science and Law in 2003. After a stint as a Judge’s Associate in the District Court of Queensland, and time with Google, Knapp decided his passion lay in online business and the start-up world.

Today, Knapp is best known as co-founder and Chief Technology Officer of Shoes of Prey.

Knapp’s role involves day-to-day strategy and management, as well as overseeing the software engineering, marketing and operations teams.

Watch Mike Knapp's acceptance speech at the Courting the Greats ceremony.

“I probably didn’t take my computer science as seriously as I should have while I was at UQ. Looking back now, I realise that it really was my passion,” Knapp said.

“I saw myself being a barrister or a lawyer. I think being an entrepreneur is a very different lifestyle, which I enjoy.”

Knapp and his co-founders continue to expand the business, with their most recent fundraising round raising US$15.5 million in venture capital.

Shoes of Prey has been recognised with many awards including the Online Retailer Hall of Fame 2016, Best International Conqueror 2015 and Online Retailer of the Year 2014 at the Online Retail Industry Awards, and Online Retailer of the Year 2013 at the Australian Retail Awards.

Selena Uibo

Bachelor of Education (Secondary) ’10, Bachelor of Arts ’10

After taking up a teaching post in her mother’s hometown of Numbulwar in the Northern Territory in 2012, Selena Uibo set out to inspire her students with her own positive scholastic experiences.

Now she is inspiring her community on a bigger stage after being elected as the Labor Member for Arnhem in the Northern Territory election held in August this year.

“I’ve grown up seeing the things that happen and the things that don’t happen in the community and the frustrations that can come from when things aren’t moving ahead,” Uibo said.

Watch Selena Uibo's acceptance speech.

“There are improvements needed and there are things that I particularly think I can help with. I thought I’d be a good advocate, not just for my area but across the Arnhem region.”

Uibo graduated as valedictorian with a Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Education in 2010.

She has worked closely with secondary school-aged students, teaching them practical business skills through the Second Chance Shop, a student-operated second-hand shop, and Numburindi Arts, a sales and distribution hub for local art and craft items.

In 2013 Uibo won a Commonwealth Bank Foundation Teaching Award for teaching financial literacy to her senior students in Numbulwar.

In 2015 Uibo was elected as the chairperson for the Numbulwar Local Authority, which represents local issues and priorities at the Local Government Regional Council.

International Alumnus of the Year

Recognising and honouring the outstanding achievements of an international alumnus who has realised distinction in his or her chosen field and whose accomplishments enhance the prestige of the University.

Professor Tadimety Chakrapani (T.C.) Rao

Doctor of Philosophy (Mineral Engineering) ’66
Emmanuel College ’61–’62

Professor T.C. Rao is a prominent figure in the field of mineral engineering, recognised for his technical expertise, innovation and contributions to education, research and development.

Rao was the first international PhD student of mining engineering at UQ. The technical modelling work he developed as part of his PhD is still used globally in academia and industry today.

Watch Professor T.C. Rao's acceptance speech at the Courting the Greats ceremony.

He has been instrumental in developing innovations in mineral processing that have benefited the mining industry over several decades, and he has also played a leading advisory role with the Indian government and mining companies.

“I have a lot of respect for this generation,” Rao said.

“My advice for students is to put some strain on your mind. Don’t have fixed ideas: let your mind go offline so that ideas and original thoughts can strike you.”

Indigenous Community Impact Award

Recognising an alumnus whose outstanding contributions to Australian Indigenous communities has improved outcomes for Australian Indigenous people and contributes to reconciliation between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people.

Associate Professor Gregory Phillips

Bachelor of Arts ’94, Master of Medical Science ’01

Associate Professor Gregory Phillips has dedicated his life’s work to improving outcomes for Indigenous communities and to advancing reconciliation between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people.

From the Waanyi and Jaru Aboriginal people, Phillips completed a Bachelor of Arts in Aboriginal Studies and Government at UQ. He worked in Aboriginal communities throughout Australia focusing on education, youth leadership, addiction recovery and land rights before returning to university to earn his Masters in Medical Science at UQ, and later to complete his PhD in Psychology at Monash.

Watch Associate Professor Gregory Phillips's acceptance speech at the Courting the Greats ceremony.

His PhD, entitled ‘Dancing with Power: Aboriginal Health, Cultural Safety and Medical Education’, looked at how and why Indigenous health is included or excluded in medical school curricula.

