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Last modified: Friday, July 16, 2010

Australia's national university honors IU president

July 16, 2010

CANBERRA, Australia -- Indiana University President Michael A. McRobbie earned a major distinction in his native Australia today when he was awarded an honorary Doctor of Letters degree during a ceremony at The Australian National University, Australia's top-ranked institution of higher education.

ANU Honors McRobbie

IU President Michael A. McRobbie honored by The Australian National University

Print-Quality Photo

Thirty-five years after arriving in Canberra to pursue a Ph.D. at ANU, McRobbie was recognized by his alma mater for the significant contributions he has made in the fields of artificial intelligence and computational science, as well as his achievements in university leadership and innovation.

"Michael McRobbie has made outstanding contributions to research management and institutional leadership in higher education as a scholar, an educator, an innovator and a leader in academe and the wider community," said ANU Vice Chancellor and President Ian Chubb.

In addition to receiving an honorary doctorate, McRobbie delivered an invited address to graduates of the ANU College of Engineering and Computer Science. His remarks can be viewed at

McRobbie studied philosophy at ANU, earning his Ph.D. in 1979. Several years later, he became head of the university's Automated Reasoning Project, which elevated Australia's profile in the field of artificial intelligence and led to the development of the university's Center for Information Science Research and the Cooperative Research Center for Advanced Computational Systems. While at ANU, McRobbie served as executive director of both centers.

Chubb praised the contributions McRobbie made to major research collaborations between ANU and Fujitsu, Japan's largest IT services provider, and the development of the Asia Pacific Advanced Network, a high-performance research and education network that McRobbie co-founded to provide broadband connectivity among research communities in Australia, North America and East Asia.

"Throughout this period in his career, entrepreneurial achievements were paralleled by scholarly contributions to logic, computer science and information technology," Chubb said.

McRobbie came to the United States from Australia in 1997 to serve as IU's first vice president of information technology and chief information officer. He later assumed the additional duties of vice president for research. In 2006, he was named interim provost and vice president for academic affairs at the Bloomington campus, and in 2007 he was chosen by the IU Board of Trustees to become the university's 18th president.

He was made an honorary member of The Australian Academy of the Humanities in 2007 and last month was appointed an Officer in the General Division of the Order of Australia, a national award signifying "distinguished service of a high degree to Australia or to humanity at large."

At IU, he has initiated cooperative agreements in research and education with leading universities in Australia, China, South Korea, Japan and Israel. In September, McRobbie joined Chubb in signing a partnership agreement between IU and ANU for the creation of the jointly operated ANU-IU Pan Asian Institute.

Joint language courses and other student and staff exchanges are already underway at the new institute, which combines the complementary academic strengths of the two universities into a single research and teaching enterprise with expertise that encompasses a broad range of Asian countries.