Supporting a legacy
Swinburne staff members Dr Carolyn Beasley and Professor Josie Arnold established the Adrian Murphy Student Prize in recognition of an inspiring individual who passed away. The prize recognises the highest achieving vocational education student who has successfully enrolled in a bachelor degree, majoring in writing.
Carolyn is the Program Director and Senior Lecturer, Writing at Swinburne. She fondly remembers Adrian and his time here.
“He was a passionate and charismatic mature aged student in the online Master of Arts (Writing). He returned to study after working in the television and media industry for many years.”
His study journey started when he undertook a diploma and then transitioned into a postgraduate course at Swinburne. Unlike many of his classmates he had to overcome adversity, always persevering.
“Adrian faced health challenges with his hearing, but attended all our student events with verve and vigour. He loved to hear students share their work. He was never afraid to ask questions or engage in discussions,” says Carolyn.
The idea of the prize came to Carolyn and her colleague when they attended Adrian’s funeral and saw how many of his fellow classmates were there.
He was such a central part of our writing community. We had to recognise him in some way, and decided to create the Adrian Murphy Student Prize.
It was a way to pay tribute to a passionate individual, a born storyteller and a cheerleader for both the department and the course in general.
“We wanted to capture the spirit of a passionate individual who never gave up in the face of adversity and to acknowledge that you can achieve great things if you persevere.”
“As well as honouring Adrian, we wanted the prize to inspire and encourage others, as he himself did during his lifetime.”
“Adrian was the ultimate cheerleader for his classmates. As a writer he was determined to produce work in as many genres as he could, constantly challenging himself. We were inspired by his love of the craft and his ability to write about anything.”
“Vocational Education (VE) writing courses are fantastic. They produce extremely talented writers, so we knew that creating a prize for a VE student would encourage them to keep creating and expanding their abilities”.
The inaugural prize was awarded to Sarah Giles at the 2016 Faculty of Health, Arts and Design prize ceremony. The second prize, in 2017, was awarded to Lynette Zelenkovic.
The ceremony was a happy and sombre occasion as those present remembered Adrian.
“His family were always so supportive of his writing and his dream of continuing to study. He often said that his family were a great inspiration and source of creativity.”
“It was a beautiful and poignant moment when Adrian’s wife Kerry and son, Thomas, met the first prize recipient at the ceremony and saw how Adrian’s legacy helped someone to continue their passion for writing. He will always be a true inspiration”.
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(Adrian) was such a central part of our writing community. We had to recognise him in some way, and decided to create the Adrian Murphy Student Prize.
Dr Carolyn Beasley, Program Director and Senior Lecturer, Writing at Swinburne