VC's Update - Alumni Awards, PhD research cakes and more

13 April 2017

Hi Everyone,

We're a particularly creative bunch here at ANU and this week, the team at the Research School of Earth Sciences really took the cake ... pardon the pun. Yesterday, I judged my very first Bake your PhD competition - an innovative and tasty way to have students describe their PhD research through the art of cake making. Congratulations to Bethany Ellis with 'Coring a Coral' and Kate Holland with 'Strawbulina universa and Globigerinoides ruberry cheesecake'. Delicious pieces of research.

In other news, earlier last week the University launched a consultation process aimed at identifying the best way to support our ambitions to be leaders in health and medical research.

ANU has a chance now to look at its internal structures to ensure we are well positioned and adequately resourced to advance our health and medical research and education, improve engagement with the health sector, and ensure we are well-placed to access new opportunities such as those that will arise from the Medical Research Futures Fund and in the formation of strategic external partnerships.

I encourage you to contribute to the discussion. You can find the consultation paper and information about how to contribute to this process at

A few congratulations are in order this week.

Late last week we celebrated the achievements of some of our most successful alumni at the Annual Alumni Awards. It's always a great occasion and a demonstration of where an ANU education can take you.  

Alumni of the Year Ms Elizabeth Bryan AM; Young Alumni of the Year Ms Xiao He (Helen) ZHANG; Indigenous Alumni of the Year Dr Gaye Sculthorpe; Young Indigenous Alumni of the Year Mr Robert (Robbie) Williams; International Alumni of the Year Mr Dongxiang ZHANG; Alumni of the Year - Innovation & Entrepreneurship Mr Andrew (Creel) Price; Alumni of the Year - Philanthropy Justice Richard Refshauge SC; Student Philanthropist of the Year (Undergraduate) Mr Benjamin (Ben) Gill; Student Philanthropist of the Year (Postgraduate) Ms Kim-Marie Spence.  The 2017 Vice-Chancellor Commendations included Vice-Chancellor's Commendation - Student Philanthropist of the Year (Undergraduate) Ms Caitlin Figueiredo; Vice-Chancellor's Commendation - Indigenous Alumni of the Year Mr David (Dave) Johnston .

Congratulations also to Professor Tom Griffiths who has won the 2017 Ernest Scott history prize, for The Art of Time Travel: historians and their craft (Black Inc). And well done to Professor Craig Moritz from the Research School of Biology who has been elected as a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Have an excellent long weekend everyone. Enjoy the break.



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Comment by Jannet Burgess
6.15pm 13 Apr 2017

Any cake for undergrads?

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Comment by Julianne Quaine
2.45pm 15 Apr 2017

Thank you for sharing the award of the Ernest Scott History Prize given to Professor Tom Griffiths. I attended a number of lectures given by Prof Griffiths in HIST1214 earlier this semester and he gave a really interesting insight into thinking about history from an ecological/biological perspective. I need to look up this book now.

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Comment by Neville Fletcher
9.15am 18 Apr 2017

I could not help being distracted when an individual women academic is referred to as "an alumni".  I know that Latin has gone out of fashion in Academia, but it would be good to remember that when referring to former students and staff at a University, a single male graduate is an "alumnus" and a single female is an "alumna"  ("single" doesn't refer to marriage here!)  Members of a group of women graduates are referred to "alumnae" and a group of male graduates as "alumni"  though this term can be extended to include a group of graduates of both sexes.  The ending "a" is pronounced as "uh" and in the plurals "i" is pronounced as "ee" and "ae" is pronounced as "eye".  I like the quote from "Yes Minister" that says "A gentleman need not know Latin, but at least he should have forgotten it!"