A highly respected leader in Aboriginal health and wellbeing, a disability advocate who has dedicated her career to improving the lives of women with disability in Australia, and a world-renowned expert in marine science and conservation, have been conferred Honorary Doctorates by the University of Melbourne.
Jill Gallagher AO is a Gunditjmara woman from Western Victoria and a leader and advocate for self-determination outcomes for the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community.
Ms Gallagher has been the CEO of the Victorian Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (VACCHO) since 2003. In this role she has been influential in raising awareness of health issues and improving access to dedicated services, including through the establishment of the Koori Maternity Service and the National Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Ageing & Aged Care Council.
In 2018, Ms Gallagher was appointed as Victoria’s first Treaty Advancement Commissioner. She led consultations with Aboriginal communities and development of the first piece of Treaty Legislation in Australia, now an Act of the Victorian Parliament. Ms Gallagher has served on a range of advisory and reform committees. She was inducted into Victoria’s Honour Roll of Women in 2009, awarded the Order of Australia in 2013 and inducted into the Victorian Aboriginal Honour Roll in 2015.
Keran Howe OAM is a leader in the fields of disability, family and domestic violence, violence and abuse against women, women’s health and human rights. Ms Howe has drawn on her own lived experience and extensive policy and practice experience to change the landscape for women with disability in Australia.
Ms Howe has served in a range of leadership positions including the Board of the Disability Housing Trust where she was instrumental in transforming the Trust into Housing Choices Australia, now one of the largest social housing providers in Australia.
In 2007 Ms Howe became the founding Executive Officer of Women with Disabilities Victoria (WDV), a role she held until 2018. From 2016-2018 she served as Co-Chair of the National Disability and Carers Council, the peak advisory body to the Commonwealth Government.
She has also made significant contributions to reform processes including the Royal Commission into Family Violence and the National Disability Research Partnership Working Party.
Professor Emma Johnston AO is a world-leading authority in marine science and conservation. Her research includes work on drivers of marine bio-invasions, Antarctic marine communities, development of new biomonitoring techniques and management of biodiversity in Australian estuarine systems.
Professor Johnston is the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research) at the University of Sydney and was previously a Dean of Science and Pro Vice-Chancellor (Research) at the University of New South Wales.
Professor Johnston is the former President of Science & Technology Australia and has served in leadership roles on a range of research programs in marine science and environmental management. She is an elected fellow of the Australian Academy of Science, Australian Academy of Technology and Engineering and the Royal Society of New South Wales.
University of Melbourne Vice-Chancellor Professor Duncan Maskell congratulated the three recipients of the University’s highest honour.
“Honorary doctorates recognise the outstanding contributions and distinguished community service of people like Ms Gallagher, Ms Howe and Professor Johnston,” Professor Maskell said. “In different ways, they have made major and lasting impressions on society, and it is very fitting that the University recognises them in this way.”
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