Honorary Degree recipients
La Trobe has a long tradition of recognising people who’ve made a significant contribution to their field of expertise. These are often individuals with a connection to La Trobe University, such as alumni. But always, they’re people who’ve demonstrated a commitment and dedication that is worthy of recognition.
Our Honorary Degrees are awarded to eminent individuals who have demonstrated significant accomplishments in their personal and professional life, or for service to their community, state or nation. Our recipients have either completed only an undergraduate degree at La Trobe, or are not alumni of the University.
Professor Michael McRobbie - Doctor of Science (honoris causa)
Professor Michael McRobbie AO is an Australian-American computer scientist, philosopher and researcher in high performance computing, networking and artificial intelligence, who has developed a global reputation as a leader in higher education administration and innovation.
Dr Katharine Viner - Doctor of Letters (honoris causa)
Katharine Viner is a British journalist, editor, playwright and media commentator whose thought-leadership and contributions at The Guardian newspaper have created a sustainable platform for The Guardian to continue its long tradition of high-quality journalism.
Adjunct Professor Tanya Farrell - Doctor of Public Health (honoris causa)
Adjunct Professor Tanya Farrell is a recognised leader and expert in nursing, midwifery and maternity services who has made an indelible contribution to professions of nursing and midwifery as well more broadly across the health industry through her operational, strategic and innovative approaches to the provision of health services.
Dr Peter Brukner OAM - Doctor of Science (honoris causa)
Dr Peter Brukner OAM is a world-renowned sports and exercise medicine clinician, researcher and physician. Dr Bruckner is an exceptional leader in the field of sport and exercise medicine and a man who is passionate about advancing the health of all Australians.
Dr Geoff Raby AO - Doctor of Letters (honoris causa)
Dr Geoff Raby AO is a leading Australian economist, diplomat and public intellectual who has made an invaluable contribution to the interests of Australia-China relations, and multilateral trade policy and negotiations.
Professor Peter Høj AC - Doctor of Science (honoris causa)
Professor Peter Høj AC is a research scientist and a higher education champion who, with more than 20 years’ senior leadership experience in academia and research, has made an extraordinary contribution to education in Australia.
Her Excellency the Honorable Linda Dessau AC - Doctor of Laws (honoris causa)
Her Excellency the Honourable Linda Dessau AC – Victoria’s 29th Governor – is an inspiring pioneer and role model for women in leadership through her judicial appointments and in her numerous community roles in service of others.
Fran Kelly – Doctor of Letters (honoris causa)
Fran Kelly is a renowned current affairs journalist and political correspondent who has made an enduring contribution to Australian political life, journalism and national affairs.
Professor Richard Larkins AC - Doctor of the University (honoris causa)
Professor Richard Larkins AC is a medical researcher, academic leader and health policy reformer. He provided significant service as Chancellor of La Trobe University from 2017 to 2019.
Tony Ellwood AM – Doctor of Letters (honoris causa)
Mr Ellwood has dedicated his life to promoting the visual arts in Australia, overseeing some of Australia’s most prestigious galleries and exhibitions, including the Bendigo Art Gallery, QAGOMA and the NGV. A celebrated member of Australia’s arts industry, Tony has made an outstanding contributions to the arts.
Kon Karapanagiotidis OAM – Doctor of Laws (honoris causa)
Mr Konstandinos (Kon) Karapanagiotidis OAM is a leading human rights advocate, lawyer and social worker who has made outstanding contributions to humanitarianism. As founder and CEO of the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre, Kon has advanced social justice by fiercely advocating for the rights of refugees and people seeking asylum.
Shah Ruhk Khan – Doctor of Letters (honoris causa)
Mr Khan is an Indian actor, film producer, philanthropist and champion for women’s equality who is recognised for his outstanding achievements within the entertainment industry, his ongoing championing of women’s rights and his advocacy for social justice.
Dr Annabelle Duncan – Doctor of Science (honoris causa)
Dr Duncan is an outstanding educational leader and scientist who has made extraordinary contributions to academia and science in Australia, and to international biological weapons control.
Dr Destiny Deacon – Doctor of Education (honoris causa)
Dr Deacon is an exceptional artist, broadcaster, political activist, performer, educator and academic who is known internationally for her political visual art.
