Honorary doctorate for Lowitja O'Donoghue

[by David Ellis]


Dr Lowitja O’Donoghue AC CBE DSG. Image: Leanne King

The University of Adelaide will this week award an honorary doctorate to one of Australia’s most highly respected Aboriginal leaders, Dr Lowitja O’Donoghue AC CBE DSG.


The award recognises Dr O'Donoghue's “lifetime contribution to the advancement of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander rights, leading to significant outcomes in health, education, political representation, land rights and reconciliation”.


This week the University is holding the first of 10 graduation ceremonies in Bonython Hall, with more than 2400 conferrals of academic programs to new graduates – more than 1400 in person and 1000 in absentia.


On Friday 24 September, the Honorary Degree of Doctor of the University (honoris causa) will be presented in person to Dr O’Donoghue’s niece, Ms Deborah Edwards, as Dr O’Donoghue is unable to attend the ceremony.


The 2021 SA Australian of the Year, Ms Tanya Hosch, Executive General Manager Inclusion & Social Policy with the Australian Football League (AFL), has been invited by Dr O’Donoghue’s family to give the acceptance speech on her behalf, which she will deliver via a video message.


Vice-Chancellor and President Professor Peter Høj AC said: “Graduation ceremonies recognise our students’ hard work and talent, as well as the unique contributions made to their learning by our academic and support staff.


“These ceremonies are not only a time of congratulations, they are a time of inspiration, so that new graduates are bolstered by the experience, seeking opportunities that will benefit themselves and their society.


“There is no doubt that Dr Lowitja O’Donoghue is among the most inspirational women in our lifetime. It is our pleasure to award her an honorary doctorate from the University of Adelaide, recognising her outstanding achievements for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and for the entire community through reconciliation. Her life’s work has been among the most meaningful and worthy of any honorary doctorate recipient you will encounter anywhere,” Professor Høj said.


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