Honorary Doctor of Laws

Thursday 5 July, 2012

“The conferring of the degree of Doctor of Laws (honoris causa) is the highest honour the University can bestow upon an individual: an honour infrequently proposed and sparingly given.”

Elizabeth A. Alexander AM, Chancellor


On a wintery afternoon in July, esteemed members of the University community  donned their academic and ceremonial gowns, moved from the robing room, and gathered under the cloisters of the old quadrangle. Lining the walkway they created a sea of rich red and black velvet. This was the University history and ceremony at its finest. And it was mesmerising for onlookers. The pageantry and protocol of the event matched in even amount by the collective history and significance of the group.

It was impossible not to be caught up in this historic moment in the University’s life. Watching as the group congregated in preparation for their procession to Melba Hall there was an overwhelming sense that this was something really special. Even the most seasoned academic leaders seemed genuinely excited to be part of the event.

In the presence of the Chancellor, Elizabeth Alexander and the Vice-Chancellor, Professor Glyn Davis, Members of Council, University Deans and academic heads leaders were invited to celebrate the conferring of the degree of Doctor of Laws on seven truly outstanding individuals.

This historic event, part of the Melbourne Medical School’s 150th Anniversary, celebrated the life and contributions of Professors Peter Charles Doherty AC, David Morritz de Kretser AC, Thomas John Martin AO, Peter John Morris AC, Fiona Juliet Stanley AC, Hugh Ringwald Taylor AC, Judith Ann Whitworth AC.

They gathered on the stage at Melba Hall, in front of an audience peppered with family, friends and colleagues who listened intently as Deputy Vice-President of the Academic Board, Professor Rachel Webster delivered their citations.

Collectively the seven have made an indelible mark on the health landscape and Australia’s health and wellbeing.

It was a joy for the audience to listen to the citations and an insight into the illustrious careers of award recipients (transcripts of the citations are available at http://medicine150.mdhs.unimelb.edu.au/honours-accolades ).

View the photo gallery here.