Under an illuminated marquee on the lawns of Alumni Park, UNSW has celebrated the achievements of its most talented graduates. UNSW President and Vice-Chancellor Professor Ian Jacobs said it gave him “a glow of pride”  to read through the list of “exemplary” recipients from arts, science, engineering, innovation, design, medicine, law and sports.

Among the winners was Corrin Varady, who was celebrated for establishing the World Youth Education Trust – a charity to educate and rehabilitate former child soldiers.

When Varady started studying commerce at UNSW he planned on becoming an investment banker. That changed after a volunteer teaching assignment in Africa brought him into contact with former child soldiers from northern Uganda. When he asked them what they wanted more than anything, he says their response was unanimous: an education. “That experience just triggered something profound in me,” he recalls.

The trust now operates two schools, with more than 600 children – including former child soldiers – receiving support each year.

Varady shared the Young Alumni Award with James Hoa Phuc Nguyen, a legal counsel at Rabobank. Nguyen is heavily involved with UNSW Law’s Ngoc Tram Nguyen Scholarship and the faculty’s alumni network.

Nguyen initiated an annual fundraising dinner that has now raised more than $140,000 to help expand the scholarship scheme that helps disadvantaged students in south-west Sydney to study law.

For the full list of Alumni Award recipients go to alumni.unsw.edu.au.