Triple treat: Griffith celebrates new graduates, new Honorary Doctors and new Chancellor

Five new Honorary Doctorates, 4,904 graduating students and Griffith’s first alumnus Chancellor, Andrew Fraser, have all been acknowledged in ceremonies across Brisbane and the Gold Coast this week.

In ceremonies taking place between November 12-15, students received their Bachelor, Masters, and Doctorate degrees across all four academic groups of Arts, Education and Law, Griffith Business School, Griffith Health and Griffith Sciences.

Andrew Fraser was also installed at a ceremony in Brisbane on Tuesday, 13 December as Griffith University’s sixth Chancellor, succeeding Mr Henry Smerdon DUniv AM who retired in September.

Griffith University Chancellor Andrew Fraser and Vice Chancellor and President Professor Carolyn Evans
Griffith University Chancellor Andrew Fraser and Vice Chancellor and President Professor Carolyn Evans

Growing up in Proserpine in North Queensland, Chancellor Fraser is a University Medallist and graduated with a Bachelor of Laws/Bachelor of Commerce (First Class Honours) in 1999 and joined the University Council in 2017 before being elected Deputy Chancellor last year.

Reflecting on his time at Griffith University, Chancellor Fraser remembers fondly the pull and cyclical nature that studying at Griffith had on his career in Queensland politics and his ascension to be the sixth Chancellor.

“It has come almost the full circle, I like to say that more than anyone or anything Griffith has described the arc of my adult life,” Chancellor Fraser said.

“I want to contribute to the benefit of others, and to the enduring nature of Griffith as a force for good before I close out the circle.”

In a serendipitous moment reflecting the cyclical nature of Griffith, Chancellor Fraser’s Mace-Bearer at the installation ceremony was appointed by long time mentor, educator and friend, Professor Haig Patapan who taught him in the 1990s as well as current Federal Treasurer Jim Chalmers and current undergraduate representative of the University Council, Renee Medland.

As Chancellor Fraser said, he met political colleagues Jim Chalmers and Renee Medland at Griffith University and their friendship and collegiate spirit have continued.

Griffith University Chancellor Andrew Fraser donning his ceremonial robes courtesy of Federal Treasurer and Griffith University alumnus, The Honourable Dr Jim Chalmers

“Jim is a former student and Renee is a current student — in fact they are both very good students, and equally embody the values of Griffith,” Chancellor Fraser said.

“The other thing they have in common is that I met them both at Griffith. One more than 25 years ago and the other much more recently.”

“Renee serves on the Council as a student elected representative and graduated on Monday, November 12th so she was one of the first people to graduate at a ceremony in which I presided as Chancellor.”

Another major influence on Chancellor Fraser as a young student was Professor Haig Patapan of Griffith University School of Government and International Relations.

Professor Patapan reflected on his time as a young academic and remembers Chancellor Fraser as a naturally bright, diligent student that possessed an openness and insatiable curiosity.

“I recall he was an excellent student and I especially remember his insightful questions in the political philosophy class that I taught, where he was fascinated with all the great thinkers, but especially Aristotle, “ Professor Patapan said.

“Andrew has exceptional ability and a mind keen for knowledge so I suspect he would excel in whatever course he pursued. I’m happy that his time at Griffith helped him pursue his dreams and ambitions.”

Griffith University’s Sixth Chancellor, Andrew Fraser receives the Ceremonial Mace from Professor Haig Patapan

Professor Patapan as Mace-bearer was a crucial part of the ceremony on Tuesday, and he said it was a proud moment to help install the first Griffith alumnus as Chancellor.

Griffith University also awarded five Honorary Doctorates to recipients that have made a significant contribution to society in areas such as sport, politics, arts and conservation.

Details below:

Else Shepherd AM – In 2022, Mrs Else Shepherd AM was proclaimed a Queensland Great, a prestigious honour recognising her contribution in two fields — engineering and music. To achieve excellence in one endeavour is admirable enough. To do so in two is a rarity, one that warrants further exploration into what has been an extraordinary life.

Karl Morris AO – There can be no understating the breadth of achievement and influence demonstrated over many years by Mr Karl Morris AO. In business and finance, sport, education and philanthropy, his contribution has been formidable, and is ongoing.As CEO and Managing Director of Ord Minnett Ltd, Mr Morris is at the helm of one of Australia’s largest and most successful wealth management groups.

Tony Albert – The art of Mr Tony Albert is provocative, powerful and political, befitting someone who has been described as a cultural warrior. One of the most esteemed contemporary Indigenous artists working in Australia today, he is driven to challenge stereotypical representations of Aboriginal people and the colonial history that attempts to define him.

Ann Robilotta-Glenister OAM – In an ageing society, the quality of life among the elderly is one of our most important responsibilities and greatest challenges.
For almost the entirety of her working life, Ms Ann Robilotta-Glenister OAM has acted and delivered upon a heartfelt commitment to aged care. Furthermore, her contribution has extended to other areas of service, including children’s charities, community banking, and as a wise and influential supporter of Griffith University.

Dr Jennifer Cronin – For almost four decades, Dr Jennifer Cronin has been a major figure in the Australian and Asian hotel, hospitality and tourism sector. Born in 1959, Dr Cronin grew up on a pig farm at Beenleigh — a long way from the career that would ultimately unfold. Her high school years included a Rotary Exchange to Kariya Senior High School in Japan, igniting her desire to pursue a career in Asia.