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Last modified: Friday, November 30, 2007

Australian university honors IU president

Nov. 30, 2007

EDITORS: Indiana University President Michael McRobbie will return to his native country of Australia to receive an honorary doctorate on Monday (Dec. 3) from the University of Queensland, his alma mater.

McRobbie was also made an honorary fellow of the Australian Academy of the Humanities this month, which recognizes among others, Australians who have made substantial contributions to the humanities throughout their careers. McRobbie is one of four new honorary fellows.

The following news release was issued on Nov. 29 in Australia by the University of Queensland. A link to a Q&A between McRobbie and the University of Queensland follows the release.

QUEENSLAND, Australia -- A UQ arts graduate who has risen to become president of one of America's top universities will be honoured at a graduation ceremony next Monday, Dec. 3.

Professor Michael McRobbie will receive a Doctor of Science honoris causa at a Faculty of Engineering, Physical Sciences and Architecture (EPSA) ceremony at 11a.m. -- the first in a series which will see approximately 6,500 UQ students graduate across the next fortnight.

Michael McRobbie

Michael McRobbie

Print-Quality Photo

Professor McRobbie leads Indiana University, an eight-campus institution with 100,000 students and more than half a million alumni.

He joined the university in 1997 as vice president of information technology, successfully establishing an innovative IT and online learning environment which saw him named one of the Premier 100 IT Leaders in Computerworld Magazine.

With the rapid evolution of the higher education sector, Professor McRobbie said the world's top universities would increasingly be defined by their IT infrastructure.

"A university's core technological systems allow its faculty to make important and far-reaching discoveries in the sciences, in the arts and humanities, and in nearly every other area of research and scholarship," Professor McRobbie said.

"Students, too, now demand access to a 21st century education. They expect their IT environments to be contemporary and flexible, ready to change from one generation of students to the next."

Professor McRobbie said he had enjoyed his time studying at UQ in the 1970s and that the award was an unexpected honour.

"Those years provided me with a strong academic foundation from which to grow personally and professionally. They also opened my mind to the great potential that arises when we pursue knowledge in its many and varied forms," he said.

Speaking at a 2 p.m. EPSA ceremony also on Dec. 3 will be the founder and President of Engineers Without Borders Australia (EWB) Daniel Almagor.

UQ houses its own chapter of the organisation and participated in the inaugural EWB-Australia Challenge, which saw first-year engineering students devise water, energy and power solutions for the Uluru Children's Home in Tamil Nadu, India.

Dean of EPSA, Professor Stephen Walker, said Professor McRobbie and Mr Almagor were great ambassadors for their fields and the Faculty's focus on innovation and sustainable practice.

The ceremonies will take place at the UQ Centre, St Lucia, with Bachelor of Architecture graduate Christina Cho and dual Engineering / Commerce graduate Jack MacDiarmid presenting the Valedictory address at the 11a.m. and 2pm events respectively.

The earlier ceremony will also see the presentation of the UQ Graduate of the Year Award, which has been won by Kim Hajek, a first-class honours graduate and University Medallist in both Science (Physics) and Arts (French).

To read a Q&A with McRobbie and the University of Queensland, go to