The Awards Ceremony of the Australian School of Business is a highlight of the School calendar. This year's event on June 9 attracted over 350 guests, including outstanding students, their families and friends, alumni, academic staff and valued donors.
This ceremony brings together the entire School community: including students from undergraduate, postgraduate, (including AGSM MBA) and research programs.
Thanks to the generosity of the donors and sponsors, many of whom are alumni of the School, a record number of awards were presented this year. Over two hundred awards were presented and guests heard from a number of former scholarship winners, including Master of Ceremonies, David Lam, who spoke of the tremendous difference financial support made to his study. Hamish Barnet, Leighton Holdings Rural scholarship winner, spoke of the impact his award made, enabling him to leave the family farm near Armidale to study at the School and live on campus in Sydney. It was an opportunity he knew his parents could not afford to give him.
Guest speaker, Sandra Birkensleigh, Partner, PricewaterhouseCoopers and alumni leader of the School spoke eloquently of the challenges of being a single mother, obtaining a Commerce degree at a mature age and within twelve years achieving partner at PwC. There were many personal hurdles that arose unexpectedly over those years and Sandra spoke of these challenges with great emotion and honesty and of how these experiences shaped her attitude about life and work.
"I had learnt 3 very powerful lessons and these have framed my choices and actions ever since – 1) you are a long time dead; 2) without family we are nothing; 3) what is the worst that can happen? I have used these lessons both to keep me focused but also to help others get some clarity around life and their careers." Guests found Sandra's speech both inspiring and courageous.
Alec Cameron, Dean of the Australian School of Business outlined the importance of ensuring that students can achieve their academic and career goals regardless of economic, social, cultural and other barriers. He added "the School takes seriously its obligation to prepare its students as socially responsible global citizens who are conscious of the social impacts of their decisions."
In conclusion, Professor Cameron said he was proud of the achievements of the students and thanked the academic staff for their significant contribution in teaching and developing these future leaders.
The full list of 2010 prize winners has been published.