A Thank You dinner held at the Newcastle Club on December 8 marked the end of an era for HMRI as director Maree Gleeson stepped down from the post she has held over the past five years.
At an earlier Board meeting the University of Newcastle Council conferred upon Maree the status of Emeritus Professor.
As HMRI positions itself for future international collaboration efforts, Professor Michael Nilsson fromSweden has been appointed the incoming director.
He is due to begin in March 2012.
Emeritus Professor Peter Dunkley is serving as interim director. He was the Foundation Head of The School of Biomedical Sciences at The University of Newcastle and Pro Vice-Chancellor of the Health Faculty until retiring 18 months ago.
Peter, who has previously served HMRI as a board member, oversaw the construction of the university’s Life Sciences building and has a wealth of research experience.
Maree Gleeson devoted many hours to the role and adopted a hands-on approach, whether it be talking about pilot research projects, scripting profile pages for Government tenders, or overseeing every nuance of the new HMRI building.
“At the recent HMRI Awards Night I presented Maree with an arrangement of native flowers and it was greeted with a spontaneous standing ovation from the 280 people in the room,” HMRI Chairman Bob Kennedy said.
“These were Maree’s peers, politicians and supporters … all applauding the tremendous job she has done over the past five years.”
Maree was named Hunter Business Chamber’s Businessperson of the Year Award for 2011, highlighting the fact she has helped increase HMRI’s corporate profile in the region.
Another award that meant a lot to Maree and her family this year was her OAM, which spoke of her commitment to pathology and research over the course of more than three decades.
On her final day at HMRI Maree helped launch the SCORES program with the Newcastle Jets and collected a $14,000 cheque from the Rotary Club’s recent Newcastle to Dungog bike ride.