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JCU honours outstanding alumni

Twelve JCU graduates have been honoured for their outstanding contribution to society in Australia and internationally.

August 31, 2012: - Twelve James Cook University graduates were honoured today for their outstanding contribution to society in Australia and internationally.

At a special breakfast in Townsville, the University’s Chancellor Lt Gen John Grey presented the awards to a historian, a teacher, a doctor, a nurse, a public health expert, two lawyers, two scientists, a journalist, a maker of natural history documentaries and a top United Nations official.

JCU’s Vice Chancellor Professor Sandra Harding told the gathering that JCU’s aim was to produce graduates and discoveries that make a difference.

“Listening to the profiles of today’s awardees shows that JCU is producing outstanding alumni all around the world and they are doing an outstanding job,” she said.

“And today’s wonderful group of JCU alumni is just a snapshot of the many graduates who have gone on from their time at the University to make their mark on the world.”

The awards were made to eight Outstanding Alumni – two from each of JCU’s four faculties – and four Early Career Alumni.

The Outstanding Alumni are:

  • Dr Ngiare Brown - foundation chief executive officer with the Aboriginal Indigenous Doctors Association and currently a Medical Officer with the Association

  • Dr Rose Evaster-Aderolili - Chief of the Human and Social Development Program for the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA)

  • Judith Ketchell - Executive Principal at Tagai State College in the Torres Strait

  • Traven Lea - Special Adviser to the Australian Government initiative, Australian Medicare Local Alliance

  • Professor Ian Mackinnon - executive director of the Institute for Future Environments at the Queensland University of Technology in Brisbane.

  • Bill Mitchell - Principal Solicitor and Registered Migration Agent at the Townsville Community Legal Service

  • Professor Clive Moore - Head of School in History Philosophy, Religion and Classics at the University of Queensland

  • Dr Richard Smith – producer and director of natural history documentaries including this year’s ABC series Australia: The Time Traveller’s Guide.

The Early Career awards ware made to:

  • Winsome Denyer – ABC journalist

  • Dr Mariana Fuentes – turtle and dugong researcher and children’s book author

  • Ali Jimmy Drummond - Indigenous Nurse Advisor in the Nursing and Midwifery Office of Queensland Health.

  • Diane Ruhl - Associate in Family Law at Boulton Cleary & Kern Lawyers in Townsville

It fell to the Chancellor, Lt Gen Grey, to choose one of the Outstanding Alumni as JCU’s Outstanding Alumnus for 2012.

He said the decision was very hard as any of them would be a worthy choice, however Dr Evaster-Aderolili had an extraordinary record of achievement.

After working as an economist in Uganda and a lecturer in Papua New Guinea, Dr Evaster-Aderolili joined JCU’s fledgling Cairns campus in 1991 as a student and was also the first lecturer in economics. She was awarded her Graduate Certificate of Education (Tertiary) and PhD in 1996.

Joining the UN in 2001 as Economic Affairs Officer at UN Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA), she was promoted to Chief Economist at the United Nations Mission in Sudan (UNMIS) where she dealt directly with humanitarian issues, advising on the needs of refugees.

She has been Chief Advisor to the UN as Special Representative of the Secretary General on humanitarian matters and reconstruction in Southern Sudan, and Acting Director/Officer in Charge for UNECA of the African Center for Gender and Social Development.

Dr Evaster-Aderolili now heads the biggest program at UNECA, delivering research, policy advice and technical support to all 54 African countries in areas such as education, employment, health, gender, migration and youth.

Issued: August 31, 2012

JCU Media Liaison, Jim O’Brien 07 4781 4822 or 0418 892449