Swinburne University of Technology has recognised five inspiring leaders for their outstanding contributions across many fields including medicine, health, business, engineering, foreign relations and education.
The awards were handed out at Swinburne’s graduation ceremony, the first in Victoria to include students and their friends and families in-person since the COVID-19 pandemic began.
Swinburne has awarded Honorary Doctorate degrees to former Australian Chief Medical Officer, Professor Brendan Murphy, CEO of Engineers Australia, Dr Bronwyn Evans, business and philanthropy leader, Russell Scrimshaw, and Chairperson of the Australia-Israel Chamber of Commerce, Leon Kempler AM. Former Swinburne Vice-Chancellor, Professor Linda Kristjanson AO was also awarded the title of Emeritus Professor.
Honorary Doctorate degrees recognise the exceptional contributions and leadership of individuals in various fields, and to the university.
Professor Brendan Murphy
Professor Brendan Murphy has been awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Health Sciences for his contribution to the medical field and his work in leading Australia’s COVID-19 response.
A nephrologist by profession, Professor Murphy is currently Secretary of the federal Department of Health. Prior to this, he was Australia’s Chief Medical Officer and led the design of the COVID-19 public health guidelines during the early stages of the pandemic. He was instrumental in creating the COVIDSafe app. Under his leadership Australia was successful in reducing the mortality rate and morbidity of those who contracted the virus.
Professor Murphy has also held roles as Chief Executive Officer of Austin Health in Victoria and Director of Nephrology at St Vincent’s Health.
Professor Linda Kristjanson AO
Swinburne Vice-Chancellor from 2011 to 2020, Professor Linda Kristjanson AO, has been awarded the title of Professor Emeritus for her service to Swinburne, tertiary education and reform, and health.
In 2017, Professor Kristjanson was made an Officer of the Order of Australia for her distinguished service to tertiary education and contributions to cancer research, palliative care and to women. She is currently Chair of the Victorian Comprehensive Cancer Centre, Non-Executive Director of SEEK Ltd, the National Stroke Foundation, Global Citizen Australia, Skalata Ventures Ltd and Education Australia Ltd.
Former Swinburne Vice-Chancellor, Professor Linda Kristjanson AO received the title of Professor Emeritus.
Dr Bronwyn Evans
Chief Executive Officer of Engineers Australia, Dr Bronwyn Evans has received an Honorary Doctorate of Engineering for her contributions to a diverse range of engineering practice, including industrial automation and advanced manufacturing, medical device development, digital health, education, standards development, construction and power generation.
Dr Evans is an advocate for greater female representation in engineering and holds roles on boards and committees that aim to advance Australian innovation and manufacturing capability, including playing a key role in the Prime Minister’s Industry 4.0 Taskforce. In 2014 and 2015, she was recognised as one of Australia’s Top 100 Most Influential Engineers.
Russell Scrimshaw is the founding Executive Director and Deputy CEO of Fortescue Metals Group. He has been awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Business.
He now dedicates significant time to philanthropy, serving on the Board of the Garvan Medical Research Institute, which is helping to advance cutting-edge biomedical research.
As a Swinburne accounting alumnus, he is also a generous supporter of many of Swinburne’s philanthropic activities. In 2020, he donated $20,000 to the Swinburne Student Emergency Fund to support students experiencing hardship as a result of the COVID-19 situation - the largest individual donation from our alumni community. He is also one of the university’s leading supporters of Indigenous education.
As a Swinburne accounting alumnus, Russell Scrimshaw is also a generous supporter of many of Swinburne’s philanthropic activities.
Leon Kempler AM
Leon Kempler AM is Chairperson of the Australia-Israel Chamber of Commerce and was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of the University for his contributions to Australia’s business and cultural sectors, and his support of Swinburne.
Mr Kempler has dedicated himself to promoting joint research, trade, business and cultural ties between Australia and Israel. In 2018, he was awarded a Medal of the Order of Australia for his significant service to the community through contributions across cultural, charitable, education and children's medical foundation sectors. He is President of the Museum Boards of Victoria and chairs the Advisory Council of Questacon.