The 2013 RMIT Honorary Awards and Graduation Ceremony was held on Friday 17 May at Storey Hall.

About the recipients

Mr Eddie McGuire AM – Doctor of Communication Honoris Causa

Emeritus Professor James Sinatra – Doctor of Design Honoris Causa

Adjunct Professor Gerard Nash QC – Doctor of Social Science Honoris Causa

Professor Allan Hahn OAM – Doctor of Applied Science Honoris Causa

Mr Matthew Simon Browne was awarded the RMIT Award for VET

Mr Troy Nathan Boswell was awarded the RMIT Award for Higher Education

Ms Gemma Kate Freeman was awarded the Patricia Guthrie Memorial Award

Ms Bethany Jane Edgoose was awarded the J. N. McNicol Prize

Mrs Fiona Nolan was awarded the Francis Ormond Medal

Mrs Lila Kemlo was awarded the Ralph McIntosh Medal

Doctoral graduates

The Ceremony celebrated the achievements of 39 doctoral graduands from the colleges of Business, Design and Social Context, and Science, Engineering and Health.

The graduands’ combined years of dedication to research within their respective fields has contributed invaluable knowledge for the benefit of the communities within which we operate.

Mr Eddie McGuire AM – Doctor of Communication HonorisCausa

With over 25 years’ experience and many awards to his name, Mr McGuire is one of Australia’s most acclaimed media personalities, as well as an accomplished businessman and author.

In roles ranging from cadet reporter to CEO of the Nine Network, Mr McGuire has spearheaded ratings blockbusters including The Footy Show – a six-time Logie winner, and Who Wants to be a Millionaire – the most successful weekly television quiz program ever broadcast in Australia.

Mr McGuire joined the Nine Network in 1994 as a sports commentator after starting out at Network Ten as a sports journalist in 1982. In 1983 he was accepted into an RMIT Bachelor of Journalism.

His television hosting record also includes major international sports events such as the Olympic Games, Commonwealth Games, the Super Bowl, and Formula One Grand Prix, and live event television including the TV Week Logie Awards and 1 vs. 100.

Mr McGuire also hosts Triple M’s popular breakfast radio program, The Hot Breakfast, and game show Hot Seat on the Nine Network. He is also the face of Fox Footy’s AFL coverage and hosts a sports talk show, Eddie McGuire Tonight.

He is also a newspaper columnist, the co-author of two books, and owner of independent media production company McGuire Media.

As President of Collingwood Football Club, Mr McGuire led the Club to its first premiership in 20 years and his vision for a world class training facility, in the heart of Melbourne’s sports and entertainment precinct, is well on the way to being realised. He is also President of the Melbourne Stars Cricket team in the Big Bash League

Mr McGuire has also been an active supporter of community and charitable causes over many years.

He is Chairman of the Michael Long Learning and Leadership Centre, a centre promoting links between football and indigenous people in northern Australia. He also sits on a number of boards including the Victorian Major Events Committee; Athletics Australia, where he has been Director since 2005; the State Library of Victoria; and the Shane Warne Foundation, which supports seriously ill and underprivileged children and teenagers.

In 2005 he was recognised for his “service to the community, particularly through support for health care and welfare organisations, and to broadcasting”, receiving a Member of the Order of Australia award.

Other awards he has received include a Centenary Medal, an Australian Sports Medal and Life Member of the Australian Football Media Association.

Eddie McGuire has been dedicated to the advancement of sport and integral to shaping the role and importance of sport on television and how this is reflected in the community. Mr McGuire is a worthy recipient of this award for his outstanding media work and his continuing charitable work with the community.

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Emeritus Professor James Sinatra – Doctor of Design HonorisCausa

Emeritus Professor Sinatra has made an outstanding contribution in the field of landscape architecture, the impact of which is felt from rural Australia to many countries around the world.

His extensive experience in commercial, institutional, community development, municipal and residential landscape projects and public art projects, has seen him participate as a lecturer, critic, juror and reviewer in the US, Canada, Japan, Holland, Korea, New Zealand, Singapore, Taiwan and East Timor.

In the early 1980s Emeritus Professor Sinatra was recruited from Iowa State University to lead the newly established four year undergraduate degree in Landscape Architecture at RMIT. His brief was to make it an internationally recognised degree program, which was done by creating international student exchanges. He initially led and then actively participated in this program for 15 years, before retiring in 1998 with an emeritus professorship.

In Australia, he was instrumental in developing the profession. He contributed not only at the professorial level at RMIT, but to the fields of built environment and landscape thinking through books and publications, making leading intellectual contributions that have shaped this discipline.

