Dr Nancy Underhill will be awarded an Honorary Doctorate from Griffith University for her achievement and service within the Australian and international visual arts community.
Born in New York, Dr Underhill has a Bachelor of Arts from Bryn Mawr College in Pennsylvania, and was awarded a Fulbright Scholarship and completed a Masters of Philosophy at the Courtauld Institute of Art within the University of London. Her doctorate from Melbourne University concerned Australian Art patronage between 1916 and 1950.
Since arriving in Australia in 1963 she tutored and lectured in History at The University of Queensland, before becoming Foundation Head of the Department of Art History and inaugural Director of the University Art Museum.
Dr Underhill developed the first full year course on the History of Australian Art, the first practical curatorial training for undergraduates, as well as The Visiting Scholar Scheme to bring distinguished international experts to teach a full term course in the Department.
She has written two books, curated several exhibitions including for London Eureka (Artists from Australia), and is currently commissioned to write a biography of the complex and innovative artist, Sidney Nolan.
Dr Underhill has served on the Visual Arts Board Australia Council, the National Cultural Heritage Commission and as Chair of Art History Association.
She is a long standing Director of Opera Queensland, and since it foundation in 2011, works for the Lisa Gasteen National Opera School based at the Queensland Conservatorium Griffith University.
She will receive her Honorary Directorate of the University from Chancellor Leneen Forde, AC, at 3.00pm on Tuesday 17 December at the Brisbane Convention Centre.