Human Rights leader honoured by Griffith with DUniv

Mr Kevin Cocks AM receives his DUniv from Chancellor Henry Smerdon AM

One of Australia’s leading advocates for people with a disability and a former Anti-Discrimination Commissioner has received an honorary doctorate from Griffith University.

Mr Kevin Cocks AM was bestowed the honour of the title Doctor of the University (DUniv) at the 2019 Mid Year Graduation Ceremony at the Gold Coast

Dedicating his adult life to advancing the cause of human rights, including people with a disability, Mr Cocks AM has been a tireless advocate since 1981 when as a 21 year-old, he suffered a C5 fracture playing country rugby.

After receiving a Master of Social Welfare, Administration and Planning, a long and distinguished career in the advocacy sector ensued breaking down barriers and helping dismantle institutionalised discrimination through legislative reform. His outstanding public service work culminated in becoming Queensland’s Anti-Discrimination Commissioner in 2011, staying in the role for seven years.

Mr Cocks AM also played a key role in the establishment and implementation of the National Disability Insurance Scheme and continues to serve on the NDIS Independent Advisory Council.

Today, he currently is at the forefront of developing the state’s integrated accessible transport network as Executive General Manager of Accessible Transport, Department of Main Roads and Transport.

Ian Alderdice receives his DUniv from Chancellor Henry Smerdon AM

His involvement with Griffith spans more than 20 years. Currently the patron of The Hopkins Center within the Menzies Health Institute Queensland, he leads a passionate team of ambassadors promoting crucial disability and rehabilitation research.

Also receiving the honour of the title Doctor of the University was Mr Ian Alderdice, a member of Council of Griffith University for more than fourteen years from 2003 to 2017.

Dr Alderdice gave unyielding service to the University’s Legislation Committee, the Council Nominations Committee and the Appeals Committee. He also served as Chair of the Misconduct Appeals Committee and is an Adjunct Professor at Griffith Law School.

Receiving the honour of the title Doctor of the University at the Brisbane Graduation Ceremony was Dr Erna Witoelar, a leading Indonesian politician and UN Special Ambassador for the Millenium Development Goals. Dr Witoelar was also the former Co-Chair of Earth Charter International Council.

(L-R) VC Professor Carolyn Evans, Dr Erna Witoelar, Professor Caitlin Byrne, Chancellor Henry Smerdon AM

Recognised as a ‘Queensland Great’ by Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk, Gail Ker OAM has also been honoured by Griffith for her outstanding community efforts, particularly in the Logan and surrounding regions.

Griffith DUniv recipient Gail Ker OAM

The CEO of Access Community Services since 2006, Ms Ker OAM leads the award-winning community-based organisation providing settlement, employment, support training housing and social enterprise for Australian-born clients, migrants and refugees.

A Griffith alumna, Ms Ker OAM was back on stage receiving the honour of the title Doctor of the University 17 years after graduating with a bachelor of Vocational and Adult Training.