Dr Patricia Edgar – Doctor of Letters (honoris causa)
Dr Edgar is a pioneer of media studies in the Australian university sector and a leading international expert on children’s television and media policy.
Don Watson – Doctor of Letters (honoris causa)
Dr Watson is an award-winning author, screenwriter and political speechwriter who has made an outstanding contribution to Australian politics, history and literature.
Olivia Newton-John AO OBE – Doctor of Letters (honoris causa)
Ms Newton-John has made significant contributions to Australian and international cultural life, and an immeasurable contribution to cancer wellness and research programs. Throughout her career, she has greatly enriched Australian culture, and has had a direct impact on the lives of thousands of Australians living with, or affected by, cancer.
Professor Craig Purdam - Doctor of Science (honoris causa)
Professor Purdam has been one of Australia’s leading sports physiotherapists for more than 30 years. From 1982 to 2017 he served as Head of the Physical Therapies Department at the Australian Institute of Sport and as physiotherapist to the Australian team for five consecutive Olympic games.
Emeritus Professor Jennifer Seberry – Doctor of Science (honoris causa)
Emeritus Professor Seberry is a distinguished Australian who has made a significant contribution to advances in computer science, mathematical cryptology, and computer and network security.
Zelda D’Aprano – Doctor of Letters (honoris causa)
Zelda D’Aprano was a distinguished Australian who provided a lifetime of significant service to the nation’s workplaces, the women’s movement and to Australian culture. She made outstanding achievements throughout her activist career and through her ongoing commitment to social justice.
Professor Zhenzhong Zhang – Doctor of Public Health (honoris causa)
Professor Zhang is a distinguished research professional who has provided a lifetime of significant service to China’s health development strategy, healthcare policy and healthcare delivery and management.
The Hon. Howard Nathan QC – Doctor of Laws (honoris causa)
The Hon. Howard Nathan QC is former Supreme Court judge who has provided a lifetime of significant service to the law, the arts, religion and the community.
Bill Kelty AC – Doctor of the University (honoris causa)
Bill Kelty AC is a well-known trade unionist and a leading figure of the Australian labour movement for almost half a century. He has been a passionate advocate of the University’s social inclusion ethos, and a strong supporter of its programs to increase access to higher education for people from rural and regional areas.
Professor Adrienne E. Clarke AC – Doctor of the University (honoris causa)
Professor Adrienne E. Clarke AC was La Trobe University Chancellor from 2011-2017 and has devoted her career to scientific research, significantly advancing humanity’s understanding of plant genetics, in addition to her service to government and community.
Cornelia (Conny) Lenneberg – Doctor of Letters (honoris causa)
Cornelia (Conny) Lenneberg has devoted her working life to social justice initiatives in the community and non-profit sectors. Throughout her work, Ms Lenneberg has confronted some of the most devastating global humanitarian crises.
Elizabeth Proust AO – Doctor of Letters (honoris causa)
Elizabeth Proust AO has led major companies, government and community organisations. She has had a profound influence on the governance and economic and cultural development of Melbourne and the State of Victoria.
Dr David Morgan AO – Doctor of Letters (honoris causa)
Dr David Morgan AO is a renowned businessman with significant leadership experience in business finance, having led Westpac Banking Group and BHP Billiton. He is known for campaigning for rigorous regulatory reform in the Australian banking sector and was an active member of La Trobe’s first student cohort.
Bronwyn Curtis OBE – Doctor of Letters (honoris causa)
Bronwyn Curtis OBE has had a highly successful career as an applied economist, working across global financial markets, and has become one of the most prominent figures in British banking. She is also a widely published author and columnist.
Ahmed Fahour AO – Doctor of Letters (honoris causa)
Ahmed Fahour AO is a renowned business leader and an active member of Australia’s Muslim community where he has contributed to promoting ways to counter Islamic terrorism.
Terry Moran AC – Doctor of Letters (honoris causa)
Terry Moran AC has made a significant contribution to shaping Australia’s public policy landscape. Throughout his career, he has worked with several Federal and State governments and held senior roles in public policy development and implementation and public sector management.
Professor Nguyen Dinh Luan – DEd (honoris causa)
Professor Luan has been President of Hanoi University (HANU) since 2008. A linguist by training, Professor Luan has proved to be a highly successful academic and leader and has forged an enviable set of international partnerships across the globe, positioning HANU as a partner of choice in Vietnam.
