Honorary awards

Who is receiving an honorary award in 2012?

The University of Sydney recognises

  • exceptional achievement by conferring an honorary degree.
  • outstanding service to the University by awarding the title of Honorary Fellow of the University.


To date, those who have accepted the Chancellor's invitation to accept honorary awards are listed below. In addition, it is anticipated that two recipients from the previous round will attend 2012 ceremonies.

View the list of honorary awards concerred in 2012 - by ceremony.


Cate Blanchett, Hon DLitt UNSW

A graduate of Australia's National Institute of Dramatic Art, Cate Blanchett has won both critical and popular acclaim for her many stage and screen performances. In addition, she and her husband are artistic directors of the Sydney Theatre Company which, through its education program (STC Ed), has partnered with Professor Ewing and the University of Sydney in the innovative School Drama project.

Doctor of Letters (honoris causa)

Conferring ceremony: 10 November 2012


Edmund George Capon AM OBE, MPhil Lond HonDLitt UNSW

An art scholar specialising in Chinese art, Mr Capon has been Director and Chief Curator of the Art Gallery of NSW since 1978 and has recently retired. He is acknowledged as having transformed the gallery, particularly through increasing popularity of the annual Archibald Prize for portraiture competition.

Doctor of Letters (honoris causa)

Conferring ceremony: 3.30pm, 24 September 2012


Dr Robin Beryl Fitzsimons, MB BS BSc(Med) PhD Sydney, FRACP

A neurologist, scientist and journalist, Dr Robin Fitzsimons was an elected graduate Fellow of Senate of the University of Sydney for 12 years from 1 December 1997. During this period she contributed significantly to Senate, to the University and in particular to local and overseas University alumni organisations.

Honorary Fellow of the University

Conferring ceremony: 2.00pm, 11 May 2012 (Faculty of Medicine)


Ross Roderick Gittins AM, BCom UoN

Ross Gittins is an Australian political and economic journalist and author who regularly writes for the news media. He was made a Member of the Order of Australia in 2008 for service to journalism as a commentator on economic theory, policy and behavioural economics, and to the accountancy profession.

Doctor of Science in Economics (honoris causa)

Conferring ceremony: 9.30am, 27 April 2012 (Faculty of Arts & Social Sciences)


Professor Lawrence Ogalthorpe Gostin, BA Hon LLD State University of New York, Brockport JD Duke, FRIPH, is from the previous round.

Professor Gostin is Associate Dean (Research and Academic Programs) and the Linda D and Timothy J O'Neill Professor of Global Health Law at the Georgetown University Law Center, where he directs the O'Neill Institute for National and Global Health Law. In 2006, Professor Gostin was awarded the American Public Health Association’s Distinguished Lifetime Achievement Award “in recognition of a career devoted to using law to improve the public’s health”.

Doctor of Laws (honoris causa)

Conferring ceremony: 9.30am, 25 May 2012 (Faculty of Law)


Kate Grenville, BA Sydney DCA UTS HonDLitt UNSW

Ms Grenville has published 8 books of fiction and 4 books about the writing process. Her novels have won many awards both in Australia and the UK, several have been made into major feature films, and all have been translated into European & Asian languages. In 2011 all first-year undergraduates at the University, across all disciplines, automatically became members of the First-Year Book Club, and Kate’s book The Secret River was chosen as the inaugural selection.

Doctor of Letters (honoris causa)

Conferring ceremony: 10 November 2012


Gabrielle Hollows

An orthoptist and founding Director of the The Fred Hollows Foundation, Ms Hollows has been named one of Australia's 100 Living Treasures, given the Advance Australia Award for Community Service & made Paul Harris Fellow by Rotary International. She has made an outstanding contribution to the promotion of eye health care in Australia and overseas, working tirelessly with Fred Hollows until his death in 1993 & continuing his work afterwards through the Foundation.

Doctor of Health Sciences (honoris causa)

Conferring ceremony: 4.00pm, 30 March 2012 (Faculty of Nursing & Midwifery)


Mary Lane, BA MSW DipSocStuds Sydney

Mrs Lane, a member of the social work staff of the University of Sydney from 1982 to 2002 and currently an Honorary Senior Lecturer in Social Work, has made an outstanding contribution to community work practice in Australia.

Doctor of Letters in Social Work (honoris causa)

Conferring ceremony: 9.30am, 13 April 2012 (Faculty of Education and Social Work)


Professor Barry James Marshall AC, MB BS UWA HonDSc Oxf, FRS FAA FRACP, together with Emeritus Professor John Robin Warren AC, won the 2005 Nobel Prize in physiology or medicine for their work on the bacterial basis for stomach ulcers which revolutionised the treatment of gastro-duodenal ulcers, by enabling an antibiotic cure, which has led to a significant reduction in the prevalence of gastric cancer.

