Economics columnist Ross Gittins awarded honorary doctorate

30 April 2012

Ross Gittins.
Ross Gittins.

The University of Sydney has awarded an honorary doctorate to Ross Gittins, the Sydney Morning Herald journalist who has been economics editor at the newspaper since 1978.

In a ceremony in the Great Hall attended by Professor Derrick Armstrong, the Acting Vice Chancellor, Gittins was described as being a public intellectual of national importance who has acted as an honest broker between scholarly work and the public, and in so doing has made an outstanding contribution to the public understanding of economics.

Reading the citation, Professor Armstrong said Gittins had developed the art of the newspaper column to new heights in Australian journalism. "His columns are notable for their independence, their wit, and their insistence of going beyond the sound and fury of public debate into the theoretical assumptions and evidence behind the competing claims."

The citation went on to say that Gittins' early education as an accountant meant that he had brought a forensic scrutiny to the data but that this is often concealed by the lightness of his rhetorical touch.

In his role as economics editor at the Sydney Morning Herald, Gittins mentored many University of Sydney graduates from Political Economy and Government who are now established commentators at the newspaper. These include Jessica Irvine, Tom Allard, Jacob Saulwick, Clancy Yates, Matt Wade and Gareth Hutchins.

At the same ceremony, John Anthony McCarthy QC, who, between 1995 and 2009 was a Fellow of the Senate of the University, was awarded an Honorary Fellowship in recognition of his outstanding contribution to Senate, to the University and in particular to University sport.

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