29 November 2007

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, December 3.

Professor Michael McRobbie will receive a Doctor of Science honoris causa at a Faculty of Engineering, Physical Sciences and Architecture (EPSA) ceremony at 11am – the first in a series which will see approximately 6500 UQ students graduate across the next fortnight.

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 2pm EPSA ceremony also on December 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.

EPSA Executive Dean, 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 11am 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).

Media: Cameron Pegg at UQ Communications (07 3365 2049, c.pegg@uq.edu.au).

For high resolution images to accompany this release, contact Diana Lilley (07 3365 2753, d.lilley@uq.edu.au).