Doctor of Medicine (honoris causa)

Conferring ceremony in 2014 to be confirmed


John A McCarthy QC, BA LLB Sydney LLM Virg

John McCarthy, a barrister, was a Fellow of the Senate of the University of Sydney appointed by the Minister for Education and Training for over 14 years from August 1995. During this period he served as Pro Chancellor and inaugural Chair of the Senate/Sports Liaison Committee, and contributed significantly to Senate, to the University and in particular to University sport.

Honorary Fellow of the University

Conferring ceremony: 9.30am on 27 April 2012 (Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences)


Dr John Gilmour Nutt AM, BE Qld PhD Manc HonDSc Macq HonDEng UTS, FIEAust FIStructE FRAHS FRSA

Dr Nutt has played a leading role in engineering design of SOH and as Chairman/CEO of OVE ARUP & Partners Consulting Engineers, and has contributed to the reform of building regulations in Australia.

Doctor of Engineering (honoris causa)

Conferring ceremony: 11.30am on 18 May 2012 (Faculty of Engineering and IT)


Dr John O’Sullivan, BSc BE(Hons) PhD Sydney

A research scientist with CSIRO's Astronomy and Space Science Division, Dr O’Sullivan has made an outstanding contribution to astronomy as well as wifi technology, and was awarded the prestigious 2009 Prime Minister's Prize for Science.

Doctor of Engineering (honoris causa)

Conferring ceremony: 9.30am on 18 May 2012 (Faculty of Science & Faculty of Engineering and IT)


Professor Martin John Rees, Lord Rees of Ludlow, MA PhD Camb Hon DSc Oxford, Yale & King’s College, London*, is also from the previous round.

Lord Rees is Professor of Cosmology and Astrophysics and Master of Trinity College at the University of Cambridge, Astronomer Royal, Visiting Professor at Imperial College London and at Leicester University, and President of the Royal Society since 2005. *He holds 19 honorary Doctorates of Science.

Doctor of Science (honoris causa)

Conferring ceremony: 10 November 2012


Patricia Ritchie

Mrs Ritchie gave outstanding service to the University by her contribution to the academic activities of the Faculty of Medicine at its Northern Clinical School, in particular through her crucial fund-raising role in the appointment of senior academic clinicians.

Sadly, Mrs Ritchie died before the award could be conferred, and it will now be conferred posthumously.

Honorary Fellow of the University

Conferring ceremony for the posthumous award: date in 2013 to be confirmed


Martin Sharp AM

An artist, cartoonist, songwriter and film-maker, Mr Sharp was made a Member of the Order of Australia in 2005 in recognition of his service to the arts as a painter and graphic designer, particularly contributing to the pop art movement in Australia and providing support for emerging young artists.

Doctor of Visual Arts (honoris causa)

Conferring ceremony: 9.30am, 14 December 2012


Emeritus Professor John Robin Warren AC, MB BS MD HonDUniv Adel HonMD WA & Univ Rome Tor Vergata HonDUniv Univ Toyama & Univ Otto von Guericke, FRCPA FAA HonFRACP

Together with Professor Barry James Marshall, Emeritus Professor Robin Warren won the 2005 Nobel Prize in physiology or medicine for their work on the bacterial basis for stomach ulcers which revolutionised the treatment of gastro-duodenal ulcers, by enabling an antibiotic cure, which has led to a significant reduction in the prevalence of gastric cancer. Dr Robin Warren is Emeritus Professor at the University of Western Australia and the Royal Perth Hospital.

Doctor of Medicine (honoris causa)

Conferring ceremony: 10 November 2012


Peter Weiss AM

Mr Weiss has supported music and the visual arts for over 25 years, was made a Member of the Order of Australia in 1996 for his service to the arts and was winner of the 2011 Goldman Sachs Philanthropy Leadership Award.

Doctor of Letters (honoris causa)

Conferring ceremony: 3.30pm, 24 September 2012


Geoffrey Gurrumul Yunupingu

An indigenous Australian musician and member of the Gumatj clan of north east Arnhemland, Geoffrey Gurrumul Yunupingu plays drums, keyboards, guitar and didgeridoo and sings stories of his land which he adapts into contemporary song styles. He was the 2009 Northern Territory recipient of Australian of the Year.

Doctor of Music (honoris causa)

Conferring ceremony: 10 November 2012