As part of the College Canberra’s Champagnat Day celebrations to mark the feast day of our founder, St Marcellin Champagnat, the inaugural Br Francois Service Medal was awarded to Old Boy Dr Matthew Bray.
The award recognises an Old Boy of the College who has demonstrated that he continues to keep the faith in the service of others. The award is named after Br Francois who became the first Superior-General of the Order and was instrumental in developing a Marist spirituality. He was known to be a joyful person who demonstrated his love and care for others, especially through his service to the Brothers and to the sick.
Matt was College Vice-Captain and Valedictorian, graduating in 2007. Since graduation, he has worked selflessly with many charities including voluntary clinical and research positions in developing countries. Consistent with the Marist charism of caring for the young, Matt has initiated and led mentorship programs for Polynesian Rotuman youths, encouraging academic and social endeavours, and has undertaken voluntary work in Aboriginal communities in Central Australia promoting healthy lifestyles and education. He has run global health advocacy campaigns driving policy change. Matt was awarded a Global Voice Research Fellow Scholarship in 2015 to attend the United Nations in New York where he advocated for robust development investments to aid Pacific Island nations at risk due to climate change and natural disasters. In medical school, he founded the Friends4Fiji Initiative, a charity now operating for ten years, which partners medical students in Australia with colleagues in Fiji to advance regional cooperation and improve access to quality medical education. He has also won numerous academic and leadership awards for his outstanding contribution to community, and exemplifies a Marist spirit to go beyond one’s own self-interest and care for the needs of others, particularly those without a voice and those who are marginalised.
Matthew addressed the College at the conclusion of the Champagnat Day Mass and reminded the students from Years 4-12 that cultivating a culture of service and compassion is central to the mission of the College. Matthew said the ’true test or demonstration of service and the compassion that is meant to underlie it is how you respond, unprompted, to people who are different, disadvantaged or vulnerable.’