28 September 2016: Australia’s first female Governor-General, the Honourable Dame Quentin Bryce AD, CVO is the second member of her family to receive an honorary doctorate from the University of Canberra.
Dame Quentin, who has had a distinguished career including as an academic, lawyer, community and human rights advocate and viceregal representative in Queensland and Australia, said she was delighted to receive the award at the University’s graduation ceremonies on Wednesday.
Dame Quentin’s award recognises her distinguished service to the Australian community, as Australia’s 25th Governor-General, a leader, pioneer, role model and mentor for women, and an advocate for human rights, especially for the rights and welfare of women and children.
“I am honoured to receive this recognition from the University of Canberra. It is a great delight as my family has strong connections with this wonderful institution,” she said.
Dame Quentin’s husband Michael Bryce has been an adjunct professor at the University since 2007, was a member of the University of Canberra Council from 2005-2009, and received an honorary degree 13 years ago.
A woman of many firsts, Dame Quentin has played a significant part in making it easier for women to succeed in all areas of leadership and public life.
She was the first woman to be appointed as a faculty member at the University of Queensland’s School of Law, where she was a lecturer and tutor in criminal law, administrative law and legal aspects of social work.
In 2003, she became the second woman in history to be appointed as Governor of Queensland, where she was a highly respected and inspiring leader, spending a great deal of time in Queensland’s regional and remote areas.
Five years later, Dame Quentin became the first women to take up office as Governor-General of Australia, bringing 40 years of experience to the role.
Throughout her career of almost 50 years to date, Dame Quentin has served a wide range of community and charity organisations throughout the country. These include time as President of Women’s Cricket Australia, Chair of the National Breast Cancer Advisory Council, Patron of the Indigenous Literacy Foundation, and more recently as founding member of the Katrina Dawson Foundation.
In 2014, in recognition of her dedication to public service, Dame Quentin was bestowed with the nation’s then highest honour, Dame of the Order of Australia.
“I feel each and every honour that I have received is a reflection of the opportunities that I have seized upon, a tribute to what can be achieved through dedication and hard work and I am reminded of that in accepting this honorary doctorate,” she said.
In her occasional address Dame Quentin encouraged the University’s newest graduates to pursue their dreams and believe anything is possible.
“Perhaps the most important honour that goes along with it is the opportunity to speak to new graduates, to share some of my experiences with them and to offer them a challenge to go forward and work to constantly improve themselves and this world,” Dame Quentin said.
Read about more of our recent graduates: