In Summary

  • Graeme Base, Ross Pilling and Noel Waite, AO awarded honorary doctorates

Three leading contributors to Australian society were awarded honorary doctorates at Swinburne graduation ceremonies this week. They are:

•       picture book creator, Graeme Base

•       respected industry leader Ross Pilling; and

•       pioneer of women’s professional development, Noel Waite, AO

Graeme Base

Swinburne graphic design alumnus Graeme Base is one of the world’s leading creators of picture books, having sold more than four million books in Australia alone.

After graduating from Swinburne, he had a brief career in advertising before moving on to illustrating children’s books; then began writing them as well. His second and possibly best known book – Animalia – received international acclaim, inspired an animated TV series and has its own iPad app.

Mr Base’s books have made a significant contribution to children’s literature and have received numerous awards.

Graham Goldsmith presents Graeme Base honorary doctorate

Swinburne Chancellor Graham Goldsmith presented children’s book author Graeme Base with an honorary doctorate for his contribution to children’s literature.


Ross Pilling

Former Chairman and Managing Director of BASF (Australia and New Zealand) Ross Pilling has more than 30 years’ experience in the chemicals, manufacturing and service industries across Australia, Asia and the UK.

He has a highly successful track record of steering large multi-national businesses through periods of rapid change.

Mr Pilling has played a key role in shaping and driving the future of the plastics and chemical industries in Australia and has made a significant contribution to the sustainability of Australian based chemical manufacturing.

He has also been a strong advocate for Australian research capabilities, demonstrated through BASF’s investment in collaborative research, including through the Cooperative Research Centre for Polymers of which he is a Director.

Noel Waite, AO

After graduating in art and design from Swinburne, Noel Waite became a fashion illustrator. She went on to become a partner in Fashion Art Studio at a time when many women did not work outside the home.

Together with her husband she founded a management consulting business – The Waite Group – in 1959, and took control of the business when she was widowed in 1968.

In 1982, Ms Waite began a recruitment company searching specifically for female candidates.

In 1991, she became the first female president of the Australian Institute of Management. She was later awarded their Malcolm Moore Medal and is also a life member of the Institute.

Ms Waite has chaired many private, public and not-for-profit sector boards and committees. In 1993 she was appointed an Officer of the Order of Australia for services to business and management, particularly for advancing the development of women in management.

Ms Waite was an inaugural inductee of Swinburne’s Australian Graduate School of Management Hall of Fame. This year she was also honoured at Swinburne’s International Women’s Day exhibition for her outstanding achievements and work as a member of the Swinburne community.