Top diplomat honoured with Griffith DUniv

Vice Chancellor and President Professor Carolyn Evans, Jeff Bleich DUniv and Chancellor Henry Smerdon AM DUniv.

One of the United States’ most respected diplomats has received an honorary doctorate from Griffith University.

Former U.S Ambassador to Australia, His Excellency Mr Jeff Bleich, was bestowed the title Doctor of the University (DUniv) at the Griffith’s End of Year Graduation Ceremony.

Senior Deputy Vice Chancellor Debra Henly, Professor Emeritus Ian O’Connor AM and Chancellor Henry Smerdon AM DUniv.

Widely regarded as one of North America’s finest lawyers Mr Jeff Bleich has devoted much of his life to advancing international understanding around the world.

During this journey Mr Bleich has served in the White House as Special Counsel to Barack Obama and the 24th United States Ambassador to Australia.

During his time in Canberra, the 58 year-old oversaw record growth in trade and investment between the two countries and was described as “the best U.S. Ambassador ever sent to Australia” by former Prime Minister Paul Keating.

For his service he received several honours, including the highest award for a non-career ambassador, the Sue Cobb Prize for Exemplary Diplomatic Service.

Griffith University Vice Chancellor and President Professor Carolyn Evans said it was an honour to present His Excellency Mr Jeff Bleich for admission to the Degree of Doctor of the University.

Ian Stewart APM DUniv.

“A critical voice of our time, Mr Bleich has dedicated three decades to meeting the needs of the neglected and vulnerable,” the Vice Chancellor said.

“It is fitting that Griffith University should honour His Excellency Mr Jeff Bleich in recognition of his distinguished service to the University and to the international community.”

The diplomat was kind enough to share some of his wisdom and advice with the graduating class of 2019 on the topics of work, money, health, improvement and relationships.

“You earn a living by what you get; you create a life by what you give,” he said.

“Step forward, reach out, and promise yourself to love.”

Vice Chancellor and President Professor Carolyn Evans, Tisa Ho DUniv and Chancellor Henry Smerdon AM DUniv.

Also receiving an Honourary Doctorate was Professor Emeritus Ian O’Connor AC. This was in recognition of the Professor’s service to Griffith University and his ongoing contributions to higher education in Australia.

The honour coincided with the recent naming of the Griffith Health Centre (G40) which is now the Ian O’Connor Building, another honour recognising his profound impact on Griffith University.

Other recipients of the Degree of Doctor of the University include; Tisa Ho, Ian Stewart APM and Jennifer Cullen who have all been recognised for their exceptional service to Griffith University and the wider community.

Tisa Ho has been the Executive Director of the Hong Kong Arts Festival (HKAF) since 2006, innovating the scale and scope of the HKAF programming. Tisa has also been influential in policy and infrastructure planning for Singapore’s Esplanade as well as helping establish the Alliance of Asia-Pacific Region Orchestras.

Vice Chancellor and President Professor Carolyn Evans, Jennifer Cullen and Chancellor Henry Smerdon AM DUniv.

Ian Stewart APM was the 19th Commissioner of the Queensland Police Service (QPS). Ian is a career police officer with over 45 years of service, attaining many prestigious awards and accolades, including the Australian Police Medal, National Police Service Medal, Commissioner’s Award for Meritorious Service and Queensland Police 150 years Citation.

Jennifer Cullen is a proud descendent of the Wakka Wakka and Bidjara people, who has accumulated over 27 years of experience in the disability and aged care services industry. As the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Synapse, the national body for brain injury in Australia, Jennifer leads a range of research and projects that focus on supporting Indigenous Australians with complex neurocognitive disabilities.