Outstanding alumni celebrated on Foundation Day

21 JULY 2021

Outstanding alumni celebrated on Foundation Day

Recipients of the Charles Sturt University Distinguished Alumni Awards were announced today as part of the University’s Foundation Day celebrations.

  • Charles Sturt announces recipients of the University’s alumni awards
  • Distinguished Alumni Awards Program celebrates the personal and professional achievements of the University’s alumni
  • Winners were announced in six categories – Professional Achievement, Service to the Community, Professional Achievement (Research), Young Alumni, International Alumni, and Indigenous Alumni

The recipients of the Charles Sturt University Alumni Awards Program were announced today as part of the University’s Foundation Day celebrations.

With recipients from around the world representing the University’s outstanding and diverse alumni, the group is testament to the impact that more than 220,000 Charles Sturt graduates are making in their communities every day.

The Distinguished Alumni Awards Program aims to identify and recognise graduates making a difference in the world, either professionally or as a volunteer. The awards were developed to align with our University ethos – ‘Yindyamarra Winhanganha’ – a Wiradjuri phrase meaning the wisdom of respectfully knowing how to live well in a world worth living in.

This year, nominees were sought in six categories – Professional Achievement, Professional Achievement (Research), Service to the Community, Young Alumni, International Alumni, and Indigenous Alumni. One overall winner and one highly commended were chosen in each category.

Winners in each category:

Charles Sturt University Alumnus of the Year – Professional Achievement: Mr Robin Boniwell

Chief Superintendent Rob Boniwell graduated in 2020 with a Master of Leadership and Management (Policing and Security). He is the Director of the Queensland Fire and Emergency Services (QFES) State Operational Coordination Branch that coordinates all QFES resources during emergencies and disaster operations.

Charles Sturt University Alumnus of the Year – Professional Achievement (Research): Dr Balwinder Singh

Dr Singh completed his PhD studies in 2012 and is currently working as Research Scientist with the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT), based in Kathmandu, Nepal. Dr Singh is providing intellectual and technical leadership to priority areas including cropping systems design to build resilience, enhance profitability and permit diversification.

Charles Sturt University Alumnus of the Year – Service to the Community: Ms Devika Fernando

Devika Fernando completed her MBA and Graduate Certificate in Organisational Change at Charles Sturt University online whilst living in Sri Lanka and Australia in 2018. Devika was instrumental in bringing two breast cancer nurses from Australia to Sri Lanka to train and educate 48 nurses throughout the island’s provincial health care system, free of charge. 

Charles Sturt University Young Alumnus of the Year: Ms Tanya Hennessy

Tanya Hennessy graduated in 2007 with a Bachelor of Communications. She's an award-winning radio announcer, a celebrated and best-selling author, stand-up comedian, TV host and a social media maven.

Charles Sturt University Alumnus of the Year – International Alumni: Mr Boros Samheng

Boros Samheng graduated in 2018 with a Masters Degree in Business Management. He currently holds the position of Secretary of State within the Cambodian Ministry of Social Affairs. He is also Vice Chairman of The Executive Committee of Social Protection Council and Chairman of Social Assistance National Sub-Committee, reflecting his unwavering commitment to ensuring Cambodia's national evolution towards a fair and equitable society.

Charles Sturt University Alumnus of the Year – Indigenous Alumni: Mr Peter Matsumoto

Peter Matsumoto graduated in 2016 with a Bachelor of Health Science (Mental Health). Mr Matsumoto supports his local Indigenous community through counselling and gatherings that take place in a cultural way. He provides Cultural Awareness training to the non-Indigenous community to contribute towards building stronger understanding and connection between both the Indigenous and non-Indigenous community members.

Charles Sturt Interim Vice-Chancellor Professor John Germov said Foundation Day was the perfect time to celebrate the achievements of the University’s alumni.

“Charles Sturt University alumni are making an impact through their work, research and volunteer work, which is remarkably inspiring not only to those around them, but to the next generation of Charles Sturt graduates.

“This year’s recipients have made a significant difference, helping in a number of important fields and I want to congratulate the 2021 awardees and thank them for their contributions.”

For a full list of winners and highly commended visit the 2021 Alumni Awards web page.


Media Note:

For more information, contact Lisa Ditchfield at Charles Sturt Media on mobile 0417 125 795 or news@csu.edu.au

Images of the category winners are available here.


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