Award of Doctor of Engineering honoris causa
Ms Else Shepherd AM
Else Shepherd is a pioneer and role model in breaking through the barriers to women's professional acceptance particularly in "non-traditional" fields such as engineering.
Maths and physics were her favourite subjects at Brisbane Girls Grammar School and she was inspired to pursue a career in engineering by the 1957 launch of the Russian satellite Sputnik.
Ms Shepherd was one of the first two women to graduate from electrical engineering at The University of Queensland, in 1965, and at one time she was one of only two female engineers working in Queensland.
After graduating, Ms Shepherd worked as an operation research engineer at the Sugar Research Institute in Mackay. She had recently married, and during this period it was unusual for married women to work in factories with men.
The Institution of Engineers, Australia, named Ms Shepherd the 2000 Queensland Professional Engineer of the Year, yet when she joined in the 1960s she could not attend their meetings, which were held at the local Men's Club.
The Institution moved venues and Ms Shepherd went on to become an influential member – paving the way for other women engineers in Australia.
She taught at the Queensland University of Technology for two years in the 1980s, and later established or co-developed two companies that specialise in telecommunications products.
In 1994, she was appointed to her current position as Chair of Powerlink, which maintains Queensland’s electricity transmission.
Ms Shepherd also sits on the Brisbane City Works and Brisbane City Design Advisory Boards and the Camerata of St John’s Board.
For her contributions to engineering, education and the electricity generating industry, Ms Shepherd was appointed a Member of the Order of Australia (AM). She also received a Centenary Medal for services to Australia in the field of information technology.
She is an Honorary Fellow of Engineers Australia and a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering. For three consecutive years, Engineers Australia ranked her as one of Australia’s "Top 100 Most Influential Engineers", and in 2007, she was ranked one of Australia's "Top 25 Most Influential Female Engineers". In 2009, The University of Queensland named her Alumnus of the Year.
Ms Shepherd is a trained musician (piano) with vast experience as a choral conductor and director of arts organisations. She received a Graduate Diploma in Music from the Queensland Conservatorium of Music in 1984.
Chancellor, in recognition of her distinguished career, her service to Queensland and to Australia and her contribution to The University of Queensland, I present to you Ms Else Shepherd AM, Bachelor of Engineering from The University of Queensland, for the award of Doctor of Engineering honoris causa bestowed by the Senate of The University of Queensland.