Elise Pitt

UOW honours its ‘magnificent seven’

Seven high profile individuals, bearing strong links with Wollongong, were acknowledged for their outstanding achievements with honorary doctorates from the University of Wollongong (UOW) this week.

As UOW rewarded the efforts of about 3,500 graduands at the summer graduation season, it also heralded in seven new honoraries who have strong ties to the Wollongong region.

It was truly a case of local boy made good, for example, with recipients such as former Port Kembla resident David Hurley – now General Hurley and Chief of the Defence Force.

The honorary doctorates were awarded to: Mr Mark Cutifani (CEO of AngloAmerican at 16 December afternoon ceremony); Professor John Hogg (posthumous award for Foundation Dean of the Graduate School of Medicine at UOW at 17 December afternoon ceremony); General David Hurley (Chief of the Defence Force at 17 December evening ceremony); Professor Mary O’Kane (NSW Chief Scientist and Engineer at 18 December afternoon ceremony); Professor Tom Johansen (Professor of Advanced Materials and Complex Systems in the Department of Physics at the University of Oslo in Norway at 18 December evening ceremony); Justice Virginia Bell (Justice of the High Court of Australia at 19 December morning ceremony); and Mr Christopher Abbott (businessman and philanthropist at 19 December afternoon ceremony).

The Chief Executive of Anglo American, one of the world’s largest mining companies, Mark Cutifani, was awarded an Honorary Doctor of Business Administration degree.

With operations in Africa, Asia, Australasia, Europe, North America and South America, Anglo American employs more than 100,000 people mining copper, diamonds, iron ore, nickel, platinum and coal.

Dr Cutifani’s journey to this esteemed position began when he began his education in mining engineering on a part-time basis at UOW while working at the Coalcliff colliery.

He graduated from UOW in 1982 with a first class honours degree in mining engineering. During the course of his study at Wollongong, Dr Cutifani won numerous awards; including the Western Mining Corporation award for best second year student in a mining engineering course in 1980, and an award for best thesis in 1982. He was also a recipient of the Atlas Copco Travelling Bursary, an honour bestowed on only one student in Australasia a year.

Following his graduation, Dr Cutifani pursued a career with many of Australia’s largest and most innovative mining companies. He was recognised by his employers as having a particular talent for problem solving. To this end, he was quick to harness the University’s capabilities by engaging mining engineering academics in short term research projects. Dr Cutifani also kept up his association with the science and study of mining by assisting and training University of Wollongong students during the summer vacation training program of mining engineering students.

In 2003, Dr Cutifani embarked on an international career with Vale, AngloGold Ashanti and, most recently, Anglo American. Nationally and internationally, he has had a powerful impact on mine education through his involvement with numerous international education programs and institutions in Brazil, South Africa, the US and Canada. Dr Cutifani is currently the Chairperson of the World Mining Congress. He has published several scholarly papers and is a strong global advocate for the mining industry.

Dr Cutifani also has a particular interest in workplace safety and a passion for the safety of his work mates, which has remained with him throughout his career.

The late Emeritus Professor John Hogg was awarded a posthumous Honorary Doctor of Science degree.

UOW began working toward the establishment of a Graduate School of Medicine in June 2003. The core of this project was active engagement by community-based doctors in the training of doctors who have the desire and skills required to work in remote, rural and regional areas. The appointment of John Hogg as Foundation Dean of the University’s new Medical School in 2004 was crucial for the successful launch of a unique model of medical education.

Professor Hogg graduated from his medical degree at the University of Sydney and undertook his residency at the Royal Prince Alfred Hospital followed by specialist training in surgery in the UK. He chose to interweave his formal training with experience as a rural GP and in research and remote practice with the Australian National Antarctic Research Expedition at Mawson Base in Antarctica evidencing his passion for achievement, social contribution and adventure.

In 1977, Professor Hogg was appointed as a Consultant General and Vascular Surgeon in the Illawarra and went on to become a leading member of the region’s medical and business communities. He served on and chaired influential medical committees and established two medically-related businesses including Illawarra Occupational Health.

