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Macquarie Capital's Kate Vidgen headlines 2019 Bond University Alumni Awards

Macquarie Capital executive Kate Vidgen has been awarded the Robert Stable Medal, the top prize at Bond University’s Alumni Awards.

Ms Vidgen, currently Global Head of Oil and Gas Principal at Macquarie Capital, was presented with the prize at a ceremony in the university’s Princeton Room last night.

The Robert Stable Medal is awarded for achievement of an exceptional nature.

Ms Vidgen has worked as a lawyer and investment banker, and has spent the past 21 years at Macquarie Group in a range of roles, alongside chairing Quadrant Energy, acting as a non-executive director of rail freight operator Aurizon, and serving as a non-executive director and Victorian chapter chair of Chief Executive Women.

The evening’s other two top awards were also won by female graduates.

The Alumni Award for Community Achievement was presented to Nicole Gibson, social entrepreneur and CEO and founder of Love Out Loud, a global movement aiming to facilitate “the world’s largest revolution of love”, by engaging 4 per cent of the world’s population by the end of 2020.

Ms Gibson seeks to inspire individuals, organisations and bureaucracy to step out of fear and live from a place of compassion, acceptance and support.

Minter Ellison lawyer Emily MacDonald received the Young Alumni Award, recognising voluntary service to Bond University and inspiring fellow students to reach their potential.

She excelled academically while at Bond and held numerous roles on student-run organisations, participating in several aid and awareness programs for Indigenous affairs and volunteering as an Indigenous Tutorial Assistance Scheme support officer.

Ms Vidgen, who completed a Bachelor of Law and Bachelor of Arts at Bond, said receiving the medal was an honour, especially given the significance of the university’s 30th anniversary, being marked this week with a series of events.

“I’m incredibly honoured to receive it, particularly in the 30th year,” she said.

“I went back to Bond with my stepson last year because he was looking at universities (and) when viewing Bond as a parent almost 30 years later, it was clear to me that the scope of the programs and the Bond way of thinking means it’s setting people up for the future, as opposed to setting people up for now, and that just makes me very proud of the institution.”

Ms Gibson, who graduated with a Bachelor of Business Communication, said it was nice to be acknowledged, adding her work had been inspired by her own mental health struggles growing up, including a battle with anorexia.

“Going through those struggles as intensely as I did, being confronted by my mortality, created a lot of introspection, and for sure changed the trajectory of my life in terms of what my priorities and perspectives on life were,” she said.

“I became insatiably passionate about inspiring people to connect more deeply. Just seeing how people related to me when I was in that state of vulnerability made me realise we’re terrible at seeing and hearing people when they’re going through vulnerable times.”

Ms MacDonald, who graduated in 2017 with a Bachelor of Laws and Bachelor of Psychological Science, said her small-town upbringing in Macksville, NSW, influenced her to help her fellow students, particularly those also from small towns and with Indigenous heritage.

“Coming from a really small town, I saw the importance of supporting Indigenous students to enjoy university and find opportunities to excel,” she said.

“University can be overwhelming for students from small towns. Sometimes we don’t know what to expect and without mentors who we can relate to, I think that’s where the retention rates fall.”

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