A break from tradition in honouring Australian role models

Jack Manning Bancroft, founder of the Australian Indigenous Mentoring Experience. INSIDE UNISA
Jack Manning Bancroft, founder of the Australian Indigenous Mentoring Experience.

One of Australia’s favourite food gurus, ‘the sunshine super girl’ and a young CEO changing the lives of Indigenous youth are among the Honorary Doctorates presented by UniSA at its graduation ceremonies this month.

UniSA Vice Chancellor Professor David Lloyd says it is important to break with tradition when encouraging excellence which is why this year’s awards include the youngest recipient of an Honorary Doctorate in Australian history.

“Universities usually recognise people at the very end of their careers with these sorts of awards, but I believe, when young people like Jack Manning Bancroft (founder of the Australian Indigenous Mentoring Experience) show how rapidly they can make such a big difference in the world, the achievement should be celebrated and recognised,” Prof Lloyd says.

“We are delighted to welcome these people as part of the University of South Australia community.

“Some may be considered household names like Maggie Beer and Evonne Goolagong Cawley, but all of these recipients are shining examples of people who have made their visions a reality and serve as incredible role models.”

Honorary Awards provide the opportunity to recognise exceptional achievement and acknowledge significant and eminent contributions to scholarship, professional practice and service to the University and its community.

The 2016 recipients are featured below:

Jack Manning Bancroft

Professor Gary Banks AO

Maggie Beer

Marie Coleman

Evonne Goolagong Cawley

Barry Pearce

Jack Manning Bancroft

In recognition of his highly successful national program to improve educational outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander youth.

Founder of the Australian Indigenous Mentoring Experience (AIME), Manning Bancroft, 30, will be the youngest recipient of an Honorary Doctorate in Australian history.

A graduate of Sydney and Stanford Universities, Manning Bancroft was a 19 year-old student when he founded AIME as a tiny ‘start-up’ based on the principle that if Aboriginal students had the support of a peer mentor - someone just a little bit older who was on their side, someone who believed in them - they would have a better chance of success.

“In 2005, when he founded AIME, Jack had just 25 university mentors and 25 high school students, but he had a driving passion to succeed,” Prof Lloyd says.

“Today AIME is working with 6000 mentees and 1800 mentors across 37 locations and in partnership with 18 Australian universities. We’re proud to be a part of one of the most scalable, cost effective and successful mentoring programs in the world."

The organisation now employs 100 staff nationally and was voted ninth in the BRW Best Places to Work in Australia in 2015. AIME was a grant recipient of the 2014 Google Impact Challenge and last year launched its own clothing brand, AIME Apparel, to share stories and artworks from talented Indigenous students, which in turn raise funds for the program.

Professor Gary Banks AO

In recognition of his lifetime contribution to a broad range of public policy areas

Prof Lloyd says the leadership and dedication to good governance from Prof Banks, underpinned by good policy has been exemplary, not only in the Australian context but also on the international stage.

Chief Executive and Dean of the Australia and New Zealand School of Government, Prof Banks has contributed through his leadership of the Productivity Commission, the Centre for International Economics and as Chair of the Council of Australian Governments Steering Committee.

“In his capacity at the Centre for International Economics he consulted to the OECD, the World Bank and the World Trade Organisation and earlier in his career he was a senior economist with the General Agreement on Tariff and Trade Secretariat in Geneva,” Prof Lloyd says.

“It was this wealth of experience that saw him appointed as Chairman of the Productivity Commission in 1998 a position he held for 14 years, developing its profile as Australia’s most respected source of independent advice to government.”

Prof Lloyd says Prof Banks led enquiries into a range of critical economic and social issues including greenhouse policy, housing affordability, private health insurance, trans-Tasman economic relations, national competition policy, gambling and executive remuneration.

In 2013 Prof Banks became an independent non-executive director of the Macquarie Group Board and in the same year he was appointed to the Prime Minister’s Business Advisory Council.

Today he is an occasional lecturer at the Melbourne Business School as part of its public policy program and he continues as a member of the judging panel for the BHP-Billiton Reconciliation Australia Indigenous Governance Awards, a role he has undertaken since 2005.

Maggie Beer

Maggie BeerRecognising her enormous contribution to the promotion of South Australia’s food and tourism industries and her contribution to wellbeing in the community.

Over many decades, Beer has taken her ideas about healthy eating far beyond her family kitchen into the world of television, the wider community and to aged care facilities to raise the profile of eating well.

She has become one of South Australia’s most inspirational businesswomen and a key architect of Australia’s modern philanthropic culture.

Prof Lloyd says Maggie is the perfect role model to promote South Australia’s culture of great food and highlight the importance of partnerships between philanthropic organisations and community groups in building strong, vibrant communities.

“With a career that has included farming, running a restaurant, food production and export, food writing and starring on television, Maggie has committed her life to supporting and promoting Australia’s now globally recognised clean, seasonal produce and innovative food culture,” Prof Lloyd says.

“We acknowledge her continuing contribution to South Australia – her enormous energy, positivity and ‘can do’ nature - which has helped the boost the State brand, created invaluable business and philanthropic networks and strengthened our sense of community.”

