Outstanding Alumni shine at Awards
A group of James Cook University graduates who continue to forge remarkable careers have been honoured at this morning’s Outstanding Alumni Awards.
Six inspiring alumni representing a wide range of fields including aerospace, law, mining, conservation, biomedicine and healthcare have been celebrated during a ceremony at The Ville Resort-Casino in Townsville.
Now in its 13th year, the Awards recognise graduates of the University, and its predecessor institutions, who have made an outstanding contribution in their field of endeavour at a local, state, national or international level, and celebrate their successes and achievements.
Award categories have been revamped for 2023, including the Chancellor’s and Vice-Chancellor’s Distinguished Awards which recognise alumni who demonstrate distinguished and significant excellence in their career, industry or community.
Executive Director of the Boeing Enterprise Technology Office, Dr William Lyons, has been named as the recipient of the Chancellor’s Distinguished Award in recognition of his role in shaping the future of aerospace across a career spanning more than 30 years.
Originally from Brisbane, Dr Lyons chose to study at JCU in Townsville, graduating with a Bachelor of Education and a Bachelor Arts with First Class Honours in Atmospheric Sciences and Meteorology in 1989.
He has held several senior positions within Boeing including achieving “Technical Fellow” status within the company due to his technical and scientific expertise and advising customers and external stakeholders on a variety of advanced engineering issues related to the environment, satellite systems and remote sensing.
Receiving the Outstanding Indigenous Alumni Award is Queensland Bar Association Barrister at Law Melia Benn.
Raised in Gordonvale south of Cairns, the Mamu and Gunggandji woman is one of only two practicing Indigenous women barristers at the Queensland Bar.
Following her admission as a solicitor in 2014, Ms Benn worked as a property lawyer in private practice before transitioning to the Queensland Government where she was a senior lawyer for the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (Qld), appearing in the District and Supreme Courts.
Most recently, Ms Benn was employed as Counsel Assisting the Coroner for the Office of the State Coroner before being called to the Bar in 2018.
JCU Chancellor Professor Ngiare Brown congratulated all Award recipients on being recognised for their remarkable careers.
“We are immensely proud of the wonderful work our graduates go on to do in their respective fields and they should all be congratulated for continuing to inspire others along their journey,” she said.
“From humble beginnings, each recipient has gone on to forge their own impressive career path. It goes to show that JCU is giving our future leaders the tools they need to succeed anywhere in the world.
“The Outstanding Alumni Awards remind us of the important role JCU has played and continues to play in shaping our graduates.”
Full list of recipients
Chancellor's Distinguished Award
Dr William Lyons, Executive Director , Boeing Enterprise Technology Office.
Vice Chancellor's Distinguished Award
Dr Paul Marshall, Head, NEOM Nature Reserve.
Rising Star Award
Ms Lydia Gentle, Portfolio Delivery Manager, BHP.
Outstanding Indigenous Alumni Award
Ms Melia Benn, Barrister at Law, Queensland Bar Association.
Spirit of JCU Award
Ms Hylda Wapau, Nurse Navigator, Torres and Cape Hospital and Health Service.
Professor Trent Munro, Senior Vice President of Therapeutics, Microba Life Sciences and Industry Professor, University of Queensland.
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