Uni honours first Indigenous Professor

Wednesday, 21 December 2005

The University of Adelaide will further honour its first Indigenous Professor, Professor Roger Thomas, by awarding him an honorary doctorate this morning (Wednesday).

Professor Thomas, who is Director of the University of Adelaide's Centre for Australian Indigenous Research and Studies (known as Wilto Yerlo), will be admitted to the degree of Doctor of the University honoris causa for his creative and original distinguished contributions in the service of society.

He will receive the honour at a graduation ceremony in the University of Adelaide's Bonython Hall at 10am this morning (Wednesday).

Earlier this year, he became the first indigenous person to obtain the level of Professor at the University of Adelaide. He also becomes the first indigenous person to receive an honorary doctorate from Adelaide.

"It's an overwhelming feeling, and very humbling," Professor Thomas says. "I'm pleased because it shows that the University is very serious about Indigenous education and culture.

"I will receive the doctorate on behalf of all Indigenous staff and students associated with the University of Adelaide, because they're who I work with and for."

Executive Dean of the University's Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, Professor Mike Innes, says Professor Thomas has done much to raise the profile and awareness of indigenous culture and education across the University and the wider community.

"He is a firm leader, with a strong sense of direction," Professor Innes says. "Professor Thomas will continue to lead and to facilitate the increasing awareness of the needs, achievements and contributions of indigenous people to the life of the University of Adelaide and of Australia.

"He is a remarkable man who many are proud to have as their colleague, but also to call their friend."


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