ACU graduation to honour Michael Leunig

Friday, 25 May 2007

Melbourne, 25 May 2007: Australian Catholic University (ACU) will award celebrated newspaper cartoonist and National Living Treasure, Michael Leunig with its highest honour, Doctor of the University (Honoris Causa), at its annual Melbourne graduation ceremony for Arts & Sciences students this Tuesday 28 May

More than 330 students from ACU’s Melbourne Campus (St Patrick’s) will graduate with degrees in arts, business, music, psychology, information systems, social science and theology at the Melbourne Town Hall ceremony, with Mr Leunig providing the occasional address to graduates.

ACU Vice-Chancellor Professor Peter Sheehan AO said Mr Leunig possessed the rare ability to demystify the human condition through his engaging cartoons, which were often challenging or thought-provoking, but always ultimately hopeful and positive.

“From his earliest days as a writer for radical press, to his current incarnation as a cartoonist for The Age and The Sydney Morning Herald newspapers and author of more than 20 collections of art, poetry and prayer, Michael Leunig has stirred the social conscience of Australians with his sometimes quirky, but always insightful drawings,” Professor Sheehan said. “Michael has the innate ability to challenge the worst of human folly through his colourful and irreverent art, while still expressing all the joy, fun and emotional poignancy of human life. It is this talent that led the Archbishop of Canterbury to refer to him as a ‘most penetrating spiritual commentator’.

“As with all artistic expression, Michael’s work is sometimes misinterpreted or misunderstood, but his champions far outweigh his critics.  This is evidenced by the use of his work in the 2006 Commonwealth Games opening ceremony in Melbourne; in the 1999 stamp series The Teapot of Truth, commissioned by Australia Post; and in the award-winning SBS animated television series Leunig Moments.

“Michael Leunig was declared a National Living Treasure in 1999 and Tuesday’s presentation is further testament to his contributions to the cultural life of his country. For his services to the arts, to public discourse, and to promoting a greater understanding of who we are as a people, Michael is a highly deserving recipient of ACU’s highest honour.”

ACU’s Melbourne Campus, located in Fitzroy on the city’s CBD fringe, has more than 2,500 students enrolled in academic programs in arts, business, education, exercise science, information systems, midwifery, nursing, music, philosophy, psychology, social science and theology.

Australian Catholic University (ACU) – established as Australia’s only Catholic, national, publicly funded university – is open to all. The University empowers its students and staff with a strong sense of social responsibility and concern for the moral and ethical dimensions of their study and their professional and personal lives.