Winifred Scott – DEd (honoris causa)
Winifred Scott has had a distinguished career in regional vocational education and training. She has served as CEO of SuniTAFE and played a key role in driving the successful partnership between SuniTAFE and La Trobe University, transforming education in Mildura.
The Hon John Brumby – DLitt (honoris causa)
John Brumby is a highly regarded former Federal and State Member of Parliament who has dedicated much of his career to serving the people of Victoria. Now retired from politics, his work continues to support the future of Victoria’s economy and the health and wellbeing of its citizens.
Lisa Bellear – DLitt (honoris causa)
Lisa Bellear was a La Trobe University PhD student researching “Contemporary Indigenous issues through radio and photographic texts” at the time of her death in 2006. She made innumerable contributions to equality, justice and Indigenous rights as an artist, published poet, political activist, social commentator, radio presenter and community advocate.
Dr John Cooke – DSc (honoris causa)
Dr John Cooke has made substantial contributions to Northern Victoria and to the fields of natural resource management, leadership and community service. He is a tireless campaigner for La Trobe University in Mildura and the broader Sunraysia district.
Andrew Demetriou – DLitt (honoris causa)
Former AFL Player Andrew Demetriou has made his significant contributions to Australian business, sports administration, and the AFL as Chief Executive Officer for over a decade, where he has transformed the AFL as a sport and business.
Simon McKeon AO – DPH (honoris causa)
Simon McKeon AO is Chairman of AMP Limited and former Executive Chairman of Macquarie Group's Melbourne office. He was the founding Chair of MS Research Australia (2004–2010), received the Order of Australia (2011), Academy Medal (Australian Academy of Science, 2010) and was named 2011 Australian of the Year.
John Richards OAM – DSc (honoris causa)
John Richards OAM is an outstanding community leader in north-east Victoria, particularly in the fields of health and aged care services. Through generous philanthropic support he helped establish the Research Initiative into Aged Care in Rural and Regional Communities at La Trobe University's Albury-Wodonga Campus and the John Richards Agricultural Scholarships.
Heather Schnagl AM – DEd (honoris causa)
Heather Schnagl has made a significant contribution to education through dedicated work with the Institute of Teaching, Independent Schools Victoria and Association of Heads of Independent Schools of Australia. She is an exemplary role model of devoted citizenship and unconditional compassion for and belief in the potential of others.
Aaron T. Beck MD – DSc (honoris causa)
Aaron Beck MD is renowned worldwide as one of the most influential psychotherapists of all time and the father of Cognitive Behaviour Therapy. His ground-breaking research fundamentally changed the way psychiatry and psychology viewed depression.
Dr Robert James Brown MB BS – DUniv (honoris causa)
Dr Robert ‘Bob’ brown MB BS is a former Senator and Parliamentary Leader of the Australian Greens, medical doctor and environmentalist. He led the Australian Greens from the party's foundation in 1992 until his retirement in April 2012.
Dr Meenakshi Gopinath – DLitt (honoris causa)
Dr Gopinath has made outstanding contributions to national and international civil society initiatives that foster coexistence between communities and women's engagement in building peace. A Fullbright Scholar, she has been Principal of Lady Shri Ram (LSR) College at Delhi University since 1988, where she champions women’s education and leadership.
Professor Ulrich Hartl – DSc (honoris causa)
Professor Hartl has made a seminal contribution to understanding of the way in which proteins fold into their final shapes within cells. He has published close to 300 scientific papers, with more than 37,000 citations.
Professor Paul Kane BA, MA, PhD – DLitt (honoris causa)
Professor Kane is an internationally renowned English academic and Fulbright Scholar. He has been the artistic director of the Mildura Writers Festival since 2002, a contribution that has enriched and sustained one of the major cultural events of Victoria’s regional calendar.
Nominations are now open, and close 5 May 2023.
Please note - Only members of La Trobe University's Senior Executive Group, University Council or a Research Theme Leader may stand as nominators for Honorary Degrees. Other staff or individuals outside the University may make recommendations for nominations but these must be endorsed and acted upon by an appropriate member of the La Trobe community as listed above.
Please download and complete the nomination pack below. Then email the completed nomination form and associated documentation to us, or send via post to:
La Trobe University Honorary Awards
Alumni and Advancement Office
La Trobe University
Bundoora VIC 3086
Find out more about the Honorary Degree selection process