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Friends of Frogmore Lunch & Drinan Medal Award 2024

On Friday 14 June 2024, over 120 guests enjoyed the annual Friends of Frogmore lunch dedicated to our ‘vintage’ alumni who graduated 40+ years ago, together with long-serving past staff and special friends of the School.

TMA President, Jon Ponnusamy welcomed everyone and said it was a wonderful occasion to celebrate the spirit of camaraderie, the bonds that tie us together, and the memories that we cherish from our school days.

“As we sit together and share our stories, we are reminded of the invaluable lessons, the friendships forged, and the experiences that have shaped our lives.”

Principal Andy Müller talked about the start of his journey and the strength of the Mentone Grammar community. He paid tribute to the many people, including those present at the lunch, who have helped build a strong foundation to support the development of each new generation as the School looks to the future.

“As we embark on a new century, we have started the process of developing a new strategic plan…This plan will guide us in our actions and efforts as we focus on the priorities that matter most to our community, and to future-proof our School both in terms of our contemporary holistic educational offering and our physical environment.”

He also spoke about the new Bayview Campus building and precinct and guests watched a video presentation from Mentonian Tony Collins from the Class 1966 who with his wife Karen, chose to support the project through a generous gift.

Guests were also delighted to hear from two of the School’s current Head Prefects, Amali and Will, who spoke of the importance of a shared history and leadership as a collective responsibility.

“You have each been a leader in your own way. But we all know that leadership, no matter what form it takes, isn’t easy; it requires courage, resilience, and a willingness to embrace challenges. It demands integrity, empathy, and a commitment to serving others. But it’s also immensely rewarding, as it allows us to make a positive difference in the lives of those around us. Just in the same way you have left a lasting legacy for us, we hope to do the same for future generations.”

School Chaplain Andrew Stewart honored the memory of those in the School’s community who have passed away and delivered a prayer of blessing and thanks before guests enjoyed a delicious lunch.

This year, we were also excited to award the 2024 Tony Drinan Medal at the lunch, the Association’s highest honour awarded each year to a past student who has achieved outstanding success, bringing honour to the School and service to the community. Jon took the time to acknowledge Jan Drinan who continues to be a wonderful supporter of this award and of the School and welcomed past medal winner Peter Royston from the Class of 1967

“Our recipient this year has forged a remarkable career in academia…He is a Professor of Mathematics at Louisiana State University, where he has been for over 40 years…He is an expert in matroid and graph theory and has trained many doctoral students in this field. He has written more than 140 published papers and is author of the standard textbook ‘Matroid theory’.  He is a passionate researcher who has contributed so much to his field and to educating the next generation, an impressive legacy indeed. 

“I am delighted to announce Professor James Oxley from the Class of 1970 as winner of the 2024 Tony Drinan Medal.”

Living in the US, James was unable to attend the lunch, but we were delighted to welcome his cousin Mary Carter to receive the Medal on his behalf. Jon also acknowledged classmate Julian Cheeseman for nominating James.

Jon shared a Zoom interview with James, with many in the room nodding and laughing as James talked fondly about some of his favourite teachers and memories from his Mentone days.

As the lunch drew to a close, many guests chose to explore the new Bayview Campus building and precinct, ably led by the 2024 School Tours Captains, Emma and Darcy.

All in all, it was a wonderful day.