Flinders Birthday Honours

roger-sextonA Flinders Alumni who has made a huge contribution to the life of Flinders University has been awarded in the Queen’s Birthday Honours.

Dr Roger Sexton (pictured) is an investment banker and advises the University as a member of the Flinders University Investment Committee and the Karmel Endowment Fund advisory committee.

Dr Sexton joins Professor Sue Richardson from the Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences and Professor Malcolm Smith from Flinders School of Medicine in being appointed a Member of the Order of Australia (AM).

Two members of Flinders Clinical Effectiveness, Professor Andrew Tonkin and Professor Paddy Phillips were also honoured.

Dr Sexton’s AM has crowned a distinguished career that has included senior management positions in the private and public sectors. Dr Sexton is credited with overseeing the privatisation of public assets that helped South Australia recover from the 1991 State Bank disaster and was a founding member of South Australia’s Economic Development Board. He also served as Chief Executive of the Department of Trade and Industry.

He is currently Deputy Chairman of the financial services group IOOF Ltd., the Chairman of KeyInvest Ltd. and Chairman of the Beston Pacific Group. He is a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Company Directors, a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Management and a Senior Fellow of the Financial Securities Institute of Australia.

In the Australian honours system appointments to the Order of Australia recognise outstanding achievement and service. Dr Sexton said he was surprised and honoured by his AM, awarded for ‘service to business and to the investment banking sector as a contributor to a range of government, trade, and economic development organisations in South Australia’.

“I’ve tried to paint a broad canvas in my life and you don’t always stand back to observe the result you’ve achieved. It is nice to know that some of the paint has stuck and recognised for its impact in the community.” Dr Sexton said.

Throughout his career Dr Sexton has maintained close ties with the University where, he says, it all began.

He graduated from Flinders with a First Class Honours Degree in Economics in 1971 and holds the title of Companion of the University and a 2006 Distinguished Alumni Award.

“I have always tried to stay involved with Flinders because I wanted to give something back,” he said, “and it would be nice to see others doing similar things. I would really encourage other Alumni to contribute to the University in the final stages of their careers.”

Professor Sue Richardson from the Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences said she was “completely delighted” to receive her AM.

“It’s particularly nice when what you’ve done over your working life is judged to have value beyond your own career,” Professor Richardson said.

Professor Richardson is a Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences and spent 10 years on the Executive, including three years as President. In 2004, she was appointed as a Commissioner of the Essential Services Commission, SA and she is currently also a part-time Member of the Minimum Wage Panel of Fair Work Australia, which sets national minimum wages.

In recent years she has been a member of a number of Boards including the Council for the Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences, the National Academies Forum, the South Australian Certificate of Education, the SA Population Advisory Committee and she led a foresighting group to advise the Prime Minister’s Science, Innovation and Engineering Council.

Professor Richardson was appointed AM for ‘service to the social sciences, particularly in the field of labour market economics as an academic and researcher, and through contributions to the development of socially inclusive public policy’.

Professor Richardson said her career had given her the opportunity to engage with the full range of social sciences which “offered the power to understand human experience and the capacity to develop good public policy that improves Australian’s quality of life”.

However it was the part of the citation that mentioned ‘socially inclusive, that pleased her most.

“That’s what drives me,” she said.

“I am not particularly interested in the development of policies to make the already well-off still better off. I am much more interested in possibilities for improving the lives and experience of people who have fewer opportunities. The award suggests I may have had a little influence and that is immensely satisfying.”

This is a second AM for Professor Richardson’s family. Her twin sister Dr Joanne Wainer is a sociologist and was honoured last year for her work for women’s health.

One of Australia’s most eminent Rheumatologists, Professor Malcolm Smith was also appointed Member of the Order of Australia (AM).

Professor Smith is a Senior Lecturer in Clinical Immunology in the Flinders School of Medicine, Head of Rheumatology at Flinders Medical Centre and Senior Consultant in Rheumatology at the Repatriation General Hospital. He is also the honorary secretary of the national professional group, Australian Rheumatology Association.

Rheumatoid arthritis is the commonest form of inflammatory arthritis in the western world. It can be a devastating disease effecting most small joints in the body. There is no cure, but Professor Smith’s work has led to significant progress in understanding the pathology of the arthritis and how treatments improve patients’ symptoms as well as slowing the progression of joint damage.

Professor Smith set up the Flinders Medical Centre Arthritis Tissue Bank, in 1996. It provides a rich resource for researchers from all over the world to study the underlying pathology in a range of arthritic conditions. Using the patient’s tissue the method aims to find the best way of managing their Rheumatoid Arthritis and avoid treating them for long periods with therapies that are not working.

Professor Smith’s AM was awarded for service to medicine in the field of rheumatology as a clinician, academic and researcher, and through contributions to professional organisations.

“I feel honoured and a little humbled to receive such recognition when so many of my colleagues do equally great work. However it is pleasing that such an award will help focus attention on the importance of arthritis, the great disability that it can bring to patients but also the considerable improvements that have occurred in the last ten years in managing arthritis,” said Professor Smith.

“It will also help to inform the public about the excellent standard of research in Australian rheumatology and the need to ensure adequate support for the current and future Australian researchers in this area.”

Two members of Flinders Clinical Effectiveness in the School of Medicine were also honoured on the Queen’s birthday.

Professor Andrew Tonkin was awarded Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM) for service to medical research in the field of epidemiology and preventative medicine, and Professor Paddy Phillips received the Public Service Medal (PSM) for outstanding public service in the area of health services.

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