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Honorary doctorates awarded by University of Adelaide

Wednesday, 11 September 2019

Source: University of Adelaide

The University of Adelaide will recognise the contributions to society of five eminent Australians at this week’s September graduation ceremonies.

Arts luminaries Neil Armfield, AO, Rob Brookman, AM, and Rachel Healy; world-renowned reproductive medicine pioneer Emeritus Professor Colin Matthews, AO; and engineering leader and former politician, the Honourable Trish White, are being awarded honorary doctorates.

They will join almost 1300 graduates being awarded their degrees in Bonython Hall in six ceremonies from Tuesday 10 September to Thursday 12 September.

“These eminent Australians are nationally and globally recognised leaders in their fields and they have all given much to our society,” says University of Adelaide Vice-Chancellor and President Professor Peter Rathjen.

“It is our privilege to recognise their contribution at the same time we celebrate the achievements of a new generation of future leaders, at the starting point of their careers.”

Emeritus Professor Colin Matthews, AO is being awarded the honorary degree of Doctor of Medicine (honoris causa) in recognition of his contributions to the University, to health and medical science, and to society. He helped create Australia’s modern infertility health care services, and the gift of life for tens of thousands of Australian families.

Professor Matthews led clinical and scientific advances in reproductive medicine at the University of Adelaide and Queen Elizabeth Hospital for almost three decades (1971-1998), founding the University’s Reproductive Medicine Unit, which was later renamed Repromed. He is credited with co-establishing one of the world’s first sperm banks and delivering what is believed to be the world’s fifth IVF baby in 1993.

The Honourable Trish White is being awarded the Honorary Degree of Doctor of the University (honoris causa) in recognition of her leadership, depth of understanding, and breadth of experience in the engineering profession, and her strong industry connections.

Ms White, a Cabinet Minister in the South Australian Government from 1994 to 2010, has been an outstanding role model for women in engineering for more than 30 years. In 2018 she became National President and Chair of Engineers Australia, the peak professional body for engineers in Australia. Since 2013 she has been Chair of the University’s Faculty Advisory Board for the Faculty of Engineering, Computer and Mathematical Sciences.

Neil Armfield, AO, is being awarded the honorary degree of Doctor of the University (honoris causa) for exceptional dedication and service to the arts in Australia during a career that has spanned over 40 years.

Widely acknowledged as one of Australia’s greatest directors, Mr Armfield is a director of theatre, film and opera. He has worked with many companies including the State Theatre Company of South Australia, Lighthouse Theatre, and Opera Australia. He is Joint Artistic Director of the Adelaide Festival from 2017 to 2021.

Rob Brookman, AM – is also being awarded the honorary degree of Doctor of the University (honoris causa) in acknowledgement of his exceptional dedication and service to the arts in Australia during a career that has spanned more than four decades.

A University of Adelaide graduate, Mr Brookman has led  a number of Australia’s foremost arts organisations and festivals, most recently as Executive Director of the Adelaide Festival, a role he’s held since April 2017.

Rachel Healy, another graduate of the University of Adelaide, is being awarded the honorary degree of Doctor of the University (honoris causa) for her exceptional dedication and service to the Arts in Australia.

Ms Healy is one of the country’s leading culture professionals. Her career spans nearly 30 years, managing arts organisations across multiple art forms, including at Belvoir St Theatre and the Sydney Opera House. She is Joint Artistic Director of the Adelaide Festival, 2017 to 2021.


Ceremonies with honorary degree awards:

11 am, Wednesday 11 September: Professor Colin Matthews

11 am, Thursday 12 September: The Honourable Trish White

2 pm, Thursday 12 September: Neil Armfield, Rob Brookman and Rachel Healy


Media Contact:

Robyn Mills, Media Officer, University of Adelaide. Phone: +61 (0)8 8313 6341, Mobile: +61 (0)410 689 084, robyn.mills@adelaide.edu.au