A senior Griffith University executive and noted scientist and a distinguished education leader are among the many honoured in the 2024 Australia Day Honours List.

Professor Neal Menzies, Pro Vice Chancellor (Sciences) and Professor Donna Pendergast (AEL) have been acknowledged with a Member of the Order of Australia (AM) award.

Professor Menzies, who moved to Griffith in 2022 after 25 years at University of Queensland, is an acclaimed soil and environmental scientist. He received his award for significant service to science and to tertiary education.

A former Vice-President of the International Union of Soil Science, and Past President of the Australian Council of Deans of Agriculture, Professor Menzies called the award a great honour.

Professor Neal Menzies AM addressing a soil science conference in 2022

“When I consider the achievements of typical awardees, it is wonderful that my involvements are considered to have had comparable impact.

“There’s also the feeling of discomfort for being recognised as an individual for achievements that invariably are of a group working closely together.  As a scientist, I work on environmental and agricultural problems that are incredibly complex, and hence require a team of multiple discipline specialists working together to achieve a pragmatic and adoptable solution.”

Professor Menzies said he’s most proud of his achievements as an educator, teaching PhD candidates and first year students about the need to understand their physical environment and the impact of humans on the environment, and the role that they can play in determining our planet’s future.

“I frequently encounter people outside the university say things like – ‘You lectured me in first year – I still think about some of the things we talked about’. This makes it all worthwhile.”

A leader in teacher education and acknowledged as one of the architects of Australia’s middle years’ education reforms around the nation, Professor Donna Pendergast received her Member of the Order of Australia (AM) award for services to tertiary education.

The Head and Dean of the School of Education and Professional Studies (2009-2023), Professor Pendergast joined Griffith after a two-decade teaching and research career at the University of Queensland and Queensland University of Technology.

A long-term member and Vice-President of the The Australian Council of Deans of Education and Chairperson of the Queensland Council of Deans of Education, Professor Pendergast began her role as Director (Engagement) in the Arts Education Law (AEL) Group in 2023 but remains at the forefront of teacher education as well as being actively involved in school reform and research and professional development work with teachers, especially those working in the middle years and with disengaged learners. She is Board Director for the Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership and chairs the Teacher Education Expert Panel, shaping strategic policy nationally.

“Education changes lives and teacher education has been my career passion. I am humbled to be recognised for my contributions but this is truly a reflection of the collective efforts and support I have received from my family, friends, colleagues, mentors and the community. It is an acknowledgment of the value of education in our community and the power it has to shape a better future,” Professor Pendergast said.

In conjunction with the Australia Day awards, the Prime Minister announced the recipients of the Australian of the Year categories with Griffith alumnus and champion swimmer Emma McKeon AM named Young Australian of the Year.

The most decorated Australian Olympian of all time, Emma is currently part of the Griffith Swimming Team headed by coach Michael Bohl and will compete at the upcoming Olympic and Paralympic Games in Paris.

Emma was part of Griffith Sports College while studying for her Bachelor of Public Health at our Gold Coast campus where she graduated in 2021.

Professor Donna Pendergast AM

The full list of Griffith community awardees:

Companion of the Order of Australia (AC) Professor Lorraine Mazerolle (School of Criminology and Criminal Justice 2000-2009)

For eminent service to education, to the social sciences as a criminologist and researcher, and to the development of innovative, evidence-based policing reforms. 

Member of the Order of Australia (AM)Dr Jennifer Cullen (DUniv Griffith University 2019, Adjunct Associate Professor, Menzies Health Institute Queensland since 2018). 

For significant service to people with disability, and to the community through a range of roles. 

Dr Jennifer Cullen AM receiving her DUniv in 2019 with Vice Chancellor and President Professor Carolyn Evans and former Chancellor Henry Smerdon

Member of the Order of Australia (AM) Loreta Fin (Tutor and Conductor, State Honours Ensembles Program, Southeast and Regional Queensland, Queensland Conservatorium of Music)

For significant service to music, to education, and to professional associations. 

Member of the Order of Australia (AM)Professor Anna Haebich (Research Intensive Professor, Foundation Director of the Centre for Public Culture and Ideas, Leader, Griffith Research Program “Creative for Life”, Griffith University Orbicom UNESCO Chair)

For significant service to literature as an author, historian and academic. 

Member of the Order of Australia (AM)Professor Neal Menzies (Pro Vice Chanceller Griffith Sciences)

For significant service to science, and to tertiary education.

Member of the Order of Australia (AM)Professor Brett Mitchell (Adjunct Associate Professor, School of Nursing & Midwifery 2016-2018)

For significant service to nursing, particularly infection prevention and control. 

Member of the Order of Australia (AM)Professor Donna Pendergast (Director, Engagement AEL)

For significant service to tertiary education. 

Member of the Order of Australia (AM) – Adrian Carson (GCert Health Services Management)

For significant service to Indigenous health through research and development programs.

Member of the Order of Australia (AM) – Emeritus Professor Ross Harley – (BA Humanities, BA Arts Hons 1982)

For significant service to tertiary education, and to the arts through a range of roles.

Member of the Order of Australia (AM) – Dr Vicki Flenady (PhD Epidemiology of Stillbirth 2006-2011)

For significant service to medical research, particularly in the field of perinatal mortality.

Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM)Aunty Joan (Kathleen) Marshall (Adjunct Associate Professor, Menzies Health Institute Queensland) 

For significant services to the community.

Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM) – Richard Persse (GCert Public Administration 1997)

For significant service to public administration, and to the community of South Australia.

Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM)Belinda Adams (Co-Founder, Ballet for Brain Injury, with The Hopkins Centre, Queensland Conservatorium Research Centre, Ambassador and Panel Member, The Hopkins Centre: Research for Rehabilitation and Resilience, since 2019, Adjunct Research fellow (2019-2021)

For service to community health. 

Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM)Laraine Brennan (Rotary Secretary, Malaria Vaccine Project Committee, Griffith University since 2017).

For service to the community through a range of roles.

Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM)Dr Paul Browning (Advisory Board Member, Department of Business Strategy and Innovation, Griffith Business School since 2021)

For service to education. 

Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM)Donisha Duff (Outstanding First Peoples Alumnus – AEL 2018). 

For service to the community through a range of organisations. 

Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM)Brian Short (Adjunct Professor,  School of Education & Professional Studies 2014-2022)

For service to secondary education.  

Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM)Rev. Dr John Tyman (Associate Professor of Social Education 1976-1990)

For service to cultural and religious education.

Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM)Dr Margaret Ward PSM (Postdoctoral Research Fellow, School of Human Services & Social Work 2014-2018)

For service to the building industry.

Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM) Peta Jamieson (M Environmental Management 1997)

For Service to community health and to business

Public Service Medal (PSM)Chantelle Stratford (MA Public Sector Leadership 2015)

For outstanding public service in leadership and innovation in gender equality and women’s policy within the Australian Government.

Emergency Services Medal (ESM)Andrew McNeilly (B Informatics 1994)

Emergency Services Medal (ESM) – Colin Neil OAM (B Commerce 1984)

Australian Police Medal (APM)Sergeant Lesley Walker (MSc Forensic Science 2008)