ACU graduation to honour 'people's theologian'

Thursday, 5 March 2015

Sydney, 7 May 2007: Australian Catholic University (ACU) will award leading theologian Reverend Dr John Thornhill SM with its highest honour, Doctor of the University (Honoris Causa), at its Sydney ceremony for graduating Education students tomorrow.

More than 380 students from ACU’s Strathfield Campus (Mount Saint Mary) will graduate at the Sydney Town Hall ceremony, with Dr Thornhill providing the occasional address to graduates.

ACU Vice-Chancellor Professor Peter Sheehan AO said Dr Thornhill had made theology extraordinarily accessible to Australians from all walks of life.

“John Thornhill is one of Australia’s foremost theologians; a quiet, unassuming man who has affected real and lasting social change during a career spanning more than 50 years,” Professor Sheehan said.

“John is the author of six books including Making Australia, which was shortlisted for the Order of Australia Literary Award in 1992. He is also a founding member, past president and life member of the Australian Theological Association. In 1980, he was appointed by Pope John Paul II to the International Theological Commission.

“Australian Catholic University is delighted to bestow its highest honour upon Dr Thornhill in recognition of his major contribution to adult faith education through the disciplines of philosophy and theology.  His parish-based community work with the migrants of Melbourne’s western suburbs, his long and outstanding teaching career, and his commitment to making the teachings of the Church accessible to as many people as possible, are testimony to his deep commitment to the intellectual development of the Catholic church.”

Also receiving Honorary Doctorates tomorrow are former New South Wales Premier’s Department head Gerald Gleeson AC KCSG and aged care advocate Susanne Macri AM. Mr Gleeson and Ms Macri will receive their awards at the Arts & Sciences and Health Sciences graduation ceremonies respectively.

ACU’s Strathfield Campus, situated 15km west of Sydney’s centre, has more than 2,300 students enrolled in academic programs in arts, education, exercise science, social work 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.