Among Emeritus Professor Sinatra’s most notable work while at RMIT are his two seminal texts co-authored with Phin Murphy: Listen to the People, Listen to the Land (Melbourne University Press, 1999) and Landscape for Health: settlement planning and development for better health in rural and remote indigenous Australia (RMIT-ORA, 1997).

These publications celebrate his commitment to working with remote indigenous communities and other diverse, often marginalised, populations in understanding and shaping their landscape environments for healthy outcomes. His creativity, community mindedness and commitment to finding practical solutions for real life challenges exemplify all that RMIT stands for.

Emeritus Professor Sinatra initiated design studios throughout rural and remote Australia as part of the landscape architecture program, which grew to become the RMIT OutReach Australia program. Through this program, he provided invaluable opportunities for Australian and international students and RMIT staff to participate in projects that were focused on bringing real and meaningful change to communities in need.

His commitment to community consultation and celebrating diversity extends to his current landscape architectural and art practice today – SinatraMurphy – which he started with Phin Murphy in 1991. Their practice has continued to maintain strong links with indigenous groups and today is being used in cross cultural design applications in Dandenong and other suburbs.

SinatraMurphy’s work is also widely celebrated and respected for its artful approach to place making and the provision of meaningful public spaces. Emeritus Professor Sinatra has received numerous accolades and honours including a fellowship in the Australian Institute of Landscape Architecture, and a National Future Leaders Scholarship, which has been dubbed the Jim Sinatra Leadership award.

Over his long and illustrious career, Emeritus Professor Sinatra has shown himself to be a talented artist, an influential author, an educator, a compassionate leader and an innovator of change, who has brought incredible spirit and leadership to RMIT and the Landscape Architecture industry in Australia and around the world.

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Adjunct Professor Gerard Nash QC – Doctor of Social Science HonorisCausa

Adjunct Professor Nash is considered to be not only a person of eminence and a leader in the field of law but a major contributor to the development of legal education in Australia.

He has had a distinguished career both as an academic and as a barrister, having been appointed as a Queen’s Counsel of the Victorian Bar in 1987. He has served on state, national and international committees relating to legal education and entry to the legal profession.

Adjunct Professor Nash is a legal author of distinction and a former prominent member of the Victorian Bar Council. He has a history of active involvement with institutions including the Victorian Board of Examiners for Barristers and Solicitors and the Victorian Council of Legal Education.

Back in the 1960s there was a gap between academic law and the practical application of the law. University law schools were reluctant to recognise the ever-growing need to integrate law practice into academia. Adjunct Professor Nash’s arrival on the law scene spelled the beginning of a new era in legal education; and between the years of 1962 and 1980, he made major changes to the way law was taught in this country and overseas.

From 1966 to 1970 he served as Foundation Professor and Dean of the Faculty of Law, University of Papua New Guinea – where he designed and implemented a five year law degree based on the semester system.

As Professor of Law at Monash University from 1970, and then Dean of the Faculty of Law from 1977, Adjunct Professor Nash established the first clinical program in any Australian Law School and introduced Summer School to the University. He set up links between Monash and the Springvale Legal Service, which continue to provide immense value to the community, and teamed with Judge Gordon Lewis AM, who was the Director of the Law Institute of Victoria, to bring the practicing profession into academia. It was during this time that he cemented his status as one of the innovators in his field.

His work at RMIT is no less distinguished. At RMIT, Adjunct Professor Nash played a defining role in the professional accreditation and development of the University’s Juris Doctor Program. He offered invaluable support to the School about addressing the queries of the legal accrediting body – the Council of Legal Education, and continues as Chair of the Juris Doctor Advisory Board – mentoring new and existing staff and promoting the Juris Doctor within the profession.

Adjunct Professor Nash’s career, both as an academic and a barrister, are well documented and the impact that he has had personally and professionally on all in his field is summarised in this statement by one of his referees for this Honorary Doctorate:

“If asked which lawyer in Victoria had done the most to merge and promote the involvement of academia with the every day practice of law – Nash wins hands down”.

“If asked as a cold call who would be worthy of an honorary doctorate for their contribution to legal education, and to RMIT in this area, the answer would be Nash without a doubt”.

“If Nash is not worthy of such an honorary doctorate then nobody is.”

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Professor Allan Hahn OAM – Doctor of Applied Science HonorisCausa

A pioneer in this field, Professor Hahn’s achievements, accolades and impact are difficult to capture in this short introduction. He is one of the single most influential contributors to the development of sport in Australia, and was recognised for his decades of service to sport and sports science with an Australian Sports Medal in 2000 and an Order of Australia medal in 2002.

