Curtin University awards night honours outstanding alumni

Claire Halliday
Claire Halliday

A survivor of the stolen generation has been awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award at the 2023 Curtin University Alumni Awards celebration.

Nyoongar artist Sandra Hill is a Wadandi/Pibulmun, Menang Elder and Custodian who encourages truth-telling and education and describes her paintings as a historical visual essay drawn from personal experiences of injustice, living under the Native Welfare regime in Aboriginal Western Australia.

Ms Hill joined eight other leading Curtin alumni, whose outstanding accomplishments and exceptional standards of excellence in their respective fields were recognised.

Community Service Award

The recipient was respected business leader Dr Shayne Silcox PSM, in recognition of his exemplary commitment to improving the lives of the communities he serves. In addition to volunteering both overseas and locally, Dr Silcox has been a Disability Ambassador for more than a decade.

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Young Achievement Award

Independent economist and non-profit executive Conrad Liveris was honoured for his work as an employment and workplace expert commentator and his commitment to improving access to justice.

Innovation Award

Electrical engineering specialist Professor Apriana Toding has been instrumental in using innovative technology to improve access to learning in remote areas of Indonesia.

2023 Professional Achievement Award recipients by Faculty

Business and Law – Former Ngala Chief Executive Officer Fiona Beermier for her vocal advocacy for marginalised populations and commitment to creating the best outcomes for children through early intervention and family support.

Health Sciences – Western Kids Health Managing Director Nicole Pates is a highly experienced paediatric physiotherapist who advocates for fun, evidence-based care and supports children and families living with chronic and complex conditions.

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Humanities – Professor Matthew Tonts works across community, government and industry to help protect the environment and provides advice on the environmental impacts of some of the state’s biggest developments in his role as Environmental Protection Authority Chair.

Science and Engineering – Mining engineer and Genesis Minerals Limited Managing Director Raleigh Finlayson has technical and operational expertise in open pit and underground mining and has overseen the acquisition, feasibility studies and operations of gold mines.

Celebrating change-makers

Curtin University Vice-Chancellor Professor Harlene Hayne congratulated all award winners on their contributions as innovators and change-makers at a local, national and international level.

“It is my absolute pleasure to honour these graduates who exemplify Curtin values of integrity, respect, courage, excellence and impact,” she said.

“The positive impact of their work spans many fields and industries, where they are truly making a difference.”

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The university’s highest honour – the John Curtin Medal – was presented to Helping Little Hands co-founder and Chief Executive Officer Joanne Beedie, a mother of five who draws on her lived-experience of premature birth to help other parents.

“Curtin is delighted to recognise Joanne for her dedication, passion and time she has invested in establishing and growing the Helping Little Hands charity which has supported thousands of Western Australian families with premature and sick babies,” Professor Hayne said.

“Joanne’s values, vision and commitment to community make her an incredibly worthy winner of the 2023 John Curtin Medal.”

The John Curtin Medal is named after the Right Honourable John Curtin, the Prime Minister of Australia from 1941 to 1945.

It is awarded annually by Curtin University to recognise individuals or organisations displaying vision, leadership and a commitment to community service.

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Claire Halliday has an extensive career as a full-time writer - across book publishing, copywriting, podcasting and feature journalism - for more than 25 years. She lives in Melbourne with children, two border collies and a grumpy Burmese cat. Contact: claire.halliday[at]