hand holding Alumni Award

How to nominate

Everything you need to know before making a nomination
The annual Alumni Awards recognise and acknowledge the professional and personal achievements of our alumni community through the nominations submitted by their peers, colleagues, friends and family.

There are six Alumni Achievement Awards and six Graduate Medals, each with their own selection criteria for recognising exceptional leadership and impact.

Please refer to the award categories page to determine the most relevant award for your nominee and review the information below prior to submitting your nomination.

Nomination guidelines

  • Nominations can be made by University of Sydney staff, students, alumni and any member of the public.
  • Each Alumni Achievement Award nomination in a given year may be considered for two consecutive years. Nominators will be contacted to provide updated information.
  • Previous unsuccessful nominations for the Alumni Achievement Awards can be re-submitted by the nominator with any updated information in future years.
  • The online nomination forms can be saved. Nominators may edit their entry after submitting, until the nominations deadline.
  • The judging panel reserves the right to change the category for nomination.
  • Nominees cannot win in more than one category.
  • We reserve the right to reallocate nominations between categories.
  • The nomination outcome will be final and conclusive.
  • All nominations must be submitted online.
  • Self-nominations are not accepted.
  • Only individual nominations will be accepted. If two or more people are integral to an activity/program, two separate nominations will need to be submitted. The John C Harsanyl Medal for Innovation is the exception and may be awarded to an individual or a group.
  • The recipient of a posthumous award must have been deceased for no more than 10 years at the time of nomination.
  • Current members of the Senate and its sub-committees, members of the Alumni Council, faculty deans, and staff at the Division of Alumni and Development are ineligible for the University of Sydney Alumni Awards.

Who can write references to support a nomination?

References can be written by professional and academic colleagues. We recommend at least two references be submitted.

Can the nominator also provide a reference letter for the same nominee?

No. The nominator cannot also be a referee since they will have already provided a recommendation letter in the nomination form. One person cannot write more than one statement for each nominee. However, a nominator can act as an endorser for a different nominee.

What does the reference letter need to include?

References should be written to understand the nominee’s achievements and impact better and to discuss specific examples of both. The referee should make clear their connection with the nominee and state their full contact details, including phone and email.

What sort of relevant information and supporting documents are required to support the nomination?

All supporting documents should relate directly to the reason for the nomination. They can include letters of reference, media articles and publications. Whatever the material is, it should illustrate and enhance what is in the written nomination. For Graduate Medal nominees, the documents should illustrate activities and achievements during the period of study.

Do I need to include a reference letter?

Yes, a reference letter is required to submit a nomination. We recommend submitting at least two (2) reference letters. 

Nomination process

Nominators need to create a profile to complete the online nomination form. The form will ask you to provide nominee information, information statements for selection criteria questions, supporting documents and nominator information.

You can save your progress in the online nomination form and come back to it at any time. Be clear and concise in your responses in the nominee information statement section, noting the word limit for each response.

Nominators can attach supporting documentation to support their nominee information statements. You can provide up to 5 relevant web links and/or attach up to 5 files.

The size of your attachments will affect the speed of the upload and form submission. We recommend you keep attachments to less than 5MB each, noting supporting documentation will only be accepted in PDF format.

Nominators are required to submit a reference letter at the time of nomination. We recommend at least two (2) reference letters be submitted. The nominator cannot also be a referee and reference letters must not exceed 700 words each.

Nominators will receive an automated response email with a copy of your nomination once you submit the form. Please keep this for your records. 

If you experience issues submitting an online nomination form, please contact the Alumni Office.  

  • Submissions are reviewed against the selection criteria and shortlisted based on meeting the eligibility requirements.
  • A selection panel comprising of expert alumni and staff determine the recipients for each category.
  • Only winners and their nominators will be informed of the outcome.
  • Recipients are announced to the public ahead of the at the Alumni Awards Gala Dinner in December.

Top writing tips

Your responses should align closely with the selection criteria. Answer the questions in the nomination form clearly and specifically. Provide a concise overview of who your nominee is, why they are exceptional, and how they have made a significant impact.

Elevate the persuasiveness of your nomination by collecting evidence to support your information statements and providing personal anecdotes and examples that demonstrate their achievements.

The strongest nominations also include multiple letters of recommendation. Make sure to give the writers plenty of notice and guide them on not simply restating your nomination but including personal observations and evidence.