Professor Neal Ryan, a long-time leading figure in research, education, business and public policy in Australia, has been named Griffith Sciences’ 2015 Outstanding Alumnus of the Year.

The announcement was made at a special reception at Brisbane’s City Hall this week.

Design engineer Mr Justin Gavranich received the Young Alumnus of the Year Award.

“This year is particularly significant given it marks 40 years since the start of teaching at Griffith University,” said Pro Vice Chancellor (Griffith Sciences) Professor Debra Henly.

“Since then, our graduates have built enviable reputations across many fields and they continue to do extraordinary things all over the world. Griffith Sciences is honoured to recognise and celebrate the careers of our alumni.”

A former Pro Vice Chancellor (Research) at Southern Cross University, Professor Ryan was a member of Griffith’s original student cohort at the Nathan campus and his connection to the University spans from 1975-93. He completed a Bachelor of Science (Physical Mathematics), Master of Science (Science, Technology and Society), Master of Philosophy (Science Policy) and Doctor of Philosophy (Public Policy).

Young Alumnus and Outstanding Alumnus nominees, from left, Ms Naomi Edwards, Ms Nerida Horner, Professor Neal Ryan, Mr Justin Gavranich, Ms Sarah Marsanich, with Professor Debra Henly

Young Alumnus and Outstanding Alumnus nominees, from left, Ms Naomi Edwards, Ms Nerida Horner, Professor Neal Ryan, Mr Justin Gavranich, Ms Sarah Marsanich, with Professor Debra Henly. Absent: Dr Jay Gambetta

In a diverse professional career, Professor Ryan’s roles have included:

  • Dean of the Faculty of Business and Law at Southern Cross University, and head of the School of Management at Queensland University of Technology.
  • a director of the Asset Institute, which connects service providers and assists organisations with the world’s leading researchers in asset management, and a board member at Intersect, which delivers professional Information Technology services, develops eResearch tools and services, and provides common IT infrastructure and leverage funding opportunities;
  • a board member of Connecting Southern Gold Coast, and executive board member of the Swiss-based International Research Society for Public Management.

Professor Ryan is an Adjunct Professor in the Curtin University Sustainability Policy Institute and is an executive advisor for East West Investments Pty Ltd, a Sydney company which raises capital and provides finance for creation, ownership, production, distribution and merchandising of films, and related products.

He is also a board member for the Dromey Foundation, helping to facilitate industry-focused applied academic research to advance and improve IT systems.

Professor Ryan said he was humbled to receive the Outstanding Alumnus of the Year Award.

“This is especially so knowing the quality of the science graduates from my time at Griffith as well as all those to have followed,” he said.

“Griffith had a particular appeal for me when I came as part of the first student cohort. In confronting real issues of the contemporary world and creating programs that reflected a truly modern approach, Griffith offered a different and exciting kind of education.”

Young Alumnus of the Year Mr Justin Gavranich graduated from Griffith University with a Bachelor of Engineering with First Class Honours in Electronic Engineering, Electrical and Electronics Engineering.

Since 2011, he has been a design engineer and certification engineer with Queensland company Connexa, which specialises in mining technology and electronics particularly as they relate to hazardous areas in the mining industry.

“I was a very committed student. I knew what I wanted to do and what I needed to do to achieve my goals. The quality of the lecturers and the facilities, in fact the whole Griffith experience, was ideal for me and I thrived,” said Justin.

The award caps a stellar month for Justin, one of only two Australian representatives selected for the International Electrotechnical Commission Young Professionals Program 2015.

The program brings together some of the world’s most promising young engineers involved in standardisation and conformity assessment of electrical, electronic and related technologies.

Justin will attend the IEC 79thGeneral Meeting in Minsk, Belarus in October.

Griffith Sciences will conduct a range of demonstrations, displays and information sessions at Griffith University’s Open Day at Nathan and South Bank on Sunday, August 9. For more information, go to Griffith Open Day