First published 14 December 2020

To say 2020 has been a challenging year would be an understatement. Not only have alumni been impacted, both personally and professionally, but organisations, including QUT, have had to be innovative and agile in embracing new ways to engage with their communities.

Regular programming and events went on hold, but a range of new and inclusive ways of connecting emerged, with many alumni participating in online networking events for the first time.

This year we launched the Real World Wisdom program - a series of alumni-hosted webinars to help final year students and recent graduates prepare for and succeed in a challenging work environment. We also trialled a series of Virtual Social Hours for alumni living in North America and the United Kingdom. These online catch-ups allowed alumni living overseas to connect with not only each other but also their Australian community. Both the Real World Wisdom series and Virtual Social Hours will return and expand in 2021.

Another highlight was the Outstanding Alumni Awards, one of few events that were able to proceed in 2020. While the awards event itself was smaller this year to comply with COVID-safe practices, a live stream allowed alumni and their families to participate from afar. An Alumni Board initiative, these awards continue to recognise and celebrate the amazing talent and achievements of our diverse global alumni community. We’re proud to celebrate this year’s recipients, including 2020 Alumnus of the Year and Indigenous Alumnus of the Year, His Honour Judge Nathan Jarro; and Alumni Service Award winners, Heather and Peter Howes.

Alumni have continued to support other programs at QUT as well. Many of you have volunteered as mentors, online event hosts and panel members, and provided valuable work placements and opportunities for current students. Alumni have also contributed their expertise on real world topics to QCommunity. And you rallied behind a call to action to support students directly impacted by COVID-19 through the Emergency Student Fund. View more highlights from 2020 here.

2020 would have been a full election year for the Alumni Board, with alumni invited to nominate for positions. However, proposed changes to QUT Council and the significant impact of this year’s events on the university have necessitated the extension of committee terms until late 2021. The Alumni Board will provide an update on these developments in 2021.  

On behalf of the Alumni Board, I would like to acknowledge the contribution, impact and continued support of alumni to QUT. The alumni community embodies QUT’s real world ethos, and it continues to be a pleasure, and honour, to represent the interests and aspirations of our graduates around the world.


Earle Johnston
President of the Alumni Board and QUT Council Member