17 December 2021Share
Australian Catholic University has awarded its highest honour, an honorary doctorate, to its long-serving former Vice-Chancellor and President Professor Greg Craven during graduation ceremonies in Sydney.
The university recognised Professor Craven for his leadership and contribution during his 13-year reign as Vice-Chancellor and President which guided ACU through a period of growth to transform it into a university of global prominence.
ACU is now ranked as one of the top 10 Catholic universities globally.
Among Professor Craven’s notable achievements was oversight of the university’s expansion strategy. ACU grew from a modest teaching university to rank first, or equal first, for 10 research fields, according to the ARC Excellence in Research for Australia assessment 2019.
Under his tenure, ACU also established its first international campus in Rome, saw significant growth in student enrolments and expanded its research capabilities forming five new centres, and four new clinical schools.
However, it was his mission to provide greater university access to traditionally under-represented groups that remains close to his heart.
Recognising the role that Catholic education played in his fate, Professor Craven devoted many years to creating educational opportunities for others. He came from humble Irish origins but was able to break the cycle of poverty that mired his ancestors.
ACU Vice-Chancellor and President Professor Zlatko Skrbis said his legacy would live on in the students who, through Catholic education, gained a world of opportunity, earning a better life for themselves, their families, and future generations.
“Professor Craven enthusiastically engaged this university in a worthy mission: to provide greater university access to traditionally under-represented groups because he understands the power of education and the difference it can make,” Professor Skrbis said.
“He has devoted many years of his life to creating educational opportunities for others.”
It is also in this spirit that he approached his role as a leader at ACU, going out of his way to create opportunities for others and leading with great energy, wisdom and passion, Professor Skrbis said.
“The service that he has given to this university, to the higher education sector, and to wider society in Australia and beyond, is extremely admirable. It is rare. And it deserves to be honoured,” he said.
“Adding an honorary Doctor of Laws to his distinctions is a fitting tribute for the Vice Chancellor and President who helped make the university what it is today and who has contributed a great deal to Catholic education.”
While honouring Professor Craven for his contribution to ACU, Professor Skrbis said it was equally important to acknowledge the significant impact he has made beyond the university.
A leading constitutional scholar, Professor Craven has advised Australian and state governments, and served on numerous Catholic boards, from the National Catholic Education Commission to the Truth, Justice and Healing Council. He is a Knight Grand Cross of the Order of St Gregory, one of the highest honours in the Catholic Church, and an Officer of the Order of Australia.
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