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Campus News : December 2010
12 Campus News December 2010 University of Wollongong www.uow.edu.au IN MEMORIAM KEITH PHIPPS Fellow of the University, former University Council member and foundation chair of the Alumni Association and its campus chapter Keith Phipps died suddenly in November. Alumni Relations Manager Amy Merlo paid tribute to Mr Phipps as a long-standing friend of the University, who had made a considerable contribution over many years. "Keith was a tireless ambassador and a true believer in the difference an education can make to one's life. Keith shared his passion, professionalism and caring nature with the people around him every day. He will be greatly missed by the UOW alumni community," Ms Merlo said. Mr Phipps enrolled in a Bachelor of Arts and Diploma of Education in 1974, the year before the University gained its autonomy from the University of NSW. After his graduation he became the founder and Radio lecturer Siobhan McHugh won a gold medal in her category in the 2010 New York Radio Awards. The prestigious awards -- now in their 53rd year -- attract entries from radio stations, networks and independent producers from over 30 countries and are judged by a panel of international industry experts. Winners were announced in September in the United States and Siobhan said she was "utterly gobsmacked and delighted" to learn that she had been awarded a gold and bronze medal across the two categories (Religion and History) she had entered for her documentary on mixed marriages in Australia. The documentary, called Marrying Out and developed in conjunction with ABC's Radio National and broadcast last October, took more than three years to complete. Ms McHugh spent time gathering compelling personal stories of mixed marriage from the 1920s to the 1960s as part of her Doctor of Creative Arts at UOW. A recalcitrant Irish Catholic, she wanted to explore a time when Australia was polarised between Protestants and Catholics. Ms McHugh said winning in the religion and history categories at the New York Radio Awards confirmed the importance of radio as an outlet for oral history -- which is the broader subject of her doctoral research. "And it's great to know that the intimacy of oral history Radio lecturer wins gold in New York has such universal meaning that these foundational stories of Australian history can be appreciated by an international audience," she said. "I found this earlier this year in Iran, when I gave a keynote address at a radio festival there on my documentary about building the Snowy Mountains Scheme. Iranians loved stories of migrants from war-torn Europe overcoming past political enmity in the isolation of the Australian bush. People are the same the world over, when it comes to emotional journeys." Ms McHugh said that her winning documentary Marrying Out showed an important part of Australian history because Irish Catholics were Australia's first ethnic minority, comprising about a quarter of the population. She said until large-scale immigration after WWII, non- Indigenous Australia basically consisted of Catholics and Protestants. "For a Protestant to marry a Catholic, it was a come- down, crossing a line. For a Catholic to marry a Protestant it was a sell-out, a betrayal of the tribe," she said. "For many families, marrying 'out' was seen as consorting with the enemy, so great was the antipathy." Although the Catholic/Protestant divide is not as prominent an issue in today's society, Ms McHugh says bigotry and prejudice remain but are now directed at different religious and ethnic groups. "The issues around Catholic-Protestant religion were not about religion, but about identity - about a minority group first chair of the Graduates Group of the Friends of the University. He was a member of the Friends Board and foundation chair of the Alumni Association. He also chaired the Campus Alumni Chapter from 2005 to 2010. One of his greatest interests was the chapter's second-hand book shop, where he volunteered every week. Over the years the book shop has raised $165,000 to assist students through scholarships and prizes. Mr Phipps was a member of the University Council for 10 years until 1997. He was thus involved in setting the direction of the University during a period of considerable change and development. He is credited with bringing to the Council a fine eye for detail and great sense of responsibility, as well as his experience as an educationalist (as a principal in the TAFE system). Mr Phipps' commitment to the University was matched by his community service. He was an alderman on Wollongong City Council for 11 years, and became Deputy Lord Mayor in 1989. He was also the foundation chairman of the Illawarra Performing Arts Centre. In 1995 he was awarded the Medal of the Order of Australia for services to local government, the community and the arts. The University extends its sympathy to Keith's wife Joan and the Phipps family. NH DR ERNIE KOKOT Long-serving UOW Chemistry academic Dr Ernie Kokot died in September. Dr Kokot had been a popular member of staff after joining the University staff in the 1960s while his wife Nadia, a celebrated concert pianist, was an active member of the Friends of the University organisation for many years. Senior lecturer Dr Garry Mockler, who had worked with Dr Kokot, attended his funeral and provided these observations: In some ways attending Ernie Kokot's funeral last Friday afternoon was like looking into the university's past. Former departmental secretaries Beatrice Henderson (1960s) and the legendary Meg Whitton (1970s) were present as well as former departmental graduates Ted and Ann Boge. Former university administrator Ian Lowe was there as was Science Centre Director Glen Moore. Former members of our technical staff Chris Dixon and Peter Pavlik were present as well as present members of staff John Korth and John Bremner . Ernie's sons Serge (also a chemistry academic) and Michael delivered emotional eulogies about Ernie covering his early life in Poland to his later fight with Alzheimer's Disease. The University extends its sympathy to Nadia and the Kokot family. Three members of UOW's Creative Writing Program in the Faculty of Creative Arts have had their work included in the 'Best Australian' anthologies for 2010. Bonny Cassidy, a casual staff member in Creative Writing and Adam Formosa, a second-year Creative Writing student, have had their poems Dead Finish and The Sparrow included in Best Australian Poems 2010. Creative Writing lecturer Dr Joshua Lobb has had his story I forgot my programme so I went to get it back or 101 Reasons included in Best Australian Stories 2010. The prestigious anthologies, now in their 10th year, have included works from luminaries such as Judith Beverage, Robert Drewe, Kate Grenville, Clive James, David Malouf, Les Murray, Frank Moorhouse, Dorothy Porter and Mandy Sayer. The anthologies are published by Black Inc and are available from most bookstores. BG challenging the power of the establishment," she said. "Australian Muslims are now demonised in much the same way that Irish Catholics once were -- seen as untrustworthy, strange, 'other'. To understand the hostility towards them we need to know our history." Audio and transcripts of the two-part documentary can be found on ABC Radio National's website. KM Works included in 'Best Australian' anthologies Keith Phipps UOW Faculty of Creative Arts lecturer Siobhan McHugh won a gold medal in her category in the 2010 New York Radio Awards.