“Our essential task now as Australians is to see Indigenous knowledge as valuable, rather than as cute or mythical, or just for Indigenous people,” Phillips said.

“That knowledge, blended with the best of science, is actually what we need as humans to be able to finally solve environmental and social sustainability issues.”

Phillips is currently an Associate Professor and Research Fellow in Aboriginal Health at the Baker IDI Heart and Diabetes Institute.

2016 Colleges’ UQ Alumni Award

Recognising an alumnus who has made an outstanding contribution to UQ and a residential college, and continues to make a positive impact on the wider community, nationally and internationally.

Dr Heather Smith PSM

Bachelor of Economics ’86
Emmanuel College ’84–’86

Dr Heather Smith PSM was a resident at Emmanuel College from 1984 to 1986 while studying for a Bachelor of Economics.

She was appointed Secretary of the Department of Communications and the Arts in January this year, and over the course of her career has held positions as Deputy Secretary in the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet and the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, in the Office of National Assessments and the Australian Treasury.

Watch Dr Heather Smith's acceptance speech at the Courting the Greats ceremony.

Smith was awarded a Public Service Medal in the Queen’s Birthday 2015 Honours for her outstanding public service as Australia’s Sherpa, the personal representative of the head of government during the year leading up to the G20 summit in Brisbane in late 2014.

As a graduate of The University of Queensland, Smith has offered her help as a mentor to Emmanuel College students.

“All through my career I’ve had a philosophy that you need to invest in institutions,” Smith said.

“I also hope to act as a role model for students in terms of the diversity of career options I’ve had since graduating from UQ.”

UQ Alumnus of the Year

Award created and supported by Alumni Friends of The University of Queensland Inc.

Emeritus Professor Dr Mary Mahoney AO

Bachelor of Medicine ’63, Bachelor of Surgery ’63, Doctor of Medicine (honoris causa) ’05

After graduating from UQ with a Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery, Dr Mary Mahoney AO developed an interest in education, particularly in the field of general practice.

Throughout her career Mahoney has been recognised for her contributions to medicine, most notably in 2006 when she was appointed an Officer of the Order of Australia.

Watch Dr Mary Mahoney's acceptance speech at the Courting the Greats ceremony.

Mahoney was on UQ Senate for many years and served two terms as Deputy Chancellor, being the first woman to hold this office.

“My grandfather was on the first UQ Senate, my uncle was Chancellor, and later my father was a long-term UQ Senator,” Mahoney said.

“It was very special to me that I was elected at my alma mater. I met many wonderful people – staff, students, and people from all walks of life.”

UQ Graduate of the Year

Award created and supported by Alumni Friends of The University of Queensland Inc.

Gabriel Perry

Bachelor of Arts (Honours) ’15, Bachelor of Laws (Honours) ’15

Gabriel Perry graduated in 2015 with a Bachelor of Arts majoring in Psychology and a Bachelor of Laws, both with First Class Honours.

Perry was recognised with a University Medal as well as a number of other academic awards and scholarships.

With an interest in the law and social justice, Perry was an active member of the UQ Pro Bono Centre’s Student Advisory Panel. After completing a year as Associate to a Queensland Supreme Court judge, he hopes to combine his passion for both psychology and law to advocate for, assist and educate others.

“The UQ Pro Bono Centre was a fantastic experience,” Perry said.

“It was wonderful to be able to use your time and your skills to practically help people who are often in disadvantaged situations.”

Sportswoman and Sportsman of the Year

UQ Sport Clubs and Sports Awards.

Gabrielle Simpson

Bachelor of Physiotherapy (Honours) student

Rising netball star Gabrielle Simpson capped a golden 12 months on the court this year by helping the Queensland Firebirds secure their second ANZ Championship title in two years.

The Firebirds defeated the NSW Swifts 69–67 in the grand final in July, with Simpson producing a key intercept in extra time to seal the win.

Simpson made her Test debut for Australia against New Zealand in the 2015 Constellation Cup.

Dane Bird-Smith

Bachelor of Health, Sport and Physical Education (Honours) student

Race walker Dane Bird-Smith won a bronze medal while representing Australia at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games in the 20km walk.

Watch Dane Bird-Smith's acceptance speech at the Courting the Greats ceremony.

In 2015 he won gold medals at the World University Games (20km walk) and the Australian Athletics Championships (10km walk) and represented Australia at world championship level.