Celebrating our alumni connections

Connecting and collaborating with our international alumni community in 2021

With more than 170,000 alumni across the globe and counting, the Alumni Relations Team endeavours to engage with our vibrant network of alumni doing amazing things all over the world. Throughout 2021, we were fortunate to connect, collaborate and celebrate with alumni in a variety of different ways.

Innovation and inspiration

Coinciding with International Women’s Day, Founder and CEO of Brighte, Katherine McConnell shared her insights with our alumni community at the Entrepreneurial Women’s Series virtual event in March. As an innovative, multi award-winning Fintech and market leader in energy finance, Katherine inspired a conversation around the innovation ecosystem and shared some of the lessons she has learned in staying true to yourself in a competitive and rapidly changing market.

Hello Hong Kong

The first few months of the year saw the Alumni team delivering virtual information sessions with UOW top-up degree students studying at UOW College Hong Kong. The informative sessions welcomed soon to graduate UOW students to the alumni community, and provided tips on how to improve their employability prospects and access alumni benefits beyond graduation.

Celebrating 30 years of law at UOW

2021 marked the 30th Anniversary Year for the UOW School of Law and celebrations commenced with the launch of the ‘30 for 30’ profiles, showcasing the stories and successes of the incredible students, staff and alumni of UOW Law. Events and initiatives to celebrate the anniversary continued throughout the year, including an in-conversation interview with Law Council of Australia President, Dr Jacoba Brasch QC and an on-campus Q&A session with The Honourable Michael Kirby AC CMG.

Thought leadership

What does it take to have a healthy personality?’ was explored at the first UOW Knowledge Series lecture for 2021, which featured Senior Professor Brin Grenyer, Director of the Project Air Strategy for Personality Disorders. An internationally recognised leader in research, education and treatment, Professor Grenyer and his team aim to support compassionate, evidence-based treatment and recovery for people with personality disorder and related conditions. Project Air partners with health, justice, communities, schools, families and individuals, bringing new scientific discoveries to promote recovery through effective response and treatment of complex mental health challenges.

Dubai shares research, expertise and laughter

Alumni in Dubai enjoyed a range of innovative virtual experiences, including the very successful virtual ‘Coffee Talk with the Expert’ series which saw faculties, schools and alumni come together to share research and practical perspectives on trending industry topics. Throughout the year, many alumni volunteered their time as in-class guest speakers, mentors and panellists and connected with their fellow alumni and current students through the fun, relaxing and informative ‘Social Saturday’ online events.

Alumni Philanthropy

Throughout the year, the alumni community generously supported the University through Born of Steel, a new fund that will enable UOW teams to work in partnership with our communities to address society’s critical economic, social and health challenges. With our steel city origins, UOW is built on industry, strength of character and a distinctive work ethic. Born of Steel is a recognition of this rich heritage and an acknowledgment of the role philanthropy has played in helping this institution to grow into the world-class University it is today. Our academics, students and alumni alike are committed to creating change that matters and are fearless in our pursuit of a better society.

You can help us support students from all backgrounds to fulfil their potential, power world-changing research and kick-start innovation, by donating to our Born of Steel Fund via giving.uow.edu.au

New opportunities to engage

July saw the launch of the UOW Alumni Anthology Webinar Series, shining the spotlight on the passion projects, skills and expertise of our alumni community through a curated collection of knowledge, stories and conversations.

This treasure trove features a range of unique perspectives, including insights on leadership, resilience and determination from Australian cricketing legend and UOW ambassador Adam Gilchrist AM, right through to conversations on intersectionality in corporate Australia with diversity and inclusion evangelist, Lilian Kikuvi, and borderless careers with digital nomad Matt Moffitt.

Alumni around the world

Across the globe our alumni continued to connect with one another, both in person and online. From social mixers to academic discussions, the UOW Alumni Chapters in Indonesia, Singapore and Toronto have been busy throughout the year.

Tokyo triumphs

From July to September, the Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games had the whole world transfixed and the cheers from Wollongong were particularly loud as the University celebrated three outstanding alumni athletes.

Flynn Ogilvie represented the Kookaburra’s in the Australian field hockey team, winning silver in the men’s final against Belgium. Sarah Carli overcame life threatening injuries to compete in the women’s 400m hurdles. Wheelchair Basketballer Tristan Knowles OAM also competed in his fifth Paralympics Games, making it into the finals with the mighty Rollers. UOW is so proud to see our graduates notching up such incredible achievements!

Giving back through mentoring

When students stand on the threshold of their career, having someone in their corner to help them find their way can change everything. Across September and October, 52 alumni mentors shared their time and expertise with current student mentees through the UOW Mentoring Program. Mentors generously offered career advice and shared their insights into the opportunities and challenges of working in specific industries.

Awards and accolades

2021 has been a year of achievement for UOW alumni, staff, community members and partner organisations.

In May, Emeritus Professorships were granted to Professor Robin Warner, Senior Professor Julie Steele AM, Professor Wenche Ommundsen, Senior Professor Vera Mackie, Senior Professor David Griffith and former UOW Vice-Chancellor, Professor Paul Wellings CBE. Professor Wellings was also awarded an Honorary Doctor of Science for his outstanding contribution to advancing education and innovation with genuine societal impact. Former UOW Chancellor, Ms Jillian Broadbent AC was awarded an Honorary Doctor of Laws for her outstanding contribution to the University and for her significant services at a national level.

A number of incredible alumni were recognised in the 2021 Queens Birthday Honours List in June. Shantelle Thompson and Senior Professor Brin Grenyer received the Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM), whilst Associate Professor Faye McMillan and Dr Bronwyn Evans received the honour of Member (AM) in the General Division of the Order of Australia.

In September, the University honoured the Far South Coast Branch of Surf Life Saving NSW for their outstanding community service during the 2019/2020 bushfire crisis through the conferral of the UOW Community Fellowship Award.

In September, Vice-Chancellor Professor Patricia Davidson and UOW alumnus Dr Sameer Dixit were announced as 2021 Advance Awards winners for their extraordinary impact on the global stage.

October also saw the 2021 Fellowship and Alumni Awards held virtually for the very first time in the event’s history. Chris Grange, Nicky Sloan, Margot Mains and Associate Professor Brian Jones all received University Fellowships in recognition of their outstanding achievement, exceptional service and significant community contribution.