When Professor Hogg took up the challenge of establishing the Graduate School of Medicine in 2004, he faced a gruelling schedule of negotiation and consultation with his medical colleagues as well as learning the specific rules, procedures and idiosyncrasies of academic life.

He possessed a high level of personal courage and commitment to service that was shown most vividly in Bali in 2002 when, assisted by his wife Linda, Professor Hogg treated an unknown number of patients; a great many of whom were seriously wounded during the Bali bombings. For their outstanding service, John and Linda were awarded Order of Australia Medals.

The Hogg Family has established the Emeritus Professor John Hogg Memorial Scholarship to assist well rounded, community minded students with their studies at the Graduate School of Medicine.

The Chief of the Australian Defence Force, General David Hurley, was awarded an Honorary Doctor of Letters degree.

With around 80,000 personnel under his command (including reservists) and a budget of over $25 billion, he is managing one of the largest business operations in Australia.

David Hurley is a local boy made good. The son of Norma and James Hurley, an Illawarra steelworker, he grew up in Port Kembla and attended the local high school.

General Hurley has had an outstanding military career. Graduating from the Royal Military College, Duntroon into the Royal Australian Infantry Corps, he served in the Royal Australian Regiment and early in his career went on an exchange with the 1st Battalion Irish Guards of the British Army.

General Hurley served in Malaysia as a Mechanised Infantry Adviser with the Australian Army Project Team Malaysia, and as a Lieutenant Colonel commanded the 1st Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment, during which time he led the battalion group for Operation SOLACE in Somalia.

Following this command appointment, General Hurley attended the United States Army War College, returning to a posting as Military Secretary to Army. Promoted to Brigadier in 1999, he assumed command of the 1st Brigade in Darwin, overseeing its transition to operational readiness and support of Australian-led operations in East Timor.

General Hurley has served as Director General Land Development, Head Capability Systems and Land Commander Australia. At the end of 2003 he was promoted to Lieutenant General as Chief of Capability Development Group, and in 2007 he was appointed Chief Joint Operations Command. He became Vice Chief of the Defence Force in 2008.

General Hurley has received several honours and awards, nationally and internationally, among them the Distinguished Service Cross for his service in Somalia during Operation SOLACE, an Order of Australia in 2004 for distinguished service, leadership and management, the Companion of the Order of Australia for eminent service to the Australian Defence Force in 2010 and the United States’ Commander of the Legion of Merit in 2012.

Reflecting on his four-decade military career at the Illawarra Connection Dinner last year, General Hurley credited his success to the multicultural society he grew up in in the Illawarra and a great education.

The NSW Chief Scientist and Engineer, Professor Mary O’Kane, received an Honorary Doctor of Science degree.

Professor O’Kane was Vice-Chancellor and President of the University of Adelaide from 1996 to 2001 and Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research) from 1994 to 1996. Before that, she was Dean of the Faculty of Information Sciences and Engineering at the University of Canberra, as well as Professor of Electrical and Electronic Engineering.

Professor O’Kane is also a company director and Executive Chairman of Mary O’Kane & Associates, a company focused on knowledge-transmission and knowledge-transformation. Through her consultancy, Professor O’Kane advises governments, universities and the private sector on innovation, research, education and development. She has been a member of a number of high-level committees, including the Australian Research Council and was a panellist for the Federal Government's Review of the National Innovation System. Professor O’Kane’s impressive career has grown from a life-long love of mathematics and science.

Professor O’Kane studied at the University of Queensland where she read physics and mathematics. In 1982, she completed her PhD at the Australian National University on automated speech recognition, an area that was cutting edge in the days before desktops, laptops or touch screens. In the years that followed, Professor O’Kane published more than 100 articles, setting the tone for her intense engagement with science and science management in Australia.

