On 29 and 30 March, ANU welcomed hundreds of alumni back to campus as part of the first annual Welcome back: Alumni Weekend. The eventful weekend commenced with the prestigious Alumni Awards Gala Dinner, which was hosted at the Kambri Cultural Centre.
Australian comedian Hannah Gadsby, who rose to global notoriety with her stand-up show Nanette, was awarded the Alumna of the Year Award. ANU Vice-Chancellor, Professor Brian Schmidt AC, said Hannah was deserving of the accolade for her fierce advocacy of gender and sexual equality.
"She has received international recognition for her insight into trauma and abuse - and has fought to make more space for people in our society who are a little different and don't have the same voice as others," he said.
Other alumni awards went to ACT Magistrate Louise Taylor for her impact on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander rights and access to justice for women in the community, and Sir Mike Brady FRS for his contribution to science, particularly the impact of his medical research on diagnostic imaging patients.
Alexandra Clare was awarded the Young Alumna of the Year Award for her humanitarian advocacy through Re:Coded, which creates professional opportunities in the technology industry for youth in conflict-affected countries across the Middle East, while Lauren Dreyar and James Connolly were recognised for their volunteer work.
During the gala dinner Professor Schmidt also launched a new fundraising campaign, Support Australia’s Students, to provide scholarships to remove barriers to education for all talented students admitted to ANU.
“We recognise that while talent is everywhere opportunity is not, and these fundraising efforts will focus on student support to give any student with the will and capacity to succeed the opportunity to study at ANU,” Professor Schmidt said.
Aside from the awards ceremony, weekend highlights included tours of Kambri and the Aboriginal Heritage Trail, the Golden Graduates Reunion Lunch, as well as the launch of the ANU Women's Alumni Network.
The Welcome Back: Alumni Weekend encourages alumni to maintain an ongoing relationship with ANU and share their ideas and feedback on how best to maintain a vibrant alumni community.