Western Sydney University proudly celebrates October graduation

Graduation Image

Western Sydney University will celebrate the success of more than 1,900 graduands as part of its graduation ceremonies at the Parramatta South campus, from Tuesday 31 October to Thursday 2 November 2023.

Across 11 ceremonies, graduands will don cap and gown as they receive degrees from a range of disciplines, including nursing and midwifery, medicine, psychology, business, social science, education, computer, data and mathematical sciences, engineering, law, science, psychology, health science, humanities and communication arts.

These students will join a vibrant network of more than 200,000 Western Sydney University alumni located throughout Australia and around the world.

As well as celebrating the milestone with friends and family, students will hear from a range of inspirational speakers from across industry and the community as they deliver the Occasional Address.

Western Sydney University will also honour several outstanding individuals for their significant contributions to the Greater Western Sydney region and the broader community.

Among the recipients is Emeritus Chancellor, Professor Peter Shergold AC, who will receive an Honorary Doctorate of Letters in recognition of his distinguished and outstanding contribution to Australian public life particularly education, and to Western Sydney University.

The full list of honorary awardees for the October graduation ceremonies are:

  • Ms Jennifer Scott AM will receive a Community Fellowship
  • Mr Ramy Aziz will receive an Honorary Fellowship
  • Ms Caroline Hutchinson will receive an Honorary Fellowship
  • Professor Robert Whittaker AM FRSN will receive an Honorary Doctorate of Letters
  • Dr Eugene Moylan will receive an Honorary Doctorate of Science
  • Ms Teresa Plane will receive an Honorary Doctorate of Letters
  • Dr Coralie Wales OAM will receive a Community Fellowship
  • Ms Belinda Robinson will receive an Honorary Doctorate of Letters
  • Professor Peter Shergold AC will receive an Honorary Doctorate of Letters

WHERE: Western Sydney University's Parramatta South campus, corner Victoria Road and James Ruse Drive, Rydalmere.

WHEN: Tuesday, 31 October – Thursday, 2 November 2023.

TIME: Ceremonies begin from 9.30am each day.

FOR JOURNALISTS: Please advise the Media Team if you plan to attend, who can assist with parking, via email: media@westernsydney.edu.au.

Honorary Awardee and Occasional Address Speaker Biographies


Ceremony 1 – Tuesday 31 October – 9:30am

Jennifer Scott AM - Hon Awardee - October 2023

Ms Jennifer Scott AM

Ms Scott will receive a Community Fellowship and deliver the Occasional Address

Jennifer Scott is an experienced mediator, arbitrator and a valued member of the Rotary Club of Central Blue Mountains. Jennifer has also worked extensively with Rotary International in peace building and dispute resolution, drawing on her expertise as a lawyer specialising in dispute resolution.  

Jennifer completed undergraduate degrees in Arts and Law from Macquarie University, in 1978 and 1980 respectively. Thereafter, and for over 30 years, she practiced as a lawyer, specialising in dispute resolution, environmental planning and commercial law. From 1996 to 1999, she served as an advisor to the Australian Commonwealth Minster for the Environment, the former Senator John Faulkner, providing advice on climate change and pollution.  

In 2000, Jennifer graduated with a Master of Laws at Macquarie and lectured at Western Sydney University’s Sydney Graduate School of Management for several years. In 2005, she graduated with a Masters of Dispute Resolution from Western Sydney University.  

Since retiring from her law firm in 2005, Jennifer has focussed on providing facilitation and dispute resolution services to private and government organisations and to the courts and tribunals. She has also delivered training and coaching for organisations, including educational institutions, chambers of commerce, small to medium businesses, and voluntary groups.  

Jennifer is also a dedicated volunteer and supporter of not-for-profit organisations. She is a longstanding member of the Rotary Club of the Central Blue Mountains and, from 2007 to 2008, served as Rotary District Governor, followed by International Assembly Moderator for Rotary International President, Jennifer Jones, in 2022. Jennifer is also currently the Technical Coordinator for the Rotary Foundation Cadre of Technical Advisors and has been appointed as Chair of the 2024 Rotary International Convention in Singapore.