Throughout his 27 years at the Australian Institute of Sport, where he held various positions including Head of Physiology and Head of AIS Performance Research, Professor Hahn was instrumental in implementing major advancements in Australian sport including:

  • Initiating a talent identification scheme for Australian rowing which culminated in an Australian women’s team winning gold at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics – notably in a boat named ‘Allan Hahn’. The project provided impetus for the establishment of what became the ASC-funded National Talent Identification and Development Program that has covered numerous sports.
  • He assisted with the development of a cooling vest used by Australian athletes during the 1996 Olympics and worked with scientists at RMIT University to redevelop this for the 2004 Olympics and Paralympics.
  • In 2000 and 2001, Professor Hahn negotiated the inclusion of the Australian Institute of Sport in the Cooperative Research Centre (CRC) for Microtechnology. This involved major collaboration with RMIT scientists in the area of materials and product design to support sports science research. Within five years this sport project became the largest CRC venture and the first to produce a commercial return.

He is also behind the initiative which led to the establishment of the Australian Sports Research Network that includes 10 Universities, the Australian Sports Commission and the AIS. The Network has successfully fostered a range of collaborative ventures.

He has worked extensively with RMIT over many years, providing critical guidance around research focus and enabling research collaborations through the Australian Institute of Sport.

Professor Hahn has published 87 publications in peer-reviewed scientific journals, 11 book chapters and technical manuals and 30 papers in applied sports science and coaching literature.

He has been invited to speak at sports conferences around the world, awarded honorary fellowships and professorships across numerous universities, has implemented dozens of research initiatives that have had significant impact nationally and internationally – the list goes on and on.

What all this ultimately demonstrates though, is Professor Hahn’s tireless dedication, undying passion and belief in his profession and his industry.

Australian sport would not be the same without him and RMIT is privileged to present him with this honorary doctorate.

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Mr Matthew Simon Browne – RMIT Award for VET

The RMIT Award for VET is presented annually to a TAFE student who has displayed leadership potential and initiative and has an excellent academic record.

Matthew Browne was granted the award – Diploma of Conservation and Land Management. He achieved high distinctions for every graded course resulting in a GPA of 4.0.

Matthew’s involvement in various voluntary projects allowed him to consolidate his learning, develop new skills and contribute to places and organisations that he is enthusiastic about. Matthew included many of his fellow students at RMIT in a number of these opportunities within the industry. At his own initiative, in 2011 he produced a video of the students working on a restoration site at the Kew Billabong.

Matthew volunteered his time with the New Zealand based charity Sustainable Coastlines where he assisted in the coordination, implementation and photographic record of the ‘Love Your Coast’ marine pollution educational program to 10 schools in Port Vila, Vanuatu. Matthew has used his photographic skills to display a photo trail of coastlines and marine environment through local farmers market stalls to engage the community in promoting sustainability and conservation.

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Mr Troy Nathan Boswell – RMIT Award for Higher Education

The RMIT Award for Higher Education is presented annually to a higher education bachelor degree student who has displayed leadership potential and initiative and has an excellent academic record.

Troy Boswell was conferred with the degree – Bachelor of Engineering (Computer and Network Engineering) with First Class Honours. He graduated with a cumulative GPA of 4.0, gaining High Distinctions in all courses.

During his four years at RMIT, Troy actively participated and demonstrated leadership potential in various design projects in which he was team leader and by mentoring and tutoring junior undergraduates. After his second year, Troy authored a four-chapter manual to provide a comprehensive guide for RMIT-SECE’s microprocessor development board, OpenUSB. His work allowed first and second year students to gain valuable insight into the method of writing effective engineering software and provided functional examples in various scripting and programming languages. Troy also volunteered to assist in the development of a system which provided a visually impaired photographer with the ability to change his camera settings and the resulting changes output a voice prompt via an iPhone.

The technical and leadership knowledge gained by Troy’s experiences at RMIT will assist him as he transitions from an undergraduate engineering student to a Weapons Electrical Engineering Officer in the Royal Australian Navy.

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Ms Gemma Kate Freeman – Patricia Guthrie Memorial Award

The prize is provided through the generosity of the Guthrie family, and is awarded in commemoration of Patricia Guthrie who was RMIT’s first female Head of the TAFE School of Communication and Social Science and a valued and much respected member of staff of RMIT. This award is based on academic excellence, social awareness and involvement in community affairs.

Gemma Freeman was conferred with the degree – Bachelor of Arts (International Studies). She maintained a perfect GPA of 4.0 throughout her program and graduated with Distinction.