As part of the 2010 Australia Day Awards, Beer was named Senior Australian of the Year and in 2011 she became South Australian of the Year.

Beer was appointed a Member of the Order of Australia (AM) for her service to tourism and hospitality on Australia Day 2012 and most recently found herself starring on a postage stamp as one of the winners of the Australia Post Australian Legends Award.

In 2014 Beer established the Maggie Beer Foundation, to highlight the need to provide the pleasure of a good food life for everyone, regardless of age or health restrictions.

Marie Coleman

Marie ColemanRecognising her significant impact on Australia, by advocating and providing a positive outlook for women during a period of massive social change.

Prof Lloyd says Coleman has been a pioneering advocate for women, who became the first woman in Australia to head a government agency.

“She became the first woman in Australia to head a government agency and that appointment followed an illustrious career in which she advocated and advanced the cause for women across a range of professional roles and personal commitments,” Prof Lloyd says.

Coleman, a retired Commonwealth public servant who headed the Australian Social Welfare Commission during the Whitlam era of government, and who was the founding Secretary of the National Foundation for Australian Women was appointed an Officer of the Order of Australia in 2011.

“For over 60 years her name has been synonymous with the women’s movement in Australia, as well as being linked to causes including indigenous rights, paid parental leave, the gender pay gap and childcare funding,” Prof Lloyd said.

Born and raised in rural New South Wales during the Great Depression, Coleman studied for a Bachelor of Arts and a Diploma of Social Studies at the University of Sydney in the 1950s, before embarking on a career as journalist, social worker, teacher and scriptwriter.

She was recruited to public service by Prime Minister Gough Whitlam in 1973 at a time of great change for women and Australian society.

Across roles including head of the Australian Social Welfare Commission and founding Secretary of the National Foundation for Australian Women, Coleman has been significant in her contributions; from spearheading the campaign that led to the Productivity Commission Inquiry into a national paid maternity, paternity and parental leave scheme, to playing a leadership role for national women’s organisations in examining the impacts of the former WorkChoices and Welfare to Work policies on women.

Evonne Goolagong Cawley

Evonne Goolagong CawleyRecognising her enormous contribution to Australian tennis on the international stage and her promotion of better education and health outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children.

The first Aboriginal Australian to succeed in tennis at an international level, Evonne Goolagong Cawley was a true champion and has become an incredible role model – a person of integrity and poise, committed to excellence and dedicated to sharing her inspirational ethos.

Prof Lloyd says she is the perfect Australian role model, whose life has been marked by determination, commitment, excellence and generosity.

“From her position of success, she has used her immense talent and high profile to promote the sport of tennis, and through tennis, to support education, health and wellbeing initiatives for Australia Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people,” Prof Lloyd says.

Goolagong Cawley was ranked world number one from 1971 -1976, won 92 pro tournaments, was a finalist at 18 Grand Slam events, won the French and Italian Opens, won the Australian Open four times and, in 1980 was the first mother to win Wimbledon in 66 years.

She was a board member of the Australian Sports Commission, was part of the successful Sydney 2000 Olympic bid and served on the National Indigenous Advisory Committee to SOCOG at the games.

A Federal Government consultant on Indigenous sport until 2001, she also formed the Evonne Goolagong Sports Trust to review Aboriginal sports and raise money for new facilities and equipment.

From 2007 to 2011 she was a board member of the Indigenous Land Council and in 2012 she established the Evonne Goolagong Foundation dedicated to improving the lives of Indigenous children.

“Dream, believe, learn, achieve are the words Evonne has lived by and they are the motto of her foundation, which has already done so much for so many,” Prof Lloyd says.

“Her Goolagong National Development Camp has awarded more than 50 school scholarships, supported and encouraged students to attend and graduate from university, become tennis players coaches and sports administrators.”

Barry Pearce

Recognising his invaluable contribution to Australian art and his alma mater, UniSA.

Prof Lloyd says Pearce – who was welcomed as a University Fellow – has been one of the most enthusiastic and knowledgeable ambassadors for Australian art at home and abroad.

“Barry’s passion for Australian art is palpable,” Prof Lloyd says. “We are extremely proud to count him as one of our alumni and to honour the extraordinary contribution he has made to our knowledge and appreciation of Australian art.”

An internationally renowned expert in Australian art, Pearce graduated with a Diploma of Art (Teaching) from UniSA antecedent Western Teacher’s College and went on over the next 50 years to build an internationally respected career in art curation, research and education.

Author of more than 35 books and exhibition catalogues and 50 journal articles and curator of over 40 exhibitions, he started out at the South Australian Art Gallery as an education officer before quickly advancing to a curatorial role.

His gallery career has taken him to London’s British Museum and then back to work in important roles at the state art galleries in SA, WA and NSW.

His specialist knowledge of the works of Australian artist Jeffrey Smart and his contemporaries made him the best candidate to curate the major retrospective – Master of Stillness: Jeffrey Smart Paintings 1940- 011 – opened at UniSA’s Samstag Museum of Art in 2012. He also authored a book about the artist and his work under the same title.