Exceptional Service recipients, from left, Professor Mike Calford, Emeritus Professor Maree Gleeson, Richard Anicich, Sonia Walkom and Bob Kennedy.
Hunter business identities, researchers and academics who have supported the Hunter Medical Research Institute (HMRI) beyond the call of duty were recognised at an Exceptional Service presentation on Tuesday night.
HMRI Board Chair Glenn Turner said sustained contributions by the seven recipients had helped put HMRI on the map as one of Australia’s leading health and medical research institutes.
“The recipients come from a variety of backgrounds – research, academia, corporate, health service management, fundraising, philanthropy – and it’s this very combination of many talents and perspectives that makes HMRI such a successful organisation.
“The primary factor considered when assessing a nomination is whether the nominee has made a sustained contribution to HMRI that exceeds the ordinary expectations of their relationships with HMRI. Each of the recipients has certainly done that.”
Recipients of the Exceptional Service recognition were:
Richard Anicich: A member of the HMRI Foundation from 1998 to April 2013, Mr Anicich was instrumental in attracting new donors to HMRI, including the long-term association with the Sparke Helmore / NBN Triathlon. He served as Chair of the Foundation’s Strategic Funding Committee for five years.
Karen Brown: This medal was presented posthumously in honour of HMRI’s former Development Manager, who passed away in February 2013 from cancer. Mrs Brown greatly increased the funding base, with her own experience with illness affording an appreciation of the inherent value of medical research. She continued to work at HMRI through the later stages of her illness.
Michael Calford: An outstanding researcher and administrator, Professor Calford joined the HMRI Board in June 2006 following his appointment as Pro Vice-Chancellor to the Faculty of Health. His contribution to the development of the HMRI Building was also notable, helping to secure the final tranche of funding and serving on the HMRI Building Committee.
Maree Gleeson OAM: Emeritus Professor Gleeson served as HMRI Director from November 2006 to December 2011, bringing a profound understanding of the health and medical research sector to the post. She led the planning and implementation process for the landmark HMRI Building project while actively mentoring researchers on the path from early to mid-career.
Robert Kennedy: Few could have predicted the influence Mr Kennedy’s leadership would have over HMRI’s future when he was appointed Foundation Chair in 2006. One of his first tasks was to establish a Strategic Funding Committee that set ambitious fundraising targets to put HMRI on a solid growth trajectory. Then, as Chair of the HMRI Board from February 2007 to March 2013, Mr Kennedy strove towards securing HMRI Building funding.
Nicholas Saunders AO: Professor Saunders was appointed to the HMRI Board in October 2004 in his capacity as Vice-Chancellor and President of the University of Newcastle, serving until his retirement from the university in October 2011. He lent support and guidance to the implementation of a strategic marketing plan, including the facilitation of new branding protocols between HMRI and its stakeholders.
Sonia Walkom: Another inaugural member of the HMRI Foundation, dating back to January 1998, Ms Walkom has leveraged her extensive networks to increase the donor base and awareness of the institute. She also took an active involvement in the HMRI Ball, with continuous service on that committee since the first ball in March 1999.
The new recipients join Geoffrey Leonard AM, Katherine McGrath, Richard Owens OAM, Libby Rodgers-McPhee, John Rostas, Roger Smith AM, Jim Sullivan and Jennie Thomas AM on the honour list.