As an International Assembly Training Leader and Seminar Trainer for Rotary International, Jennifer has educated regional leaders from 160 countries on matters of leadership, strategic planning, peace, mediation and dispute resolution. She is on the Board of Sustainable Cambodia and has led teams of project volunteers to Pursat in Cambodia. Additionally, she also led a Vocational Training Team to Mongolia for the purpose of upskilling judges and social workers in family mediation and conflict management. Jennifer is Vice-Chair of the End Polio Now: Countdown to History Campaign and was a member of the Hamburg Convention Committee.  

In recognition of her local and international work with Rotary, Jennifer was awarded the Rotary Foundation’s Citation for Meritorious Service in 2013. In 2023, she was appointed a Member of the Order of Australia for significant service to the community through a range of organisations.  

Despite her international responsibilities, Jennifer maintains her support of the Western Sydney community and has continued to work on local projects in the Blue Mountains, including rehabilitating the Scout Hall in Lawson and cleaning up graffiti. She is also a Board member of the Katoomba and Upper Blue Mountains Community Enterprise (Bendigo Bank) and was chair of Varuna, the National Writers’ House, until July 2022.

Ceremony 2 – Tuesday 31 October – 12:00pm

Ramy Aziz - Hon Awardee - October 2023

Mr Ramy Aziz

Mr Aziz will deliver the Occasional Address and receive an Honorary Fellowship

Ramy Aziz is an experienced finance professional and non-executive director with a stellar career in the financial and banking sector, including as the former Chief Financial Officer of the Australian Securities Exchange. In 1984, Ramy graduated with a Bachelor of Business (Accounting) from the University of Technology Sydney. He went on to hold a number of senior financial roles, including several positions at The Chase Manhattan Bank (now known as JP Morgan), covering financial control, financial accounting and management reporting within the wholesale banking division and central finance department. From 1996 to 2000, Ramy was the Chief Financial Officer and Company Secretary of Austrapay Limited, an Australian Payments processing company. In April 2000, Ramy departed Austrapay to join the Sydney Futures Exchange Corporation, as Group Financial Controller. At the time of Ramy’s commencement, the Sydney Futures Exchange was one of the largest derivatives exchanges in the world. Ramy spent six years there before the Sydney Futures Exchange merged with the Australian Stock Exchange in 2006 to become the Australian Securities Exchange or ASX Limited. Following the merger, Ramy remained in his role as Group Financial Controller. In July 2010, Ramy was appointed as the Chief Financial Officer of ASX Ltd, where he was responsible for finance, investor relations, and facility functions. Ramy held this role for eight years before stepping down in September 2018. In addition to his work as a finance professional, Ramy has also held a number of Board positions and is currently a Director on the National Board of Optometry Australia. He is also a Director and Chair of the Finance, Audit and Risk Management Committee for The Society of Hospital Pharmacists of Australia and is a Director and Chair of the Finance and Audit Committee for the Combined Dispensaries Friendly Society. From July 2019 to November 2021, Ramy was also the Non-Executive Director and Chair of the Finance and Audit Committee of RT Health Fund Ltd. Since 2006, Ramy has been mentoring finance executives as they progress throughout their careers.

Ramy has also made significant contributions to Western Sydney University over the past decade as an Independent Director of Western Sydney University's The College Board and Chair of its Finance, Audit and Risk Committee, a role he held from 2013 to 2023.

Ceremony 3 – Tuesday 31 October – 2:30pm

Caroline Hutchinson - Hon Awardee - October 2023

Ms Caroline Hutchinson

Ms Hutchinson will deliver the Occasional Address and receive an Honorary Fellowship

Caroline Hutchinson is a Principal Director at Coleman Greig Lawyers and Chair of its Board. An accredited specialist in commercial litigation, Caroline leads Coleman Greig’s Commercial Litigation and Employment Solutions team.  

Caroline completed a Bachelor of Economics, Bachelor of Laws from Macquarie University in 1991 and has worked for over 30 years at Coleman Greig Lawyers, a mid-sized legal firm that operates extensively in Western Sydney with offices in Parramatta, Baulkham Hills, Penrith, and Oran Park.

As a commercial litigation specialist, Caroline has a keen grasp of commercial realities and a comprehensive understanding of the differing legislative requirements across Australia’s states. She is highly knowledgeable, with specialist skills in alternative dispute resolution processes, pursuing the resolution of disputes in both threatened and ongoing litigation. Caroline is considered an expert negotiator who has a strong ability to assist clients in interpreting legislation and determining inherent risks.  

