Distinguished alumni honoured

Businesswoman Thérèse Rein and international art scholar Dr Michael Brand have been honoured by The Australian National University as joint winners of the annual Alumnus of the Year award.

In its second year, the ANU Alumni awards are a chance to celebrate the University’s outstanding alumni and their achievements since graduation.

Ms Rein, Australia’s former first lady, has been the patron of 10 charities and is the founder of Ingeus, an international company which helps people battling disability or social disadvantage find work.

Dr Brand returned to Australia in 2012 to become Director of the Art Gallery of New South Wales after a successful international career as an art scholar and gallery director.

Both Ms Rein and Dr Brand acknowledge the opportunities that opened up to them after completing their education at ANU.

“I’m so grateful that I had access to a first-class education at ANU. Many people around the world do not have that opportunity,” Ms Rein says.

Dr Brand says he was honoured to receive the joint award.

“Studying at ANU provided me with the inspiration to look wider and think deeper, and the possibility to work internationally as well as in Australia,” Dr Brand says.

Along with Alumnus of the Year, alumni across five other categories were recognised.

Jamila Rizvi, editor of the Mamamia website, and Huy Nguyen, advocate for people with disability and the ACT’s Young Australian of the Year, were awarded joint Young Alumnus of the Year.

JuE Wong, CEO of StriVectin, the largest independent prestige skin care company globally, was awarded International Alumnus of the Year.

Tess Kelly, who is studying law and arts, was named the Undergraduate Student of the Year, while Rizalyn Sarda Albarracin, who is completing a PhD in neuroscience, was named Postgraduate Student of the Year.

“Alumni are ambassadors of the University, and what they go on to achieve after graduation is a measure of the University’s success,” says Vice-Chancellor Professor Ian Young.

“We are immensely proud of our graduates, and on behalf of the University I would like to congratulate the winners for the outstanding contributions that they make internationally and to ANU.”

For a complete list of winners and their bios, visit the ANU Alumni page.