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DECEMBER 2012
Dear alumni and friends

As we approach the end of the year, I would like to say thank you to all alumni and friends for your support in 2012.

Hear the Vice-Chancellor and Principal Dr Michael Spence's address at the recent Honorary Awards Ceremony for a fantastic summary of the University's achievements in 2012.

On behalf of the Alumni and Events team, I would like to wish you all the best for the festive season and the New Year.

With kind regards
Tracey Beck | Director, Alumni and Events Office
SYDNEY NEWS
Vice-Chancellor’s update on colleges of residence
Recently much has been written and spoken about St John's colleges of residence at the University of Sydney. Unfortunately in all the heat many have overlooked the significant part they have played in the development of the university and Australian society. As a valued graduate I would like to provide you with some background on these important matters.


Recently much has been written and spoken about St John's colleges of residence at the University of Sydney. Unfortunately in all the heat many have overlooked the significant part they have played in the development of the university and Australian society. As a valued graduate I would like to provide you with some background on these important matters.

The foundation of the University of Sydney as a secular and non-denominational institution was integral to its character as a public institution. This was a world first – a university free of religious influence where entrance as a student would be based on merit.

But this principle, argued firmly by W.C. Wentworth and other founding fathers, left open the possibility of denominational colleges, established under their separate Acts of Parliament on land adjacent to but separate from the University. These autonomous residential colleges were at first separated from the mainstream but soon played a major role in university activities.

The colleges have been important pillars for the University and a combined force for good. Modelled in many ways on Oxbridge college life, they became sites for the socialisation and bonding of young adults, particularly young men. The traditional notion of college life was to include pastoral care and to create an ‘esprit de corps’, all of which was to supplement university life, if only for a very small proportion of the total university student body. University can be intimidating for some and college life provided guidance and support.

It is misleading to think that there is a monoculture across all our colleges. In fact, there are different cultures often within the same college. Each developed their own distinct traditions according to their own religious denominations, often foreshadowed by their founders.  But all of them took seriously the challenges involved in combining religious and secular knowledge.

From their early days a sense of community emerged, and a keen collective spirit was evident. Thousands of students have been supported in their homes away from home. Debating and public speaking flourished, acting and musical performances were commonplace and intercollegiate sport bred many of Australia’s best athletes. Those activities continue today with just as much enthusiasm. Scholars, graduates and undergraduates mix with each other and make lifelong friends.

Many of Australia’s leading figures in all fields of endeavour have benefited from life in one of our colleges and are openly proud of their association. Whether they are politicians or poets, lawyers or social activists, Olympic champions or business leaders, the lists of college graduates reads like pages from Who’s Who. And there are many thousands of other men and women who never make the headlines but are wonderful citizens and ambassadors for the colleges and the university.

For many the colleges and social service are synonymous. In recent years initiatives such as Step-Safe (against landmines), AIME (the Australian Indigenous Mentoring Experience where University students mentor Indigenous high school students) and Party for Poverty have all been heavily supported and promoted by college residents.

The University and the colleges are united in their joint commitment to shaping the leaders of the future by offering vibrant, friendly and stimulating residential environments. In fact we are currently exploring how we can increase the numbers of residential beds on campus.

In recent years we have made some significant improvements for the benefit of all college residents. These include a university-wide alcohol accord and the introduction of alcohol-free events at the colleges during orientation week, combined with an agreement across all colleges on the handling of harassment and discrimination issues. Together with the University of Sydney Union, the colleges now engage external experts to run regular training programs for staff and students on dealing with sexual harassment, bullying and consent.

But our endeavours are hampered in part by some legal ambiguities which create uncertainty about the rights of the University when it comes to disciplinary matters involving college students. That is why we are in conversation with the NSW Government about the best way we can resolve this issue and in the process, strengthen and preserve the autonomy of the colleges.

Our alumni are an integral part of the University and we take strength from your capacity to ensure that the wider community knows that we are doing our best to secure our future, and to be true to our tradition of excellence.

Yours sincerely

Michael Spence
Vice-Chancellor and Principal
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$2 million donation to help build a sustainable future
A generous $2 million gift has been donated to the University this week to establish the Judith and David Coffey Life Lab at the Charles Perkins Centre.


A generous $2 million gift has been donated to the University this week to establish the Judith and David Coffey Life Lab at the Charles Perkins Centre.

The first of its kind in the world the Life Lab will create a unique graduate and postgraduate training environment where diverse life, social, economic and physical sciences will be studied for their connections to each other.

Professor John Crawford, who holds the Judith and David Coffey Chair in Sustainability and Complex Systems at the Charles Perkins Centre, said the lab would focus on the significant challenges created by an unsustainable food system, which degrades the environment it depends on and creates significant societal health problems.

"A better understanding of the complexity of the environment-food-health nexus is critical," Professor Crawford said.

"It is fundamental to building a sustainable society, and one that is more robust to face future uncertainties.  Our unique approach will be a world-first in shifting research on these growing challenges from treating symptoms to prevention."

David and Judith Coffey, who previously donated $4 million to establish a chair in sustainable agriculture at the University of Sydney, are passionate about finding solutions to the world's most pressing problems.

