Poche honoured for help in ‘closing the gap’

gerlachOne of Australia’s foremost philanthropists, Mr Greg Poche AO, will receive an honorary doctorate from Flinders University at a graduation ceremony held on Wednesday, December 15 in the Adelaide Convention Centre.

Flinders University’s Chancellor, Mr Stephen Gerlach [pictured], will confer the degree of Doctor of the University on Mr Poche.

“Through his record of extraordinary generosity, Mr Poche has made a significant individual contribution towards closing the gap of inequity and disadvantage that so drastically affects the health and well-being of Australia’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population,” Mr Gerlach said.

“The endowment of the Poche Centres for Indigenous Health at Flinders substantially enhances the University’s existing Indigenous education and health activities in rural and remote areas.”

Mr Poche has made large donations from his personal fortune to health related causes. Following a $41 million endowment to the Sydney’s Mater Hospital to establish the Melanoma Institute of Australia, he has made donations to three Australian universities in support of research and education related to Indigenous health.

In March this year, Mr Poche made a $10 million endowment to Flinders to establish two new Poche Centres for Indigenous Health, one based in Alice Springs and the other in Adelaide.

Earlier this year, Mr Poche won the Award for Outstanding Philanthropic Support of Higher Education 2010 from the Business/Higher Education Round Table (B-HERT), and last month was the recipient of a Research Australia Award, the Macquarie Group Foundation Great Australian Philanthropy Award.

While in Adelaide for the graduation ceremony, Mr Poche will meet senior University staff and Poche Centre researchers at a function on the Flinders campus tomorrow (Wednesday).

The honorary degree will be conferred during today’s ceremony, at which 360 students will receive their degrees in the fields of engineering, science and the health sciences; 410 students will graduate in arts, law, education and social sciences at the 10am ceremony.

Commending the students for their work and commitment and their families and partners for their support, Mr Gerlach expressed a hope that the new graduates would continue to share in a commitment to Flinders “as we strive to maintain and enhance our reputation for excellence in research, in teaching and in service to the community.”

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