Award winner worthy of title

Mark Willacy surveys the devastation caused by the tsunami and earthquake while reporting from Fukushima, Japan last year.
Mark Willacy surveys the devastation caused by the tsunami and earthquake while reporting from Fukushima, Japan last year. Contributed

NEARLY 17 years ago Mark Willacy graduated from the University of Southern Queensland with the ambition to travel the world reporting on some of the biggest stories.

But yesterday Mr Willacy made the journey home to where it all began in Toowoomba to accept what he said was "up there with some of the highlights of his career".

The current ABC foreign correspondent was named USQ Outstanding Alumnus of the Year, beating a worthy field of contenders in the prestigious award.

"It's been a long, winding and often hair-raising road from my graduation to be here today," Mr Willacy said.

"It is truly an honour to receive this award and to be back in my hometown."

The award is just another Mr Willacy can add to his growing list of accolades which already includes twice winning Australia's most prestigious journalism prize.

In 2011, as a nominee in more categories than any other journalist, Mr Willacy took out the Walkley Award for Excellence in Journalism, Radio News and Current Affairs with his report on the devastation of the Japanese earthquake and tsunami.

He is now the bureau chief/North Asia correspondent for ABC TV and Radio, based in Tokyo.

Mr Willacy said his decision to give up on his engineering degree to follow his desire to be a journalist was a decision worth making after filing stories from more than 30 countries around the world.

"The faculty of arts really did challenge me to think," he said.

"That was where I found my intellectual home."


Other winners

Outstanding Alumnus of the Year - Mark Willacy

Faculty of Arts - Mark Willacy

Faculty of Business and Law - Atalina Enari

Faculty of Education - Dr Victoria Close

Faculty of Engineering and Surveying - Tony Brun 

Faculty of Sciences - Dr June Henry

Young Alumnus of the Year - Katrina Hobbs

International Alumnus of the Year - Khalid Al-Mabrouk Adballa

Topics:  journalist university of southern queensland

Peter Garrett's opinion on shark netting might surprise you

Minister for School Education Peter Garrett visited Leichhardt State School on Wednesday.
Photo: Rob Williams / The Queensland Times

Balance is needed... "when humans and animals find the same place"

Children under the age of 10 accused of lighting 20 fires

FIRE SPREE: The Rural Fire Service sat the fire near Tabulam was one of a string of blazes lit in recent times.

Police suspect children behind fires at Tabulam

New G'bah affordable housing units revealed

AFFORDABLE HOUSING: North Coast Community Housing's opening of Rainforest Creek was attended by NCCH Chairman John Stone and NCCH general manager Fiona McConnell.

New units will offer tenants the option to buy

Local Partners

Top 5 in entertainment this week

FULL VOICE: Dorian Mode performing the Nat 'King' Cole Tribute Show.

Here's what's happening across the Northern Rivers this week

Tom Cruise credits success to Scientology

Tom Cruise

Tom Cruise credits his success to Scientology

Hacksaw Ridge leads AACTA Awards nominations

Andrew Garfield and Teresa Palmer in a scene from the movie Hacksaw Ridge.

MEL Gibson's wartime drama opens in cinemas next week.

Top 5 events at Tropical Fruits 2016

IT'S ON: Tropical Fruits Festival over New Years.

Festival guide hits the streets this weekend

ABBA to reunite for virtual live experience


ABBA have confirmed they are to reunite - in virtual reality form

Hugh Laurie receives star on Hollywood Walk of Fame

Hugh Laurie on the Hollywood Walk of Fame

Hugh Laurie and his star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame

Tough times in CBD: Woolies says goodbye Ipswich

Woolworths in the Ipswich Mall.Photo: Rob Williams / The Queensland Times

The last day of trading will be January 1

Look at me! Kath and Kim home up for sale

Kath and Kim from the iconic Aussie TV series.

'Crack open the Baileys and grab a box of BBQ Shapes'

Hinterland horse stud passed in for $8.25 million

UNREAL: This Maleny estate is incredible.

12-bedroom hinterland horse stud still available

Hit songwriter's Noosa mansion on market

SPECIAL PLACE: The Cintamani estate is going to tender, marketed by Tom Offermann Real Estate.

Is this Queensland's best property?

Kiwi siblings snap up Dotcom mansion for $32.5m

The new toy company owners of the Coatesville mansion want replace any controversy with positivity and fun. Photo / Barfoot and Thompson

The trio paid $32.5 million for the property in June

New $200 million development will create 580 jobs

Cassie And Josh with baby Alfie and daughter Andee. They have bought at new Lennox Head development Epiq.

Majority of new positions will be given to Northern Rivers locals