A Commerce graduate who left banking to teach former child soldiers, Australia’s 1991 World Cup-winning rugby union coach and a doctor caring for homeless women and children were among those honoured at the annual UNSW Alumni Awards.
The awards celebrate former students in arts and design, science, business, and community service who have gone on to lead remarkable careers and make outstanding contributions to the community.
Corrin Varady, joint winner of the Young Alumni Award, founded the World Youth Education Trust – a charity for the education of former child soldiers and disadvantaged youth in East Africa.
Accepting the award on his son’s behalf, Dr Miklos Varady said Corrin had been passionate from a young age about making his mark and leaving the world a better place.
He was inspired to start WYET after traveling to Tanzania and Uganda to teach HIV orphans and disadvantaged children during his university studies.
“He gave up his career in investment banking .. to do something worthwhile in the world,” Chancellor David Gonski told about 120 guests assembled for last week’s ceremony at Alumni Park.
WYET now supports the education of more than 600 children a year and has expanded academic, arts and sports programs throughout northern Uganda. The Trust has established a primary school in Tanzania and is creating a gifted-and-talented school.
Varady shared his award with James Hoa Phuc Nguyen, legal counsel at Rabobank, who pioneered an annual fundraising dinner to provide law scholarships to disadvantaged students from Sydney’s Southwest.
Bronwyn Gould won the Medicine and Health Award for 35 years working with vulnerable young people, including on-site medical care for homeless women and children at Lou’s Place in Darlinghurst.
Also in the health space was Aspen Medical co-founder and executive Glenn Keys, who received the Business and Innovation Award.
Through his philanthropic foundation, Keys donates a significant proportion of the global healthcare firm’s profits to charity. He also founded and chairs Project Independence, a housing program for people with intellectual disabilities.
Luca Belgiorno-Nettis, chair of the Sydney Biennale for 14 years and founder of political reform group the New Democracy Foundation, took out the Social Impact and Public Policy Award.
Bob Dwyer, a former national Rugby Union coach – who steered the Wallabies to victory in the 1991 World Cup – shared the award for Sports and Sports Administration with Alex Blackwell, captain of the NSW cricket team.
For a full list of the 2015 award winners, go to alumni.unsw.edu.au