Her steadfast belief in the central role of science in the public and private sectors continues to this day, despite Professor O’Kane’s many commitments. She is Chair of a number of boards, a director of numerous companies and was Chair of the Australian Centre for Renewable Energy from 2010 to 2012. Professor O’Kane is also strong supporter of research at UOW. She has assisted with review and development of Centres of Excellence, the selection of research strengths, and has provided guidance on critical research appointments including selection of the Global Challenges Leaders. Furthermore, she made a significant contribution to UOW through her membership of the Board of the ITC. Now called UOW Enterprises, the ITC overseas the University of Wollongong in Dubai and the University of Wollongong College.

An internationally renowned researcher who has become a partner and a friend of the University of Wollongong, Professor Tom Johansen, was awarded an Honorary Doctor of Science degree.

He is an international authority on magneto-optical imaging in regard to superconductors, magnetic materials, and bio-magnetic applications. He has made critical contributions to the advancement of research into superconductors and superconductivity and has been in partnership with the University of Wollongong’s Institute for Superconducting and Electronic Materials for the past 15 years. During this, he has been dedicated to the establishment and operation of a state-of-the-art magneto-optical imaging facility.

The expertise that Professor Johansen has provided has been invaluable in building an outstanding research culture, bringing knowledge and skills which he has generously shared with UOW research students and Institute members. He has been a distinguished mentor for Institute staff members; on numerous occasions assisting the Institute to promote new collaborations, strengthen existing projects, and achieve outstanding research results in this field.

Professor Johansen has been a principal investigator on several Commonwealth funded research projects and participated extensively in student exchange programs. His contribution was recognised by the Australian Research Council in 2009 when he was granted an International Fellowship.

Some of Professor Johansen’s earliest work on magnetic levitation was highlighted in Nature Magazine and he was awarded the 1993 Norwegian IBM Prize in Solid State Physics for this research. In 2003 his work using magneto-optical imaging was directly connected to the 2003 Nobel Prize in Physics and he has collaborated with 1987 Nobel Laureate K. Alex Mueller working on high temperature superconductivity.

Professor Johansen is a member of the Norwegian/European Physical Society, American Physics Society and is elected fellow of The Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters and The Royal Norwegian Society of Science and Letters. He has been organiser and co-organizer of numerous symposia, conferences and international meetings. He has a publication portfolio of more than 815 publications.

Since first visiting Australia in 1998, and Wollongong in 2004, Professor Johansen has become a valued colleague and an enthusiastic guide for staff and students.

Justice Virginia Bell who sits on the High Court of Australia was awarded an Honorary Doctor of Laws degree.

Justice Bell was appointed to the High Court of Australia in 2009, becoming the fourth woman in history to serve on Australia’s highest court. Prior to this, she had an impressive legal career as a community lawyer, barrister, public defender, senior counsel, law reform commissioner and Supreme Court judge.

Justice Bell was educated at the Sydney Church of England Girls Grammar School. She was an outstanding student and a talented actress. She studied law at the University of Sydney, graduating in 1977, and was soon after admitted as a solicitor in New South Wales.

She began her legal career as a volunteer at the newly established Redfern Legal Centre. During her seven years at the legal centre, she was involved in landmark civil liberties cases and was a driving force behind establishing the Prisoners’ Legal Service. Notably, Justice Bell represented 58 people arrested at the first Sydney Gay & Lesbian Mardi Gras in 1978 and prepared a video for the 1979 march, advising participants of their rights and about how to avoid being arrested.

She began working as a barrister in 1984, joining Frederick Jordan Chambers. In 1986, she was appointed a NSW public defender. During this time, she consolidated her reputation as a strong advocate with a forensic legal mind and an unwavering commitment to social justice. In 1995, she became counsel assisting the Wood Royal Commission, which exposed endemic corruption in the NSW police force. She took silk in 1997. In 1999, she was sworn is as a Judge of the Supreme Court of NSW and was elevated to the Court of Appeal in 2008.

Justice Bell was appointed a Companion of the Order of Australia in 2012, the citation noting her eminent service to the judiciary and to the law through leadership in criminal law reform and public policy development, to judicial administration, and as an advocate for the economically and socially disadvantaged.

