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Campus News : December 2010
6 Campus News December 2010 University of Wollongong www.uow.edu.au Thai Princess tours research institute Chancellor celebrates community connections More than 200 of the University's volunteers celebrated their contributions to UOW and the wider community at the annual Chancellor's Awards in October. Chancellor Jillian Broadbent hosted the awards to recognise voluntary service by community members and graduates of the University. Volunteers were recognised in two categories -- voluntary contribution to the University and voluntary contribution to the community. Murray Reid and Mike Archer received the two University awards and Susan Young and Estrella McKinnon won awards for their contribution to the community. Mr Reid, an accountant, was a founding director of the University Aquatic and Recreation Centre (URAC) and for the past 12 years has provided expert financial advice and considerable time to the organisation. Mr Archer, who is Public Affairs Manager at BlueScope Steel, has contributed to the University though his membership of the Community Engagement Committee, the Community Reference Group and various working groups which have been brought together to address strategic issues. Ms Young is a bilateral cochlear recipient who is currently undertaking a Masters in Health Management and Leadership at UOW. In 2008 Sue implemented a regional Cochlear Implant Support Group in the Illawarra. The network has now grown into the Cochlear Implant Club and Advisory Association which meets bi-monthly. Ms McKinnon's voluntary work in the Illawarra community has spanned a 30 year period, promoting justice and equity for migrant groups. Her primary roles have included being a Justice of the Peace available to the migrant community, chief consultant for the Illawarra Filipino and Multicultural Women's Group (IFMWG) and chairperson of Illawarra Multicultural Services. As well as recognising the four award winners, the night celebrated with volunteers from all over the campus community. Ms Broadbent said community involvement was a key part of the University's strategic plan. She gave the example of how volunteers help with training student doctors at the Graduate School of Medicine. "We've had 140 volunteer patients who have been an important part of teaching those young doctors to have experience in the medical profession," she said. Ms Broadbent also said she was pleased to have the awards named as the Chancellor's Awards, and that the University deeply valued its partnerships in the community. KM Chancellor Jillian Broadbent (centre) with community award recipients (from left) Murray Reid, Sue Young, Estrella McKinnon and Mike Archer. Her Royal Highness Princess Soamsawali of Thailand visited the University of Wollongong in September to meet with Thai students and tour the Illawarra Health and Medical Research Institute (IHMRI). Her Royal Highness was in Australia to formally sign an agreement between NSW Health, Bangkok Metropolitan Administration, the South Eastern Sydney Illawarra Area Health Service and the Thai Red Cross Society that looks at the reduction of HIV and injecting drug use. Princess Soamsawali has a strong interest in health research -- especially in the area of children's health -- and visited IHMRI to see research in this area. Professor Linda Tapsell spoke to the Princess about her clinical trials in nutrition and Associate Professor Tony Okely and a group of school students demonstrated exercise and activities that are part of his research into preventing childhood obesity. During a welcome morning tea at the start of the Royal visit, Vice-Chancellor Professor Gerard Sutton said the University was honoured to host Princess Soamsawali's visit. "The fact that we have our two flags here today reflects the relationship of the University of Wollongong with your community," he told the Princess."Thais and Australians have a lot in common and what cements that is events like this one." UOW has a long-standing history of formal and informal collaboration with universities in Thailand and has consistently attracted more Thai students than any other Australian university. There are around 300 Thai students currently studying at UOW -- one of the largest international student cohorts. Included among the current students are a number of Thai government-sponsored PhD scholars. Around 50 students from the UOW Thai Society and alumni met Her Royal Highness as part of her visit. PhD student Thidarat Thongdang helped to greet the princess on her arrival along with her daughter Maeneechanok who presented Princess Soamsowali with flowers. As well as student and teaching links, the University has strong links with the Thai Royal family. In November 2002 His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej accepted the University's highest award of Doctor of the University in recognition of his leadership in Thailand and the world community. Professor Her Royal Highness Princess Chulabhorn Mahidol also received an Honorary Doctor of Science in 1999. Her Royal Highness Princess Soamsawali was accompanied by the Royal Thai Ambassador His Excellency Dr Kriangsak Kittichaisaree and Thai Consul General Mr Kiattikhun Chartprasert. Also joining her were a number of important guests and an entourage including members of the Thai national press and television news. KM PhD student Thidarat Thongdong and her daughter Maeneechanok Thongdang welcomed Her Royal Highness Princess Soamsawali of Thailand to the University of Wollongong with a bouquet of flowers.