Flinders education, research and community leaders recognised with national Honours

Flinders University has celebrated a host of 2024 Australia Day Honour recipients for trailblazing contributions to higher education, their professions and community.

Vice-Chancellor Professor Colin Stirling congratulated almost 20 staff, alumni, and associates of Flinders University who have been recognised for their outstanding achievements.

“The reputation of any institution is based on its strengths – and we are exceptionally fortunate to count our people as our greatest asset, helping cement Flinders’ global reputation for innovative education, world-class research, and enterprising graduates.”

“Whether making a difference in the lives of students, advancing understanding through research or as leaders in the community, Flinders people worldwide are changing lives and making a real and sustained impact each and every day,” Professor Stirling said.

Bachelor and Honours graduate Professor Lorraine Mazerolle AC is one of just four people nationally to receive the highest honour.

Professor Mazerolle was appointed a Companion of the Order of Australia, for her eminent service to education, to the social sciences as a criminologist and researcher, and to the development of innovative, evidence-based policing reforms.

“I look back on my years at Flinders University with enormous gratitude,” Professor Mazerolle said.

“I loved the applied nature of what I was studying and it springboarded me into my first job. I also want to acknowledge my Honours supervisor from Flinders — Professor Sharyn Roach Anleu. Sharyn was instrumental in shaping my career, encouraging me to study in the US and she remains my friend and colleague to this day.

“I am delighted my work in criminology is being recognised by my alma mater.”

Professor Lorraine Mazerolle AC.

Women’s and gender studies researcher Associate Professor Barbara Baird AM has been appointed a Member of the Order of Australia for her significant contribution to improving abortion care and tertiary education.

Also appointed a Member of the Order of Australia for her work in this field is nursing educator Brigid Coombe AM, recognised for her service to community health, particularly through advocacy to improve abortion care access.

Associate Professor Barbara Baird AM and Brigid Coombe AM.

Pivotal in establishing the SA Abortion Action Coalition, and as a leader in the 2021 campaign to decriminalise abortion in South Australia, Associate Professor Baird said the award shines a light on the importance of community-based activism.

“I am proud to be part of a long tradition of feminist scholars who have used our academic expertise and authority to advocate for progressive change,” she said.

“Recognition of the possibilities of progressive change led from the community emboldens us all.

“My PhD began an academic research career focused significantly on abortion and other issues related to the politics of sexuality and reproduction. It is very rewarding to know that my research into the history and politics of abortion in Australia can make a significant contribution to reproductive justice.

“Abortion is ideally a straightforward and necessary part of reproductive health care which is all too often made controversial. Receiving an award for my research and activism is an important step in rejecting abortion stigma and recognising the ongoing important work of improving access to abortion services,” Associate Professor Baird said.

Pioneering forensic science experts Emeritus Professors Hilton Kobus AM and Leigh Burgoyne AM have also been appointed Members of the Order of Australia.

Emeritus Professor Burgoyne is recognised for significant service to science and breakthroughs in DNA technology during an illustrious career spanning more than 40 years at Flinders, driving research into the DNA nucleus of living things, and developing sophisticated DNA detection techniques.

Emeritus Professor Kobus, a former Director of Forensic Sciences SA, launched the Flinders Forensic DNA Laboratory in his role as Professor of Forensic Science until 2012 and spearheaded reviews into DNA technology in NSW.

“Being recognised by my professional peers is an honour in itself and I feel privileged to receive this award for work that I remain passionate about. I value my connection with Flinders University which began in the 1980s and my time at the university still means a lot to me,” Emeritus Professor Kobus said.

Other recipients of Australia Day Honours with connections to Flinders University include:

  • Former project mentor at the New Venture Institute John Irving AM has been appointed a Member of the Order of Australia for significant service to the arts and business.
  • Alumna and former research manager in palliative and supportive services Professor Deborah Parker AM has been appointed an Honorary Member of the Order of Australia for significant service to community health, particularly through palliative and aged care research.
  • His Honour Professor the Honourable Hugh Heggie AO PSM has been appointed an Officer of the Order of Australia for distinguished service to medicine and medical research organisations, and as Administrator of the Northern Territory.
  • Former Flinders University Director of Marketing & Communications Diané Ranck OAM has been awarded a Medal of the Order of Australia for service to community through a range of organisations.
  • A Medal of the Order of Australia has been awarded to graduate and former lecturer in the School of Medicine – Rural and Remote Dr David Squirrell OAM for service to people with disability, and to the community.
  • Alumnus Nicholas Swingler OAM has been awarded a Medal of the Order of Australia for service to Australian Rules football.
  • Public Service Medals have been awarded to alumnae Chantelle Stratford PSM, Jenny Priest PSM and Dr Allison Crook PSM
  • Australian Fire Service Medals have been awarded to alumni Dylan Faber AFSM and Peter Reynolds AFSM
  • Alumnus Dr Yilma Woldgabreal ACM has been awarded an Australian Corrections Medal
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