The University of Sydney's Charles Perkins Centre brings together academics from a range of disciplines to turn research into prevention, diagnosis and treatment of obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular disease. The only multidisciplinary research centre of its kind, the Charles Perkins Centre approaches these critical health issues from the perspective of researchers in economics, physiology, philosophy, dietetics, law and numerous other disciplines.

"We chose the University of Sydney because it is a community of unorthodox thinkers and brilliant analytical minds. As an alumnus of the University, I have seen first-hand what pioneering graduates are capable of given the chance. I want to support the discovery of new approaches to problem solving and we believe the Charles Perkins Centre is best positioned to take on the challenge," said Dr David Coffey.

Professor Crawford said the lab takes research to a new level and will inspire new collaborations between academics, students and researchers across a range of disciplines.

"For the first time, our brightest minds will work together to examine the interconnectivity of socioeconomic, physical and life science factors that create our food system. The way these elements interact have far reaching implications for the environment and our health."

"This gift is important to us because traditional government funding models do not yet support this kind of approach. There is a very real need to forge win/win solutions by acknowledging connections in multifaceted processes, such as food production where increasing consumption is driving a global obesity epidemic and placing unsustainable pressure on degraded soil and water resources," said Professor Crawford.

The gift will be used to:

  • Provide scholarships to attract international PhD candidates
  • Create two new fellowships in visualisation of complex systems and computational immunology to support the training program
  • Establish annual summer school opportunities for intensive postgraduate training in systems biology of sustainable heath
  • Launch a distinguished visitor program to bring international research leaders to Sydney as mentors to staff and students
  • Host an annual graduate symposium, showcasing students' work
  • Provide high performance computing facilities.
"A major element of the Judith and David Coffey Life Lab's activity will be to prove that there is a need for change in the way research and innovation is undertaken and we are excited to be taking the lead thanks to the support of Judith and David Coffey," said Professor Crawford.
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2012 honorary degrees ceremony
Five exceptional individuals including an Academy Award-winning actress, a Nobel Laureate, an internationally recognised astronomer, an Australian literary icon and an exceptional Aboriginal musician assembled at the University on Saturday 10 November to accept honorary degrees.


Five exceptional individuals including an Academy Award-winning actress, a Nobel Laureate, an internationally recognised astronomer, an Australian literary icon and an exceptional Aboriginal musician assembled at the University on Saturday 10 November to accept honorary degrees.

With the University's much-loved jacaranda in full bloom, Cate Blanchett, Dr Robin Warren, Lord Martin Rees, Kate Grenville and Geoffrey Gurrumul Yunupingu donned academic caps and gowns in the University's iconic sandstone Quadrangle before accepting their degrees in the Great Hall.

From Dr Robin Warren's tips on how to win a Nobel Prize to Gurrumul Yunupingu's hauntingly beautiful song 'Bapa', dedicated to his father and the role fathers play in society, the five honorands shared their wisdom on what keeps them motivated, how they reached their goals, and what the future holds in their fields.

In congratulating the honorands, Vice-Chancellor Dr Michael Spence recalled the reaction of a group of students at the first honorary degree ceremony in 1901.

"They were excited by the mission of this place: a mission of excellence in service; a call to make a difference. Each of this evening's honorands has been chosen by the University community because we think that they are standard bearers for that fine tradition."

Honorary degrees are awarded to individuals who have achieved exceptional academic or creative excellence, or who have made an outstanding contribution to the wider community. Previous honorands include Nelson Mandela, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Germaine Greer, Charles Perkins, Margaret Olley, James Wolfensohn, Gough Whitlam, Yvonne Kenny and Nancy Bird-Walton.
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Sydney's men and Melbourne's women take victory in Australian Boat Race
The Universities of Sydney and Melbourne divided the spoils of victory for the third year running as the Australian Boat Race returned to Sydney Harbour on Sunday 4 November.


The Universities of Sydney and Melbourne divided the spoils of victory for the third year running as the Australian Boat Race returned to Sydney Harbour on Sunday 4 November.

Three hundred alumni and guests aboard spectator ferries followed the action along a 4.4-kilometre-long course from Woolwich to Darling Harbour. The loudest cheers came from University of Sydney alumni, students, staff, Alumni Council members and Fellows of Senate, who outnumbered the Melbourne supporters on the day.

Melbourne's women's eight repeated last year's comprehensive victory over their University of Sydney counterparts, while in the men's race, Sydney weathered some early skirmishes to move clear in the second half of the course and win by 5.3 seconds.

The Vice-Chancellor and Principal Dr Michael Spence and the University of Melbourne’s Vice-Chancellor Professor Glyn Davis followed the action from water taxis, joined by the Federal Minster for Sport, Senator Kate Lundy, and State Minister for Sport, Graham Annesley.

To ensure the race reflects the whole community of each University, up to two alumni competed in each crew. The four crews featured an incredible eight Olympians, including Sydney alumni Francis Hegerty (BCom ’06), Fergus Pragnell (BA ’10), Bronwen Watson (BEd ’00) and Monique Heinke (BSc ’95, PhD ’01 MBBS ’10).