Additionally, Caroline is an experienced non-executive Director and a graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors. She is passionate about the development of lawyers and is known as an advocate in the legal profession. Caroline has been a member of the Litigation Law and Practice Committee of the Law Society of NSW since 2014 and was appointed to the Society’s List of Independent Solicitors in 2019.  

With a strong commitment to community, Caroline is the Ambassador for Coleman Greig’s Women in Business Forum. Founded in 2007, the Women in Business Forum helps professional women and senior female executives connect and network on issues of significance.  

Caroline’s commitment to the legal profession has seen her nominated for several awards. In 2016, she was a two-time Finalist in the inaugural Lawyers Weekly Partner of the Year Awards for her work in Dispute Resolution and Litigation and Commercial Law. Then in 2017 and 2021, she was a Finalist in the Lawyers Weekly Women in Law Awards, Partner of the Year division.

Caroline is a strong supporter of the Western Sydney community. In 2017, she joined the Board of Western Sydney University’s The College as an independent non-executive director and served until June 2023. She has also been involved in Western Sydney University’s Women of the West awards for a number of years, partnering to host the annual event as part of the Women in Business Forum.

Ceremony 4 – Tuesday 31 October – 5:00pm

Professor Robert Whittaker AM FRSN & Chancellor, Professor Jennifer Westacott

Professor Robert Whittaker AM FRSN

Professor Whittaker will deliver the Occasional Address and receive an Honorary Doctorate of Letters

Professor Robert Whittaker is an influential leader in the building profession, having played a prominent role in raising professional standards both within New South Wales and more broadly across Australia. He is a Chartered Builder and Principal of Holdom Whittaker, a consulting firm for builders, building surveyors and engineers.

Professor Whittaker entered the workforce in the 1980’s, whilst completing his studies at the University of Technology Sydney. He holds a Bachelor of Applied Science (Building) and a Graduate Diploma in Education, both from UTS.

An entrepreneur of the construction industry for over two decades, Professor Whittaker was elected President of the New South Wales and Australian Capital Territory Chapter of the Australian Institute of Building in 2002 and then as National President of the Australian Institute of Building in 2012. These appointments subsequently resulted in his extensive involvement and influence in the development of government legislation and regulation underpinning the code of conduct of individual practitioners and the building and construction industry as a whole.

Professor Whittaker has held several senior positions of trust, including that of member and Chair of various National and State committees and judging panels such as the Professional Excellence in Building Awards Committee. His counsel continues to be sought by State and Federal Government policymakers and the broader community, with some of his formal roles including a ministerial appointment on the NSW Property Services Advisory Council, membership of the Discipline and Accreditation Committees of the former NSW Building Professionals Board, and Chair of the former National Building Professionals Register. In these positions, Professor Whittaker was instrumental in recognising and subsequently addressing the need for more transparency in the attainment of professional standards across the building industry.

Professor Whittaker's commitment to raising industry standards for construction management programs in the higher education sector has resulted in his active participation on external advisory committees of several universities, including Western Sydney University, the University of Newcastle, the University of Technology Sydney, and the University of New South Wales. His contributions have led to the inclusion of professional ethics and personal accountability as essential components of construction management degrees at these universities. His proud commitment to the vocational education sector, particularly TAFE NSW, is evidenced through his many years of service as a member of the National Industry Reference Committee for Construction, and its various Technical Advisory Groups for trade and paraprofessional qualifications.

A Western Sydney resident since birth, Professor Whittaker is deeply committed to the success of the region and Western Sydney University where he is currently an Adjunct Professor. For more than a decade, he has made an influential contribution to the building and construction management discipline at the University, ensuring quality, relevance, and competitiveness of programs, and their connection with industry and government.

In addition to his commitment to tertiary education, Professor Whittaker continues to be a proactive leader in the profession. He is currently a Director of the Research and Education Foundation Trust, the College of Building at the Australian Institute of Building, and the International Building Quality Centre. As a practicing professional, he remains actively licenced, both as a Class A unrestricted Licensed Builder in the Australian Capital Territory where he is currently the licence holder for a $70 million+ development for the Meriton Group, and as an unrestricted Licensed Commercial Builder in Victoria.

Professor Whittaker’s unwavering dedication to the building industry and higher education sector has seen him formally recognised on numerous occasions. In 2014, he was appointed a Member of the Order of Australia, for his ‘significant contribution to the building and construction industry as a leader and educator’. He has also been the recipient of The NSW Consumer Protection Award, the Australian Institute of Building’s NSW Chapter Honour Award for building practice, and, for two consecutive years, received a National High Commendation in the Professional Excellence Building Awards.

