CDU awards Honorary Doctorate to Emeritus Professor Ron McKay 


One of the driving forces who helped develop the Territory’s only university into a leading research and academic institution, has been honored at a special ceremony.

Emeritus Professor Ronald McKay, the former Vice Chancellor of the Northern Territory University from 1996 to 2002, was awarded the degree of Doctor of Education Honoris Causa by CDU Chancellor Mr Richard Ryan AO during a ceremony in his home town of Murwillumbah in northern NSW last weekend.

Many prominent Territorians, including three former Northern Territory Government Under-Treasurers, were among approximately 50 family, friends and community members to witness the honour.

The citation was delivered by the CDU Vice-Chancellor, Professor Helen Garnett at Professor McKay’s home, as he was unable to travel to the Territory to accept the honour due to ill health.

It is the first time the University has presented such an award outside of the Northern Territory.

“The award recognizes Professor McKay’s outstanding service to the Northern Territory community, particularly through the development of the Northern Territory University under his leadership,” CDU Chancellor Richard Ryan said.

“Despite the enormous difficulties facing the University in its fledgling years, Professor McKay never lost sight of our unique physical location and social context, and his pioneering and dynamic approach has helped to create a university for the Territory, from which people graduate with pride,” he said.

Professor McKay graduated from the University of New England in 1967 as a Bachelor of Science with First Class Honours. He went on to be awarded the degree of Doctor of Philosophy from the University of NSW, a Graduate Diploma in Computing with Distinction and a Graduate Diploma in Business with Distinction.

Professor McKay’s academic career took him to the United States and Britain. He first became involved in university management during his time as the Dean of the School of Mathematical and Physical Sciences at Murdoch University.

Professor McKay’s demonstrated leadership and administrative capacity during a time of fundamental change in the Australian higher education system led to an invitation to take up the position of Deputy Vice Chancellor at the Northern Territory University in 1991.

The citation will be re-read by the Vice Chancellor at the CDU graduation ceremony to be held at the Casuarina Campus later this month.