Lutherans honoured in Australia Day list
LCA members Graham Lieschke and Fred Stolz have been recognised in the Australia Day 2023 Honours List.
Graham Lieschke, from Ascot Vale in Melbourne, is a group leader and research professor in medical research for Monash University’s Australian Regenerative Medicine Institute and is a clinical and research haematologist for the Royal Melbourne Hospital/Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre. He has been awarded an AM as a Member in the General Division of the Order of Australia ‘for significant service to medicine as a haematologist, and to medical research’.
Fred Stolz, from Kippa-Ring in Queensland’s Moreton Bay area and the founding headmaster of Grace Lutheran College at Rothwell in the same region, received an Order of Australia medal in the general division for ‘service to secondary education’.
Professor Lieschke said the award came as ‘a complete surprise’ and was ‘a great honour’.
‘It feels very special, and it makes me very thankful not only for the people I’ve worked with but also to God for the opportunities and blessings he’s given me’, said Professor Lieschke, who is also a member and musician at St Johns Lutheran Church Southgate in Melbourne. ‘The award is primarily for my professional work in research and medicine, but my work at St Johns is also very important to me to as an outlet that keeps me going, too.’
As well as having played the organ for church worship for more than 50 years, Professor Lieschke is a conductor passionate about the music of composer Johann Sebastian Bach and directs Australia’s longest-running Bach cantata program at St Johns. It is an interest for which he was awarded the 2004 Dame Roma Mitchell Churchill Fellowship.
He said that while the AM is a personal award, it reflects the opportunities he has had in his career and the people he has worked with. ‘It makes me very thankful for all my colleagues and professional associations as well’, he said.
‘I’ve been involved with teams that have made important contributions to clinical research in haematology and clinical research is always a team effort. I have really enjoyed being part of teams that have made clinical discoveries that have made a difference to patients, particularly those with blood diseases and those undergoing chemotherapy.’
Professor Lieschke said his faith was also an important factor in the way he has approached his work.
‘I’ve always felt a calling as a doctor – it’s a calling rather than a job’, he said. ‘There are several voices in a calling, and one comes from your faith. And my faith is really important in establishing values of integrity, honesty, care and compassion in the clinical and research work I do.’
Fred Stolz served as headmaster of Grace Lutheran College, Rothwell, from 1980 to 2009 and was a Mathematics teacher there until 2019. The college, which grew out of Grace Lutheran Primary School at nearby Clontarf, began with 55 students and five teachers. Today the two-campus college serves approximately 1500 students and their families.
Fred, who is a member at Redcliffe Lutheran Church, was also the inaugural principal of Balob Teachers College at Lae in Papua New Guinea, from 1965 to 1979, and in 2018 became an Officer of the Order of Logohu, PNG, in recognition of his service including training 1500 teachers there.
He said while his OAM was a ‘very unexpected but very much appreciated’ honour, he views it as ‘an honour for our Lutheran education system’.
Along with serving in Lutheran education in Queensland and PNG for many years, Fred has also served the wider church in many ways, including as a former member of the Queensland District’s Finance Council, and is still heavily involved with local community endeavours, including Rotary. He said his faith was very important to him and that it was something he had ‘tried to live out’. ‘One of the reasons why I’m a great advocate of Lutheran schools is because it’s an opportunity to bring the gospel before so many young people’, he said.
The congratulations of the church are offered to these recipients and any other members honoured with awards.
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