ACU in swag of honorary doctorates

Former federal minister Fred Chaney, theologian Fr John Thornhill, aged care advocate Susanne Macri as well as former NSW public servant Gerald Gleeson make up a swagful of Australian Catholic University honorary doctorate recipients this week.

According to statements released yesterday, Australian Catholic University (ACU National) will award its highest honour during graduation ceremonies at its Ballarat, Sydney, Sydney's Strathfield and North Sydney campuses.

According to ACU Vice-Chancellor Professor Peter Sheehan, Dr Thornhill is being awarded the doctorate for making "theology extraordinarily accessible to Australians from all walks of life."

"John Thornhill is one of Australia's foremost theologians; a quiet, unassuming man who has affected real and lasting social change during a career spanning more than 50 years," Professor Sheehan said.

Dr Thornhill is a founding member and past president and life member of the Australian Theological Association and was appointed by Pope John Paul II to the International Theological Commission in 1980.

According to statements, Mr Gleeson will be awarded for giving "truly outstanding service to education" and to the people of NSW.

"Gerald Gleeson has made an extraordinary contribution to public administration. Highlights include his 11-year period as head of the NSW Premier's Department and his induction into the prestigious Institute of Public Administration as a Fellow of the Institute; and he has been a Companion of the Order of Australia since 1989," Professor Sheehan says.

At its Sydney ceremony for graduating Health Sciences students tomorrow, where she will also provide the occasional address to graduates, Ms Macri will be honoured for her campaign to increase public awareness of the needs of ageing Australians.

"It is because of tireless campaigners like Sue Macri that our society is beginning to heed the call to provide more suitable living conditions for its growing aged population and affirm the dignity of our community's elderly," Professor Sheehan said.

Ms Macri is on joint ministerial National Review of Nursing Education and the National Nursing and Education Taskforce, the statements say.

"As further testament to her standing in the community, Sue will receive official recognition as a Member in the General Division of the Order of Australia the day after she receives her Honorary Doctorate from ACU National," the ACU Vice-Chancellor said.

Meanwhile in Victoria, ACU says that Mr Chaney, who will be recognised at a ceremony in Ballarat, had been an "inspirational leader" both in his career as a politician and as an advocate for positive social change in Australia.

Mr Chaney's career spans nearly two decades, including as Federal Minister for Aboriginal Affairs, Social Security and Administrative Services.

"Fred Chaney is a model for any person seeking to apply social justice principles to public policy in this country," says Professor Sheehan.

ACU National honours 'inspirational leader' Fred Chaney (ACU Media Release, 5/5/07)
ACU National to honour tireless aged care advocate (ACU Media Release, 7/5/07)
ACU National to honour 'fearless' former public servant (ACU Media Release, 7/5/07)
ACU National graduation to honour 'people's theologian' (ACU Media Release, 7/5/07)

LINKS (not necessarily endorsed by Church Resources)
ACU National

ACU honours Indigenous performer (CathNews, 11/4/07)
ACU honours Vatican education expert (CathNews, 22/1/07)
David Wenham receives ACU honorary doctorate (CathNews, 26/5/06)
ACU degree for Wiggles (CathNews, 10/4/06)
ACU National honours Archbishop Francis Carroll (CathNews, 4/4/06)
Honorary doctorate for diva Joan Carden (CathNews, 20/4/04)

8 May 2007