Adam Goodes receives honorary doctorate

29 September 2017
Sports and community hero honoured

Adam Goodes has received an honorary doctorate from the University of Sydney in recognition of his outstanding contribution to Australian society.

Former Australian of the year, human rights advocate and sports hero Adam Goodes has received an honorary doctorate from the University of Sydney’s Faculty of Health Sciences for his outstanding contribution to Australian society.

Vice-Chancellor and Principal Dr Michael Spence awarded Adam Goodes a Doctor of Health Sciences (honoris causa) in a ceremony at the University’s Great Hall on Thursday 28 September.

“Adam is a champion on and off the field. His sporting achievements are remarkable but do not define him entirely, he is larger than football,” said Dr Spence.

“His dedication to human rights, the fight against racism and to helping young Aboriginal people, have made an indelible mark on the Australian landscape.”

Adam Goodes emphasised the importance of education during his address to graduates by saying:

“In my opinion, education is the absolute underlying key for people to achieve their goals,” he said.

“Not just because it provides them with a knowledge and understanding of the world and the people around them, but also because it enables people to dream, and dream big. Dream about things that they otherwise wouldn’t dream about. But it’s the foundation for achieving our dreams, not the guarantee.”

An Adnyamathanha and Narungga man, Adam Goodes is one of the most accomplished football players the Australian Football League has seen.  The former Sydney Swans player’s career highlights include two Brownlow Medals and more than 350 games with the Swans.

Adam is equally known for his involvement and leadership within the Indigenous community.

In 2009, together with his former teammate Michael O’Loughlin and James Gallichan, Adam established the Go Foundation which empowers the next generation of Indigenous role models via scholarship programs.

In 2014 he was named Australian of the Year for his work with Indigenous youth community programs and his firm yet compassionate campaign against racism.

Among his many current appointments, Adam is CEO of the Indigenous Defence Consortium, a project providing a diverse range of services via its consortium partners - all Indigenous owned businesses.   

Uncle Allen Madden, Gadigal Elder gave the Welcome to Country at the graduation ceremony which was concluded by an occasional address by Adam Goodes.

Pro-Chancellor Peter Fitzsimons AM, Adam Goodes and Vice-Chancellor and Principal Dr Michael Spence.

Pro-Chancellor Peter Fitzsimons AM, Adam Goodes and Vice-Chancellor and Principal Dr Michael Spence. 

Professor Kathryn Refshauge, Dean of the Faculty of Health Sciences, said the award recognised Adam Goodes’ many contributions to the community and that the graduates were fortunate to hear his words of wisdom as they embarked on their own careers.

“Adam is a leader and highly respected role model, not only for the Aboriginal community but also for the wider Australian community,” she said.

“He embodies the creativity, courage and determination we hope to see in our graduates.”

More about Adam Goodes

Adam captained the Sydney Swans for four years from 2009 to 2012, is a four-time All-Australian team member, a member of the Indigenous Team of the Century, and has represented Australia in the International Rules Series. 

He has been awarded the Bob Skilton Medal, recognising the best and fairest in his team, three times.

Adam founded and chaired the Indigenous Advisory Board of the AFL Players Association to provide the players a voice to help make the AFL a supportive workplace for Indigenous players from its inception in 2011 to 2016. 

Adam ended his on field football career in 2015 after a record 372 games, surpassing the previous record of 340 games.

He has also been an ambassador for over 10 years for White Ribbon Australia, an organisation working to end domestic violence against women.

We acknowledge the traditional custodians of the country on which the University of Sydney campuses stand and our responsibility to respect and care for country, people and spirit.

Kobi Print

Media and PR Adviser (Medicine and Health)

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