Former Queensland Premier Anna Bligh and the Artistic Director of the Queensland Ballet, Li Cunxin, are among five people to receive honorary doctorates at Griffith University graduation ceremonies to be held next week.
Queensland Judge Fleur Kingham, theatre producer John Frost and Mrs Mary Roosevelt, an international educator and US Patron of the Griffith’s Institute for Glycomics Childhood Leukaemia project, and will also receive the title of Doctor of the University.
More than 2300 Griffith students will receive their degrees over three days of graduation ceremonies to be held at the Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre on July 18-19 and at the Gold Coast Convention and Exhibition Centre on July 22.
For Li it has a been a big few weeks with a dancing spider named after him—the Maratus licunxin. Queensland Museum scientist Dr Barbara Baehr, who found the spider was inspired to name the spider in honour of Li after she took her daughter to the ballet.
The doctorates will be conferred by University Chancellor Mr Henry Smerdon AM DUniv with all five recipients to be guest speakers.
The former Premier of Queensland and current Chief Executive Officer, YWCA, NSW will be honoured for her diverse and distinguished service to the community, social reform, and equity, and leadership.
Prior to entering politics in 1995, Anna Bligh worked in multiple community and social welfare organisations focused on children, young families and mothers.
Ms Bligh demonstrated exceptional leadership, during the Queensland flood and storm disasters in 2011-2012 and subsequently oversaw the reconstruction of homes, businesses and infrastructure.
She set many firsts in her career including as the first female Premier of Queensland and the first female Education Minister. During that time she made significant changes for the better in the areas of social reform, environment and in governance and accountability.
Ms Bligh also drove significant policy reforms particularly in the early childhood learning areas as well as initiating the Commission of Inquiry into Abuse of Children in Queensland Institutions, known as the Forde Inquiry.
Ms Bligh will receive her honorary doctorate at the Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre on Monday, July 18
Li Cunxin, who penned his remarkable memoirs entitled Mao’s Last Dancer, which became one of the highest grossing Australian films, will be honoured for his service to ballet, the arts, and the wider community.
Li, acknowledged as one of the best dancers of his generation, has had a tremendous impact on Australian ballet.
In his current role, as Artistic Director of the Queensland Ballet, the company has grown significantly in audience numbers, subscribers, box office, and the scope of sponsorship and philanthropy.
He has also served as Principal Artist with the Australian Ballet as well as serving on its board.
Li has also served as board member of the Bionics Institute and has helped to raise the institute’s profile as well as much-needed funds for research into medical bionic devices.
He was also awarded Australian Father of the Year in 2009 and was named Queensland’s National Finalist for Australian of the Year in 2014.
Also, this week Li had a dancing spider named after him—the Maratus licunxin. Queensland Museum scientist Dr Barbara Baehr, who found the spider, was inspired to name the spider in honour of Li after she took her daughter to the ballet.
Li will receive his honorary doctorate at the Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre on Tuesday, July 19.
Judge Fleur Kingham
Judge Kingham will receive her honorary doctorate in recognition of her distinguished service to the legal profession, Griffith University, and the wider community.
Judge Kingham helped transform the Queensland legal system through the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal and was responsible for amalgamating the jurisdictions of 23 bodies into a single one-stop shop, allowing people easier access to legal services.
She was co-founder of the Women’s Legal Service in Brisbane and was awarded the Agnes McWhinney Award by the Queensland Law Society in recognition of her significant contribution to making justice more accessible to the community, and bridging the gap between land and resources issues and Indigenous communities
Judge Kingham has contributed to the intellectual life and strategic direction of the Griffith Law School over many years and is a long-standing member of the Law School’s Visiting Committee. Recently, she was appointed to the Griffith Criminology Institute Industry and Advisory Board
Judge Kingham will receive her honorary doctorate at the Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre on Monday, July 18.
Mrs Mary Roosevelt will receive her honorary doctorate in recognition of her service to education, to the community, and to the University.
She has taught and developed teaching curriculums around the world, including as Principal of the Junior House at the United Nations International School in New York.
She will deliver a speech on “Courage, Fear and Common Sense” including surviving being held at gunpoint after a coup in Ghana.
Mrs Roosevelt life has been one of exploration and a quest to improve education around the world. She contributed to an “International Primary School Curriculum”, which today is known as the “Primary Years Program”, and is part of the International Baccalaureate program, which is taught in 4000 schools around the world.
Mrs Roosevelt, who is the widow of the late James Roosevelt, son of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, has never been one to accept poor teaching outcomes.
Griffith University has also benefited from her tireless efforts. Mrs Roosevelt is a member of the Friends of Griffith Board, which fosters stronger ties with American philanthropists and foundations.
In 2008 she was awarded an Honorary Fellowship by the Glycomics Institute and has been US Patron of the Institute’s Childhood Leukaemia project.
Mrs Roosevelt will receive her honorary doctorate on Friday, July 22, at a ceremony at the Gold Coast Convention and Exhibition Centre.
John Frost has been recognised for services to the performing arts and to the university.
For almost five decades Mr Frost has been working, staging and producing theatre productions.
In the 2014 Queen’s Birthday Honours he was awarded an AM for his contribution to the arts.
Mr Frost was also recognised for his outstanding contribution to the Australian live entertainment and performing arts industry with the prestigious JC Williamson Award at the 2014 Helpmann Awards.