Professor Whittaker is a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Building, the Royal Society of New South Wales, and the Australian Institute of Quantity Surveyors. He is a Member of the Society of Construction Law (Australia) and a Companion of the Institution of Engineers Australia. Professor Whittaker is also an Adjunct Professor at the University of Canberra, and a Professor of Practice at the University of Newcastle.

Ceremony 5 – Wednesday 1 November – 9:30am

Dr Eugene Moylen - Hon Awardee - October 2023

Dr Eugene Moylan

Dr Moylan will deliver the Occasional Address and receive an Honorary Doctor of Science

Dr Eugene Moylan is a medical oncologist and the Director of Liverpool Cancer Services. A prominent and respected figure within the field of integrated cancer care, Dr Moylan has devoted his career to providing the highest standard of care to his patients.

Dr Moylan completed a Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery from the University of Sydney in 1980 and, in 1986, was made a Fellow of the Royal Australian College of Physicians. Dr Moylan has worked as a Medical Oncology Senior Staff Specialist at Liverpool Hospital since 2013, and, in 2014, was appointed the Director of Liverpool Hospital’s Cancer Therapy Centre. A dedicated oncologist, Dr Moylan is recognised for his exceptional clinical skills in diagnosis, treatment planning, and in the delivery of cutting-edge therapies.

Since 2014, Dr Moylan has been a staunch supporter of Western Sydney University, demonstrated through his research collaborations with the Chinese Medicine Centre. He played a vital role in the development of the Centre’s first integrative research project which was funded by the National Breast Cancer Foundation. For this project, Dr Moylan travelled to China with a team of medical professionals from South Western Sydney Local Health District, visiting three leading hospitals specialising in integrative cancer care in Beijing.

In 2018, Dr Moylan was one of the lead clinicians to establish a Sino-Australian oncology research alliance, which brought together Western Sydney University, South Western Sydney Local Health District, and Beijing University of Chinese Medicine. Additionally, in 2018, Dr Moylan also led a delegation to hospitals in Beijing and Guangzhou to discuss the future of integrative oncology care and to explore the potential for ongoing collaboration between these institutions.

In 2019, Dr Moylan supported a joint project between Western Sydney University, South Western Sydney Local Health District and Beijing University of Chinese Medicine, which examined the effectiveness of acupuncture in treating cancer-related pain. In 2022, he also provided valuable assistance to a joint study between these same institutions, examining Baduanjin mind-body exercise for cancer-related fatigue in cancer participants receiving adjuvant chemotherapy.

Dr Moylan's significant contributions to the field of oncology have earned him a reputation for excellence. In recognition of his many notable achievements, Dr Moylan has been made an adjunct educator at several institutions and has served on 25 committees. He is currently a member of the Medical Advisory Committee at Sydney Southwest Private Hospital and the Liverpool Hospital Clinical Council. Through his publication of 40 papers and 46 abstracts and poster presentations, Dr Moylan has made significant contributions to academia, in particular, to the field of oncology.

Ceremony 6 – Wednesday 1 November – 12:00pm

Dr Teresa Plane - Hon Awardee - October 2023

Ms Teresa Plane

Ms Plane will deliver the Occasional Address and receive an Honorary Doctorate of Letters

Throughout her remarkable 70-year career, Teresa Plane has provided care, support, and advocacy to thousands of patients and their families. Over the course of her long career as a nurse and nurse educator, Teresa has been a pioneer of and advocate for modern hospice palliative care.  

In 1962, Teresa founded the Mount Carmel Hospital in Western Sydney. The Hospital, which had 19 beds and provided general surgery and obstetrics services, primarily served the newly opened Housing Commission estate in Seven Hills. Within a year, the hospital expanded to 60 beds and included obstetrics facilities.

By 1978, Mount Carmel Hospital had grown to 106-beds and it was then that Teresa discovered her passion for palliative care. She heard an interview on the radio with psychiatrist Elisabeth Kübler-Ross, who spoke about the five stages of dying. Inspired by the interview, Teresa travelled to the UK and Canada to learn more about Palliative Care. On her trip, she met with Kübler-Ross, Dr Cecily Saunders and Dr Balfour Mount, all Pathfinders in the area of Modern Palliative Care. Upon her return to Australia, she created the first Palliative Care Unit at Mount Carmel Hospital. At a time before Medicare existed, Teresa ensured that patients were admitted based on their needs rather than their ability to pay. She later went on to establish Macquarie Hospice, a home care and day care centre, and the Outstretched Hand Foundation, a charity organisation that advocates for and on behalf of the dying and the bereaved.  