Gemma volunteered for a project working for street children in Guatemala in 2009 and encountered many families where illiteracy proved to be a substantial barrier to being able to succeed economically. Through the project she assisted these children with their homework and watched their confidence grow as they grasped new concepts and successfully passed from one grade to the next.

Gemma returned to Australia with a new perspective on education and it was her experience in Guatamala that motivated her to commit herself to her studies, grateful for the opportunities afforded to her. During her time at RMIT, Gemma continued to campaign on issues of injustice and inequality by becoming involved with World Vision’s youth movement Vision Generation ‘VGen‘ and she established an RMIT Chapter of Vision Generation ‘VGen RMIT’. Gemma also committed her time as a member of the International Studies Association at RMIT. As part of a study tour Gemma visited Timor-Leste where she was able to contextualise the theory and concepts learned in the classroom within the reality of a nation struggling with poverty and conflict.

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Ms Bethany Jane Edgoose – J. N. McNicol Prize

The J N McNicol Prize recognises outstanding academic achievement, leadership potential and initiative in an undergraduate program. The award commemorates the late J N McNicol. Mr McNicol joined the staff of the Working Men’s College in 1886.

Bethany Edgoose was conferred with the degree – Bachelor of Arts (International Studies) with Distinction. Bethany’s academic record consisted of High Distinctions in every course with a cumulative GPA of 4.0.

Bethany chose the BA (International Studies) program because it appealed to her love of discovery and engagement with the wider world. As a project management intern in Uganda, Bethany worked with a grassroots community development organisation to improve the mental and psychological wellbeing of a local school community where she implemented income generation projects based on sustainable agriculture. She also coordinated fundraisers to provide scholarships for twenty Ugandan students and developed an organisational blog for CHEDRA Uganda that remains the primary website for that organisation.

Bethany designed and implemented an independent research project that investigated the contribution of international migration to the socio-political changes occurring in London, Melbourne and Shanghai. Synthesising conclusions from an inexhaustible supply of information was most challenging for Bethany and she is building upon her research skills by undertaking the Honours program at RMIT this year.

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Mrs Fiona Nolan – Francis Ormond Medal

Currently the Senior Coordinator, Governance and Operational Review in the School of Graduate Research, Mrs Nolan commenced work at RMIT 28 years ago.

During that time, she has specialised in research administration with particular emphasis on Higher Degree by Research candidates.

At RMIT, Mrs Nolan has worked in areas including: Higher Degrees unit in the Academic Registrars Group; the Faculty of Art, Design and Communication; and the College of Design and Social Context, before joining the School of Graduate Research in 2010.

For more than 10 years she has been a member of the Australasian Research Training Administrators (ARTA) and was the Chair of ARTA Executive Committee in 2009.

Mrs Nolan has been involved in consultation for the University’s new suite of Higher Degrees by Research (HDR) candidature and supervision policy and procedure documents – approved by the Academic Board last December.

This is as well as developing and consulting with stakeholders for the University ranking model for Higher Degrees by Research admission and scholarships, successfully implemented in 2009.

Her colleagues have described Mrs Nolan as someone who “exhibits in all of her work and professional interactions the spirit of Francis Ormond and is a highly worthy nominee for this award”.

“She understands and enacts the principles of student service and, in all of her work and interactions, reminds everyone she deals with that amidst all of our other work, our primary purpose for being here is the students.”

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Mrs Lila Kemlo – Ralph McIntosh Medal

Ms Kemlo is the Learning Support Manager in the Learning and Teaching Unit of the College of Business. After beginning work in RMIT’s Study and Learning Centre in 1997, Ms Kemlo specialised in supporting learning and teaching for students experiencing issues in their first year of study.

In 2007, she moved to the College of Business, where she nurtured the Student Learning Adviser Mentors or SLAMs program, then in its infancy. A voluntary student academic peer support service, SLAMs helps students to “learn how to learn” in a controlled and user-friendly and environment.

Ms Kemlo’s colleagues say that as a result of her experience of student transition and the learning difficulties of business students, she understood the need to provide a sustainable, student-centred approach to meet these difficulties. She has managed the SLAMs program for the past six years.

Her referees describe her enthusiasm, determination and vision to develop a sophisticated and innovative program that supports students who have learning and transition difficulties.

The program is now firmly embedded in the College of Business across both the Melbourne and Vietnam campuses.

Her colleagues also say that “this scholarly and mature approach to learning and teaching ensures that students are empowered to be both independent and creative in their learning”.

“Such dedication is based on Ms Kemlo’s ability to inspire these volunteers to join and her ability to maintain their commitment, by meaningful communication and high level of enthusiasm.”

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