After the early close-quarters competition, Pragnell, who was the Sydney men's skipper, said his crew's mid-race rhythm enabled them to establish an advantage and move into a race-winning lead that was much more comfortable than last year's nail-biting finish on Melbourne's Yarra River.

The 2010 race was the first time in 150 years that the boat clubs from Australia's two oldest universities had met head-to-head. When Melbourne won a race on the Yarra in 1860, the Sydney team included a young Edmund Barton, who went on to become Australia's first prime minister.

Alumni and guests were joined by competitors for a presentation ceremony and brunch at Darling Harbour, followed by a discussion panel with the Sydney and Melbourne crews. Senator Lundy said the event was becoming a great Australian sporting occasion that had already surpassed the Oxford-Cambridge boat race by giving equal prominence to the men's and women's crews.

The Australian Boat Race will reconvene on Sunday 27 October 2013, with the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Melbourne Professor Glyn Davis challenging Sydney to race them once again on the Yarra River. Alumni are encouraged to make the trip to support our Sydney crews, and there will be special spectator packages available closer to the date.
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In other news ...
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SYDNEY EVENTS
Featured: Sydney Ideas and China Studies Centre: Rosemary Foot
Professor Rosemary Foot from Oxford University will discuss the disruption of China's resurgence from an international relations perspective. Find out more
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'Strut the Streets' with AIME
Join AIME on Friday 7 December 2012 for Australia's largest charity strut. All proceeds from 'Strut the Streets' go towards the AIME Program, which supports Indigenous kids to finish school at the same rate as every Australian child. Find out more.
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ALUMNI IN THE NEWS
Corey Payne (BCom '07)
Master of Commerce graduate Corey Payne has been recognised for his drive to help young people from less privileged schools and low socioeconomic areas pursue higher education through his award of the NSW Young Australian of the Year. Find out more
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Maria Seton (BSC (Hons) '01 PhD '05 )
A team led by science alumna and geologist Maria Seton has discovered that a Pacific island, which appears on maps and weather charts, doesn't actually exist. Find out more
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Joe Gumbula (DMus '07)
Never before seen photographs from North East Arnhem Land that are more than 80 years old have been published in a new book by Conservatorium of Music alumna Joe Gumbula. Find out more
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Richard Walker (PhD '95)
Faculty of Education graduate, Richard Walker discusses if Australian schools should ban homework. Find out more

Visit our Alumni in the news site for more stories about our graduates. If you're a graduate and have been in the news, or you know of a Sydney graduate who has been in the news, email us and let us know.
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CONTENTS
Sydney news
Sydney events
Alumni in the news
Regional events
Alumni Business Directory
2012 Census
Abercrombie Precinct redevelopment approved
2013 Peter Cameron Sydney Oxford Scholarship
Past events
New exhibition: Aphrodite’s Island
University 2012/2013 closedown period
Social media
REGIONAL EVENTS
Hong Kong | 13 December
Christmas Dinner and AGM

Beijing | 15 December
Christmas Party

Hangzhou | 16 December
Christmas Party

London | 22 January
Alumni Drinks on the Southbank

Singapore | 22 January
New Year Drinks at No. 5
ALUMNI BUSINESS DIRECTORY
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The Alumni Business Directory provides a great opportunity for alumni to promote their company services to 180,000 alumni worldwide. You can also search for a growing range of businesses, such as this month's highlighted listings:

| Prestige Books Publishing
| Wirripang Pty Ltd
| Polemic Forensic
| Griffin Financial Advisory
| Welling Digital

Browse through the listings and get involved by promoting your business free of charge.
Find out more
2012 CENSUS
Thank you very much to the 20,000 alumni and donors who completed the 2012 Alumni Census. The information you provided will help the University plan our events and communications to your benefit, and continue its long tradition of philanthropy. The key outcomes of the survey will be provided in 2013.
ABERCROMBIE PRECINCT REDEVELOPMENT APPROVED
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The University of Sydney’s Abercrombie Precinct redevelopment has now been approved by the NSW Planning Assessment Commission. The approval marks an important phase in the evolution of the project and we are a step closer to building a new Business School and state-of-the-art teaching and learning facilities. Find out more
2013 PETER CAMERON SYDNEY OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP
Applications for the 2013 Peter Cameron Sydney Oxford Scholarship are now open. Find out more
PAST EVENTS
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There have been some great events held by the University recently, and you can now view the highlighted photo galleries online:

| Honorary Degrees Ceremony
| Shanghai Alumni Afternoon Tea
| Alumni Awards Ceremony
NEW EXHIBITION: APHRODITE’S ISLAND
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View the new exhibition Aphrodite’s Island: Australian Archaeologists in Cyprus at the Nicholson Museum. Find out more

UNIVERSITY 2012/2013 CLOSEDOWN PERIOD
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Please note that the University will close from 5pm Tuesday 18 December until Tuesday 1 January 2013. The Alumni and Events Office will re-open on Wednesday 2 January 2013.
SOCIAL MEDIA
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