One of Australia’s most highly respected Aboriginal leaders is set to receive an honorary doctorate from the University of Adelaide on Friday.
Pitjantjatjara woman Dr Lowitja O’Donoghue will receive the reward for her lifetime contribution to the advancement of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander rights, leading to significant outcomes in health, education, political representation, land rights and reconciliation.
Vice-Chancellor of the University, Peter Høj AC said she was a worthy recipient.
“There is no doubt that Dr Lowitja O’Donoghue is among the most inspirational women in our lifetime," said Mr Høj.
“It is our pleasure to award her an honorary doctorate from the University of Adelaide, recognising her outstanding achievements for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and for the entire community through reconciliation.
“Her life’s work has been among the most meaningful and worthy of any honorary doctorate recipient you will encounter anywhere.”
Ms O'Donoghue, who was born in Indulkana in South Australia's north-west, was refused entry to the Royal Adelaide Hospital to become a nurse. She fought the decision, and in 1954 became the first Aboriginal trainee nurse at the hospital, and eventually the first Aboriginal nurse in South Australia.
It was the catalyst for a lifetime of advocating for the advancement of Aboriginal rights.
Throughout her life, she has worked in education, politics, land rights and reconciliation.
She is the patron of the Lowitja Institute, which is a national research centre focusing on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health, named in her honour.
The doctorate will be presented to her niece, Deborah Edwards as Ms O’Donoghue cannot attend.
Executive General Manager Inclusion & Social Policy with the Australian Football League, Tanya Hosch will give the acceptance speech on her behalf.