Teresa has extensive teaching experience in palliative care, having taught at Charles Sturt University and with the School of Nursing and Midwifery at Western Sydney University. She is a well-known speaker who has presented at international forums, national conferences and within universities.  

In 2023, Teresa was named the NSW Senior Australian of the Year for her pioneering work in palliative care. She is the host of two radio shows, Ageing with Attitude and Meditative Moments, which air on 2RPH Sydney and the Australia-Wide network. Teresa, along with her late husband, Jack Plane, founded the Chapel Hill Retreat in Bilpin in 1994. This retreat was designed to create a peaceful environment for individuals of all cultures and religious backgrounds who wish to look within, contemplate, pray, or meditate. The main stained glass window at the Retreat commemorates all those who died in the care of Mt Carmel Hospital and the Outstretched Hand Foundation.

Ceremony 7 – Wednesday 1 November – 2:30pm

Dr Coralie Wales OAM - Hon Awardee - October 2023

Dr Coralie Wales OAM

Dr Wales will deliver the Occasional Address and receive a Community Fellowship

Dr Coralie Wales is the Lead Facilitator, Community Partnerships at WentWest, the Western Sydney Primary Health Network, and Founder of the not-for-profit group, Chronic Pain. She is also an Adjunct Fellow at Western Sydney University’s School of Medicine.  

After completing a Master of Rehabilitation Counselling at the University of Sydney in 1995, Dr Wales went on to work as a personal injury consultant, advising on the rehabilitation needs of people injured in motor accidents and at work. In 1998, she left the insurance industry to start up a new practice specialising in assisting people in pain. Through her work as a Director of the Chronic Pain Group, Dr Wales discovered a gap in service provisions for people dealing with pain – there were no community organisations that advocated for them or understood the importance of reducing the social isolation and lack of community awareness around chronic pain.  

Driven by a genuine passion to close this gap, in 2006, Dr Wales founded Chronic Pain Australia, a national not-for profit organisation that aims to provide a voice to the 3.6 million Australians living with chronic pain. She served as President of Chronic Pain Australia until 2018, during which time she helped to drive system reform through the development of community-led initiatives, co-designed by those with lived experiences.  

Following the completion of her PhD in Community and Behavioural Health in 2011, Dr Wales was a Project Manager for the Hunter New England Local Health District from 2012 to 2014.  Through her work with rural communities on initiatives such as “NBN Telehealth to the Home” and “Working Together, Life Beyond Cancer”, and together with a multidisciplinary team, Dr Wales led the testing of mobile Health technologies and the co-design of a model of care that engaged community members in the design and evaluation stages.  

In August 2014, Dr Wales was appointed as Manager Community and Consumer Engagement for the Western Sydney Local Health District and over a period of seven years, she led her team to establish, maintain and promote systems and infrastructure to better support community and consumer partnerships. One of the many participant-driven solutions that was established during Dr Wales’ tenure was the Western Sydney Local Health District Consumer Council, which became the peak governing body for consumer partnerships across the district.

In September 2021, Dr Wales became Lead Facilitator, Community Partnerships for WentWest. Through her role at WentWest, Dr Wales has been instrumental in leading participant-driven solutions, building authentic relationships with the community, facilitating consumer councils, and establishing citizen juries. An advocate for health equity, her role at WentWest involves working closely with community leaders and organisations across Western Sydney to ensure local voices are heard, communities are well-informed, and people are part of the decision-making and design process on programs that aim to better their health.  

In 2023, Dr Wales was awarded a Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM) for her service to community health. Dr Wales dedicated the award to all those who have lived with chronic pain.

Ceremony 8 – Wednesday 1 November – 5:00pm

Belinda Robinson - Hon Awardee - October 2023

Ms Belinda Robinson

Ms Robinson will deliver the Occasional Address and receive an Honorary Doctorate of Letters

Belinda Robinson is a highly successful executive and CEO with a proven track record of leadership in the education and energy sectors, and is also an experienced non-executive director. She is well regarded for her expertise in high-level public policy development, analysis, and advocacy; government and stakeholder engagement; strategy development; and governance.

