Henneberg receives Poland's highest academic award
Thursday, 23 January 2003
The University of Adelaide's Professor Maciej Henneberg has finally received academic recognition from his native Poland - a country he was forced to leave in 1984 - by being awarded the title of Professor of Biological Sciences.
The unique award is Poland's highest academic qualification and enables Professor Henneberg to evaluate all levels of tertiary education in the Eastern European country. Polish State President Aleksander Kwasniewski will present the award on February 20 at the presidential palace.
"I am extremely pleased as this is just recognition for the work I have done over the years," said Professor Henneberg, who is head of the Department of Anatomical Sciences and Convenor of the Academic Board at The University of Adelaide.
In 1980-81 Professor Henneberg was the driver of major change in Poland's academic system as he strove for the return of a normal academic process. After orchestrating strikes, replacing academics and reconstituting the Academic Board, he was detained on December 13, 1981 and incarcerated for 100 days without trial under martial law.
It was during this period that General Wojciech Jaruzelski became party head. He declared martial law and carried out a military takeover in the name of the Communist Party. Solidarity, championed by Lech Walesa, was banned, its leadership imprisoned, while other union activists were driven underground.
Professor Henneberg fell gravely ill in jail and was hospitalised. In 1982 he was released, but until his departure from Poland in 1984, he was constantly pressured by the authorities to leave the country. Following his departure from Poland, Professor Henneberg spent time in Texas and South Africa before joining the University of Adelaide in 1996.
A Biological Anthropologist and Anatomist, Professor Henneberg is also the Wood Jones Professor of Anthropological and Comparative Anatomy; past Associate Dean of the Faculty of Health Sciences; Past President of the Australasian Society for Human Biology; Managing Editor of the Journal of Comparative Human Biology, HOMO; CEO of "SOMA" Medical and Scientific Anatomy Services trading through the University of Adelaide's commercialisation company, Adelaide Research and Innovation Pty. Ltd., and last year he was elected Visiting Fellow of St. Cross College, Oxford University, England.
In a teaching career spanning 29 years, he has lectured at universities in Poland, United States of America, South Africa and Australia and conducted research in Poland, Germany, USA, South Africa, England, Italy and Australia.
"This is a great honour for Professor Henneberg and I know it means a lot to him. It is also an honour for the University of Adelaide to have one of its distinguished staff recognised in this way," the University's Vice-Chancellor Professor James McWha said.