Coveted Prize for best in Actuarial Studies

Wednesday, 24 April 2013  Features

It's no exaggeration to say that William Wolfenden's passion for photography can be traced back to extraterrestrial intervention.

Inspired by just having seen the 1977 Sci-Fi blockbuster Star Wars, it didn't take long for the then nine-year-old to busy himself taking shots of his own Star Wars models with an old Pentax 35mm - then developing them in a makeshift darkroom at home.

"I set up the models with pictures of moons in the background, set up lights, took photos and learned to process and develop the film, use the enlarger, and had great fun," Wolfenden recalls. "It was just great to create something in an imaginary kind of world. From that point on photography always fascinated me."

Fast-forward to the present, and Wolfenden is Creative Director of Seawolf Productions - an independent video, multimedia and photography company.

Also armed with an accountancy and finance background that preceded his foray into professional filmmaking, he's also the originator of the E S Wolfenden Memorial Prize for the best performance in the Actuarial Studies Honours Year (Coursework and Thesis) in the UNSW School of Risk and Actuarial. The award is presented in honour of his grandfather, Edgar Sydney Wolfenden, who was Australia's first actuary.

"I think it's really important that we reward and recognise individual achievement and encourage the pursuit of excellence," says Wolfenden. "With regards to this award, I'd like to think that its association with an Australian who rose to the top of his field and was respected greatly by industry and government can encourage recipients to adopt a similar aspiration."

Two students received the prize last year - Chung-Yu Liu and Vincent Tu.