Over the past 20 years, Belinda has worked as a CEO in the higher education, primary industries, and energy sectors, and has held senior and executive roles in prominent government departments, including seven years with the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet where she and her team were awarded the Public Service Medal for their work on forest policy. Belinda was also the Chief Executive of the Australian Plantation Products and Paper Industry Council from 2001 to 2005 and the Australian Petroleum Production and Exploration Association from 2005 to 2011.  

In October 2011, Belinda became the Chief Executive of Universities Australia, the peak body representing Australia’s 39 comprehensive universities. She remained in this position for almost eight years, before being appointed Vice-President, University Relations and Strategy at the University of Canberra in July 2018. Belinda held this role for two and a half years and was responsible for the strategic positioning of the University as a global leader in educating for the professions through innovative teaching, experiential learning, and mission-oriented research. In this period, she also served as interim Vice-Chancellor and had the responsibility of leading the University through the early years of the pandemic.

Belinda has held various company directorships on ASX-listed list organisation as well as in the not-for-profit, government, and private sectors, and has served on many advisory bodies, councils, and committees. She is the Chair of the Australian Maths Trust, and Cooperative Research Australia, and is a non-executive director of Online Education Services Pty Ltd. She spent three years as the Chair of the Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority and has served in non-executive Director positions on the Boards of IDP Education Ltd, and Beach Energy.

Belinda has made significant contributions to this University, particularly in her capacity as the Chair of the Board of Western Sydney University’s The College, from June 2018 to June 2023. She is a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Company Directors, and the Royal Society of NSW.  

Belinda has a Bachelor of Arts from the University of New England and a Master of Environmental Law from the Australian National University.

Ceremony 9 – Thursday 2 November – 9:30am

Niall Blair - Guest Speaker - October 2023

Niall Blair

Former NSW Politician

Mr Blair will deliver the Occasional Address

For over 20 years, Niall has worked with government agencies and private companies to apply circular economy solutions and realise natural capital opportunities.

Niall chairs the NSW Government’s Biodiversity Conservation Trust, is a non-executive Director of the Cotton Research and Development Corporation, Marine BioProducts CRC and, White Prince Mushrooms. He is a strong advocate for sustainable food and fibre production systems and the adoption of new technologies in response to climate-change impacts and global market changes.

During his nine years as a senior NSW Parliamentarian, Niall held various ministerial portfolios, including Primary Industries, Trade and Industry, Lands and Water. Niall was also Chairperson of the NSW Nationals and Deputy Leader of the Government in the NSW Legislative Council.

Niall holds a Bachelor of Applied Science (Horticulture) from this University and a Master of Occupational Health and Safety from the University of Newcastle.

Ceremony 10 – Thursday 2 November – 12:00pm

Belinda Giudice - Guest Speaker - October 2023

Belinda Giudice

Principal Prairiewood High School

Ms Giudice will deliver the Occasional Address

Belinda Giudice is deeply committed to public education. She began her career at Merrylands High School, firstly as a personal development, health and physical education teacher and then Co-Principal from 2012 to 2015. In 2016, Belinda was appointed Principal of Canterbury Boys High School, a role she held until mid-2018 when she went on to become Principal at western Sydney’s Prairiewood High.

Her leadership, achievements, and service in the field of education have been recognised over the course of her long career. In 2007, Belinda was awarded a NSW Quality Teaching Award. This was followed by a NSW Secondary Deputy Principals Association Fellowship in 2012 and then a NSW Australian College of Educational Leadership Award in 2014. Belinda is also the recipient of the 2015 Public Education Foundation Secretary’s Award for Excellent Service.

Belinda has a Certificate in Advanced Education Leadership from the Harvard Graduate School of Education and, in 2022, she received a prestigious Teachers Mutual Bank Principals Scholarship, providing her with the opportunity to attend the Harvard Graduate School of Education to progress her leadership skills at one of the world’s greatest centres of learning.

Belinda, who is also a champion judo practitioner and black belt who has competed in world championships, was also the first person in her family to complete Year 12 and attend university. Belinda holds a Bachelor of Sport Science (Exercise Science) along with a Diploma of Education from The University of New South Wales.