In addition to her accomplishments at the bar and on the bench, Justice Bell has had a long-standing association with the University of Wollongong. Her father, Captain John Bell, was Estate Manager when UOW first became an autonomous institution and was responsible for much of the design and layout of the Wollongong Campus. John Bell was made a Fellow of the University in 1986 and continued to be an active friend of this institution until his death.

Justice Bell has carried on this association with UOW, serving as Chair of the Faculty of Law’s Advisory Committee from 2006 to 2009 until her appointment to the High Court.

Mr Christopher Abbott was awarded an Honorary Doctor of Letters degree.

Mr Abbott has made an outstanding contribution to Australia both in the financial and biotech industries and in his philanthropic commitment to positively changing the lives of children.

He was Chairman of Maple-Brown Abbott Limited, a funds management company which he co-founded in 1984 and which by 2005 grew to manage $20 billion of funds in Australian and Asian equity markets. Mr Abbott’s distinguished career in finance has included many senior roles, such as Executive Director of the International Pacific Group (Rothschilds), and he has also held non-executive directorships in QBE Insurance Group, Thomas Cook Australia and Enterprise Management of Australia.

Mr Abbott now heads Asia Union Investments, a family company which has made significant investments in the Australian biotech industry. In 2005, he was awarded an Order of Australia for “service to the financial industry particularly through venture capital projects and to the development of the biotechnology industry in Australia”.

Since his retirement from Maple-Brown Abbott in 2006, Mr Abbott has continued to make his mark, through his philanthropic support for the development and educational opportunities of young children in Australia. This is not a new area of interest for Mr Abbott. Over the course of thirty years he has developed a strong belief that a child is given life-long opportunities through exposure to education and intellectual stimulation at an early age.

Through the Abbott Foundation, a private ancillary fund aimed at providing funding for organisations engaged in the development and education of young children, Mr Abbott has made a significant contribution to childhood education, funding Mission Australia to improve the facilities and family engagement at a number of pre-schools located in low socio-economic regions across Australia and supporting a wide range of other educational programs.

In 2008, Mr Abbott met with members of the senior leadership team at the University of Wollongong to discuss the possibility of a Children’s Discovery Centre in the Illawarra. At the time, the University was commencing a strategic investment in teaching and research relating to the early years of education. This UOW initiative and Mr Abbott’s vision coalesced and the Early Start Project was born.

The University’s partnership with the Abbott Foundation includes the construction of an Early Start Discovery Space which will include experiences, activity spaces, outdoor exploration courtyards and discovery galleries designed to help children learn through play in a non-threatening environment, while developing self-confidence and leadership skills.

It is hoped that the Early Start Discovery Space will be a major attraction for Wollongong when it opens in 2015 with 120,000 children expected to visit it each year.

View the Summer 2013 graduation gallery


  • Honorary doctorate recipient and CEO of AngloAmerican, Mark Cutifani (right), with UOW Deputy Chancellor Dr Stephen Andersen .

  • Linda Hogg, wife of the late Emeritus Professor John Hogg, proudly accepted an Honorary Doctor of Science on behalf of her husband. She is pictured with UOW Deputy Chancellor Dr Stephen Andersen .

  • Honorary doctorate recipient General David Hurley, who is Chief of the Defence Force, with UOW Chancellor Jillian Broadbent and Vice-Chancellor Professor Paul Wellings.

  • Honorary doctorate recipient and NSW Chief Scientist and Engineer Professor Mary O’Kane.

  • Honorary doctorate recipient and University of Oslo advanced materials scientist Professor Tom Johansen (centre), with UOW Chancellor Jillian Broadbent and Vice-Chancellor Professor Paul Wellings.

  • Honorary doctorate recipient and Justice of the High Court of Australia, Justice Virginia Bell, with UOW Chancellor Jillian Broadbent.

  • Businessman, philanthropist and honorary doctorate recipient Christopher Abbott.