Olivia Newton-John honoured

Philanthropist, singer, songwriter and actor Olivia Newton-John AC DBE has added a new award to her long and impressive list of accolades at a special graduation ceremony at La Trobe University today

Ms Newton-John received an Honorary Doctorate of Letters from La Trobe in recognition of her significant and ongoing support of cancer research and holistic health, as well as her outstanding achievements in the entertainment industry.

It is the first Honorary Doctorate awarded to the acclaimed Australian.

Following her diagnosis of breast cancer in 1992, the four-time Grammy Award winner worked tirelessly to establish the Olivia Newton-John Cancer Wellness & Research Centre at the Austin Hospital, which provides support to people living with and affected by cancer.

The Centre is home to the Olivia Newton-John Cancer Research Institute (ONJCRI), which also operates as the La Trobe University School of Cancer Medicine. The Institute undertakes cutting-edge research to develop treatments for breast cancer, bowel cancer, lung cancer, brain cancer, lymphoma and melanoma.

Ms Newton-John thanked La Trobe for the honor of receiving the award and for recognition of her cancer work.

“It’s truly an honor to receive this Honorary Doctorate from La Trobe University, in my hometown of Melbourne,” Ms Newton-John said.

“I want thank La Trobe for this degree and their commitment to the ONJ Cancer Wellness & Research Centre. With this Honorary Doctorate, I know my family of academics would have been proud.”

La Trobe University Vice-Chancellor, Professor John Dewar, said the award was a fitting tribute to the life and work of a distinguished and popular Australian.

“Olivia has touched so many lives through her philanthropic work and her performances on stage and screen, and we are delighted to be the first University to award her an Honorary Doctorate,” Professor Dewar said.

“As La Trobe University’s School of Cancer Medicine, the ONJCRI will continue to work on new cancer discoveries and therapies.

“We are also pleased to again be hosting the Olivia Newton-John Wellness Walk and Research Run at our Bundoora campus in September, raising valuable funds for this life-changing work.”

Scientific Director of the ONJCRI Professor Matthias Ernst congratulated Olivia and acknowledged her ongoing support of the Institute.

“Olivia’s dedication to improving the lives of the many people affected by cancer is being deservedly recognised with this conferral of an Honorary Doctorate from La Trobe University,” Professor Ernst said.

“Olivia’s generous patronage of our leading comprehensive cancer centre has paved the way for critical collaborative research between the ONJCRI and La Trobe. This important partnership enables new clinical discoveries that ultimately improve health outcomes for cancer patients.

Media contact: Claire Bowers, 0437 279 903, c.bowers@latrobe.edu.au