01 November 2021

SA Police Commissioner Grant Stevens. Photo courtesy of SAPOL

South Australia Police Commissioner Grant Stevens is among this year’s recipients of the University of South Australia Alumni Awards.

Commissioner Stevens’ role at the helm of the State’s COVID-19 emergency response was recognised at a gala dinner at UniSA’s Pridham Hall on the weekend.

The annual Alumni Awards showcase the most distinguished members of the University’s 220,000-strong global alumni community.

Rising Sun Pictures Co-Founder Wayne Lewis, Dementia Alliance International Co-Founder Kate Swaffer, and culturally informed healing organisation We Al-li chief executive officer Dr Caroline Atkinson also were honoured at this year’s awards.

UniSA Vice Chancellor Professor David Lloyd says the Alumni Awards pay tribute to the pioneers, innovators, and changemakers who have been influenced by their time at UniSA.

“The past few months have been difficult for all of us but our alumni, as always, have been an inspiration to our current students,” Professor David Lloyd says.

 “The alumni we are honouring this year have consistently excelled in their chosen fields, bringing their UniSA education to a wide range of fields and causes.”

“Knowledge, practical skills, ambition and a sense of what’s possible are vital, and our four award winners this year have made a significant difference with their commitment and determination.”

“We are extremely proud of all of them.”

Commissioner Stevens has led and delivered some of SAPOL’s most significant programs, including national outlaw motorcycle gang enforcement, specialist sexual crimes investigations, and service reform initiatives of frontline service delivery and demand management.

A business graduate, he says he feels privileged to have supported South Australia through COVID-19.

“I continue to be impressed with the South Australian community and the way they’ve accepted the restrictions we’ve had to impose on our community,” Commissioner Stevens says.

“There’s a team effort in responding in the pandemic, but that team includes the South Australian community, and they’ve played a really important role. I’m proud to be a South Australian.”

Rising Sun Pictures co-founder Wayne Lewis has overseen creative projects such as bringing Harry Potter’s Goblet of Fire to life and transforming Hugh Jackman into Wolverine.

“When I look at some of Rising Sun’s achievements, working on big films is definitely a major one, but what is more interesting is that by staying in Adelaide we created opportunities for a large number of locals and internationals to work here on globally significant projects,” Lewis says

Dementia Alliance International Chair, Co-Founder and CEO Kate Swaffer became an accidental activist after a diagnosis of a rare younger onset dementia changed her life.

Swaffer has been instrumental in DAI’s global advocacy, with the group providing 20 to 30 online support groups a week to members from 49 countries.

“To be able to empower people, not only through my lived example, but to provide free services for them through DAI – that nobody else has ever bothered to do – that’s incredibly meaningful,” Swaffer says.

We Al-li chief executive officer and social work graduate Dr Caroline Atkinson, works throughout Australia and the Asia Pacific providing sustainable pathways of positive change for individuals, families, and communities.

Her organisation has delivered more than 200 workshops to more than 6350 participants, applying Aboriginal cultural practice.

“We know that trauma is not just something that happens within the brain – it happens in your whole being” Dr Atkinson says.

“We find indigenous processes of ceremonial release seem to be the best way to heal trauma as we create safe spaces during our workshop-style yarning circles.’’

For more information about the 2021 University of South Australia Alumni Awards and the graduates honoured and their achievements, visit https://www.unisa.edu.au/connect/alumni-network/Alumni-awards-and-recognition/alumni-awards/

Media contact:

UniSA – Bronwyn Hurrell: 0427 393 656 bronwyn.hurrell@unisa.edu.au

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