ACU to honour 'fearless' former public servant

Sunday, 6 May 2007

Sydney, 7 May, 2007: Australian Catholic University (ACU) will award former New South Wales Premier’s Department head Gerald Gleeson AC KCSG with its highest honour, Doctor of the University (Honoris Causa), at its Sydney ceremony for graduating Arts and Sciences students tomorrow.

More than 304 students from ACU’s North Sydney (MacKillop) and Strathfield (Mount Saint Mary) Campuses will graduate at the Sydney Town Hall ceremony, with Mr Gleeson providing the occasional address to graduates.

ACU Vice-Chancellor Professor Peter Sheehan AO said Gerald Gleeson has given truly outstanding service to education and to the people of New South Wales.

“Gerald Gleeson has made an extraordinary contribution to public administration.  Highlights include his 11-year period as head of the NSW Premier’s Department and his induction into the prestigious Institute of Public Administration as a Fellow of the Institute; and he has been a Companion of the Order of Australia since 1989.” Professor Sheehan.

“Gerald Gleeson’s wisdom, counsel, fearless advice and sound judgement have led successive governments to appoint him to numerous high-profile public positions. These include leadership of the Royal Australian Institute of Public Administration, the Australian Bicentennial Authority and membership of the Council of the Order of Australia.

“In the business world, Gerald Gleeson has served as Chairman of the Sydney Entertainment Centre and as a Director of both the Commonwealth Bank and the St George Foundation. Given his background as a teacher and an advocate for higher education, Australian Catholic University was honoured to have him as one of its Senators.

“Throughout his distinguished career, Gerry Gleeson has always kept the teachings of the Catholic Church at the heart of his decisions and actions. Importantly, he has sought to involve all stakeholders in the development of Church life and its governance, and he continues to act as the patron of a number of Church-based charitable organisations. He is a most deserving recipient of this honour.”

Also receiving Honorary Doctorates tomorrow are aged care advocate Susanne Macri AM and theologian Reverend Dr John Thornhill SM. Ms Macri and Dr Thornhill will receive their awards at the Health Sciences and Education graduation ceremonies respectively.

ACU’s North Sydney and Strathfield Campuses have a combined enrolment of more than 3,700 students. The North Sydney Campus offers academic programs in nursing, business, information systems and environmental science, while the Strathfield Campus offers 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.