Ceremony 11 – Thursday 2 November – 2:30pm

Emeritus Chancellor Professor Peter Shergold AC - Hon Awardee - October 2023

Professor Peter Shergold AC

Professor Shergold will deliver the Occasional Address and receive an Honorary Doctorate of Letters

Professor Peter Shergold AC served as the Chancellor of Western Sydney University for 12 years, during which time he made an exceptional contribution to both the University and the wider community. Under his exemplary leadership of the University’s governing council, the Board of Trustees, and through his advocacy, the University grew in maturity, reputation, and success. Professor Shergold's significant achievements and distinguished service have earned him the respect and recognition of all who have benefitted from his leadership.

In 1972, Professor Shergold migrated to Australia to take up a lecturing position at the University of New South Wales. In 1986, he was appointed the Head of the Department of Economic History. As an academic he received two Fulbright scholarships to study in the U.S.A. From 1980 to 1981, he lectured at the London School of Economics and then at Pennsylvania State University from 1985-86.

In 1987, Professor Shergold shifted career paths, becoming a senior executive in the Australian Public Service (APS). For two decades, he worked with Prime Ministers and Ministers from both sides of politics. Under Prime Minister Bob Hawke, he established the Office of Multicultural Affairs. From 1991 to 1994, he led the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission (ATSIC), followed by his appointment as Chief Executive Officer of Comcare from 1994 to 1995.  In 1995, he was appointed as the Australian Public Service Commissioner and three years later, he went on to serve as Secretary of the Department of Employment, Workplace Relations and Small Business until 2002 when he became the Secretary of the Department of Education, Science and Training for a year.

In February 2003, Professor Shergold was asked by the Prime Minister, John Howard, to serve as Secretary of the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet, becoming the nation's most senior public servant. He did so for five years. He managed the transition of the new Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd, to government before leaving the APS in February 2008.

In 2010, Professor Shergold was appointed as the new Chancellor and Chair of the Board of Trustees at Western Sydney University. He served in this capacity from 1st January 2011 to December 2022. During his 12-year tenure, Professor Shergold initiated several philanthropic projects with a particular focus on supporting refugees. One of his main goals was to raise funds for refugee scholarships through events such as Town and Gown and the University’s Annual Giving Day, and through University entities such as the Foundation Council. These initiatives aimed to support refugees by providing them with life-changing educational opportunities at Western Sydney University. By the end of his tenure as Chancellor, more than 900 students who had arrived in Australia as refugees had gone on to study at Western Sydney University.  

In 2014, Professor Shergold was appointed as Coordinator General for Refugee Resettlement in NSW following the Australian Government’s decision to accept an additional 12,000 refugees displaced by conflicts in Syria and Iraq. He remains Coordinator General of Settlement and is also Chair of Australia for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.  

In addition to his Western Sydney University role, Professor Shergold has served on many corporate and not-for-profit Boards, including AMP Ltd, Opal Healthcare, uLaunch, the Centre for Social Impact, the AMP Foundation, and the Crescent Institute. He has also chaired various Boards in the public sector, including the NSW Public Services Commission Advisory Board, the Aged Care Reform Implementation Council, and the Aged Care Sector Committee. In the education sector, Professor Shergold has chaired the National Centre for Vocational Education Research, the TEQSA Advisory Council, and the Commonwealth’s Higher Education Standards Panel. At present, he chairs the NSW Education Standards Authority, which has oversight of the Higher School Certificate process.  

Professor Shergold has worked within and outside government on the most complex and challenging issues facing the nation. He has undertaken a range of major reviews for the NSW, Western Australian, Victorian and Queensland state governments, and has chaired reviews into Medicare Card security (2017), the implementation of the National Construction Code (2017–2018), Refugee Settlement (2019), Senior Secondary Pathways for Students (2020), and Vocational Education (2021).  

In 2005, Professor Shergold was elected a Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences (FASSA) in Australia. He has also been made a Fellow of the Australia and New Zealand School of Government, the Institute of Public Administration Australia, and the Australian Institute of Company Directors, and he is Deputy President of the Royal Society of NSW.  

In 1996, Professor Shergold was appointed a Member in the Order of Australia (AM) for public service, and, in 2003, was presented with the Centenary Medal. In 2007, he received Australia's highest award, the Companion in the Order of Australia (AC) for service to the community.  

Professor Shergold graduated with first-class honours in Politics and American Studies from the University of Hull, has a Master of Arts in History from the University of Illinois at Chicago Circle,  and a Ph.D. in Economics from the London School of Economics.

ENDS

31 October 2023

Media Unit.