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News & Media > Alumnae Awards > 2021 Alumnae Award Recipients > Dr Sylvia Walton AO (Collis, 1957)

Dr Sylvia Walton AO (Collis, 1957)

2021 Alumnae Award for Professional Achievement
Dr Sylvia Walton AO (Collis, 1957)
Dr Sylvia Walton AO (Collis, 1957)

Dr Sylvia Walton AO (Collis, 1957) is a passionate educator and an outstanding educational leader whose distinguished career contributed to Australian education across all levels.

Sylvia Collis (1957) enrolled into Year 4 at MLC School in 1950. For her outstanding results in the 1957 Leaving Certificate she was awarded a Commonwealth Scholarship for tertiary studies.

Sylvia commenced as a teacher of History and Geography. She then became the Deputy Head of Campus at Caulfield Grammar School Wheelers Hill, Principal of Tintern Grammar (Melbourne), St Catherine’s School (Melbourne) and was Executive Principal at Loreto College, Adelaide. Her experience of implementing innovative programs and setting new benchmarks earned her the reputation as one of Australia’s foremost Principals.

From 2006 to 2011, Sylvia served as Chancellor of La Trobe University. In 2011, she was awarded a Doctorate of Education (honoris causa) in recognition of her outstanding leadership, and for addressing issues of access in higher education for students from disadvantaged backgrounds.

La Trobe University has two scholarships in Sylvia’s name. The Sylvia Walton Scholarship, established to support a commencing student at the University experiencing financial hardship and/or educational disadvantage, and The Sylvia Walton Honours Scholarship, to support a psychology autistic student undertaking their Honours year.

The list of honours in Sylvia’s name are many, and include: La Trobe University’s ‘Sylvia Walton Building’, the Australian College of Educators (VIC) annual ‘Sylvia Walton Oration’, and the Dr Sylvia Walton AO Alumni Scholarship at Tintern Grammar for financially disadvantaged students.

Sylvia has been the recipient of numerous awards, including: The Sir James Darling Medal for Education (Primary, Secondary and Tertiary), ACEL Fellowship in 1998 and the Nganakarrawa Award in 2004. In 2007, Sylvia was awarded the Gold Medal – the most prestigious award conferred by the Australian Council for Educational Leaders, presented annually to an educator whose contribution to the study and practice of educational administration and leadership is assessed as most outstanding on a national level.

In 2003, Sylvia was awarded the second highest award in Australia, Order of Australia (AO), in recognition of her leadership and education at the secondary and tertiary levels.

In 2014, Sylvia was inducted into the Victorian Honour Roll. This acknowledges the contribution, leadership and achievements of exceptional women within the Victorian community. At the time, La Trobe Vice-Chancellor Professor John Dewar stated that ‘Dr Walton has remained deeply dedicated to addressing issues of access to – and participation in – higher education for students from disadvantaged backgrounds.’

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