Academics and business leaders from the fields of finance and public health lead the list of UNSW Sydney alumni, colleagues, former colleagues and community members recognised in this year’s Australia Day honours.

Professor John Piggott, Scientia Professor of Economics at UNSW Business School and Director of the ARC Centre of Excellence in Population Ageing Research (CEPAR), has been made an Officer of the Order of Australia (AO) “for distinguished service to education, to population ageing research, and to public finance policy development”. The award recognises Professor Piggott’s outstanding contribution to retirement and pension economics and finance. He has been widely published in more than 100 journals and books, advised the World Bank, and significantly contributed to government policy in Australia and internationally. In 2019, Professor Piggott co-chaired the Think20 Task Force recommending definite steps G20 countries should take to address the challenges posed by ageing populations.

Professor Alison Ritter, Director of the Drug Policy Modelling Program at UNSW’s Social Policy Research Centre, has been appointed as an Officer of the Order of Australia (AO) “for distinguished service to education, to drug and alcohol research and social policy, and to professional medical societies”. An internationally recognised drug policy scholar, Professor Ritter has contributed significant policy and practice developments across alcohol and drug policy over many years. She is a National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) Senior Research Fellow leading a multi-disciplinary program of research on drug policy. The goal of her work is to advance drug policy through improving the evidence-base, translating research and studying policy processes. 

Mr Matthew Grounds, former Chief Executive Officer and Country Head of UBS Australasia, has been appointed as a Member of the Order of Australia (AM) “for significant service to the financial investment sector, and to the community”. Mr Grounds is a UNSW Law and Business alumnus with a long association with the University. He is a member of the UNSW Council and the UNSW Business School Advisory Council, helping carry out the University’s vision of being one of the leading research-intensive universities in the world. With more than 25 years of investment banking experience, Mr Grounds is one of Australia’s leading corporate advisers and has been responsible for a number of landmark transactions for major Australian and international companies.

UNSW President and Vice-Chancellor Professor Ian Jacobs said: “Congratulations to our honourees recognised for their contribution to the community and Australia.

“You were nominated by your peers for constantly putting others ahead of yourself, serving tirelessly and for making a difference. Thank you for your extraordinary work and efforts to improve the lives of people in Australia and around the world.”

Other UNSW community members recognised in this year’s honours include:

Officer (AO) in the General Division of the Order of Australia

  • Professor Larissa Behrendt, UNSW Law alumna. “For distinguished service to Indigenous education and research, to the law, and to the visual and performing arts.”
  • Mr Peter Adalbert Fritz AM Research Associate, Centre of Industrial Relations, University of New South Wales, 1992-1997. “For distinguished service to business, particularly to information technology and communications, and to public policy.”
  • Dr Linley Margaret Martin, Director, Planning, University of New South Wales, 1999-2001. “For distinguished service to education, particularly to student equity, educational standards and academic administration.”

Member (AM) in the General Division of the Order of Australia

  • Dr Frank Patrick Brennan, UNSW Medicine Senior Lecturer. “For significant service to palliative medicine, and to medical education.”
  • Dr Geoffrey Michael Currie, Honorary Conjoint Associate Professor, Rural Clinical School, University of New South Wales, 2012-2017. “For significant service to nuclear medicine and medical radiation science.”
  • Dr Leoni Marilyn Degenhardt, Adjunct Senior Lecturer, University of New South Wales 2012-2017. “For significant service to education through the independent schools sector.”
  • Professor Raelene Frances, Head of School of History, 2005-2006. “For significant service to history studies as a teacher, researcher and author.”
  • Professor Martin Evald Krygier, UNSW Gordon Samuels Professor of Law and Social Theory. “For significant service to legal education, and to professional associations.”
  • Ms Catherine Ludo McFerran, Former UNSW National Manager, Safe at Home, Safe at Work Project. “For significant service to women and children, and to social justice.” 
  • Dr John William Orchard, Senior Lecturer, University of New South Wales, 2000-2014. “For significant service to sports medicine, particularly to cricket.”
  • Professor Laura Poole-Warren, UNSW Professor of Biomedical Engineering; Pro Vice-Chancellor, Research Training, 2013-2018; Dean of Graduate Research, 2010-2018; Associate Dean Research Training and Associate Dean Research in the Faculty of Engineering, 2005-2009. “For significant service to education, and to biomedical engineering.”
  • Ms Robyn Margaret Sexton, UNSW Law alumna and retired Family Law Chief Judge Robyn Sexton. “For significant service to the law, and to the judiciary.”
  • Professor Kenneth Thomas Trotman, UNSW Scientia Professor of Accounting and AGSM Scholar. “For significant service to education, particularly to accounting.”

Medal (OAM) of the Order of Australia in the General Division

  • Dr Ian Melvyn Chung, Lecturer, Department of Community Medicine, University of New South Wales, 1981-1989. “For service to the law, to medicine, and to the community.”
  • Rabbi Dr Jeffrey Cohen, Senior Visiting Research Fellow, School of Public Health and Community Medicine, University of New South Wales, 2002-2014. “For service to community health, and to interfaith organisations.”
  • Ms Jennifer Christine Doubell, Director, Development and External Affairs, AGSM, University of New South Wales, 1990-2000. “For service to the community through charitable organisations.”
  • Dr Antony Robert Graham, UNSW Medicine Conjoint Associate Professor and St Vincent's Private Hospital Visiting Transplant and Vascular Surgeon. “For service to medicine as a vascular surgeon.”
  • Dr Liang Joo Leow, Conjoint Senior Lecturer, current; Research Supervisor, Department of Clinical Pharmacology and Toxicology, St Vincent's Hospital and School of Medical Sciences, University of New South Wales, since 2018. “For service to medicine, and to the community.”
  • Dr Gunvantrai Premji Naker, Part-time Clinical Tutor, University of New South Wales, 2003-2006; GP Preceptor for Medical undergraduates, University of New South Wales. “For service to the international community, and to medicine.”
  • Ms Elizabeth Nield, Director, Development, UNSW Foundation, 2012-2014. “For service to the performing and visual arts.”
  • Dr Christopher John Quinn, Range of roles, University of New South Wales, 1968-2001. “For service to research science in the field of plant systemics.”
  • Mr Kerry A Robinson, Member, Industry Advisory Panel, City Futures Research Centre, University of New South Wales, since 2016. “For service to local government, and to town planning.”

UNSW congratulates all the members of its community who received 2020 Australia Day Honours.

The full lists of recipients are available at the website of the Governor-General.

A list of UNSW alumni who received Australia Day Honours in 2020 is available. This list will be updated.

Julia Jones