Flinders University has presented Adelaide United footballer Josh Cavallo with an honorary doctorate, recognising his exceptional contributions as a role model in elite men’s sport and a champion for equality in broader society.
Paving the way for future generations at just 21 years of age, Josh last year made global headlines and fearlessly cemented himself as a symbol of courage, bravery and inspiration to millions around the world by coming out and making history at that time as the only active openly gay male player in a top-flight men’s professional soccer league anywhere in the world.
‘Seldom awarded, Flinders University Honorary degrees are presented to distinguished members of our community, whose extraordinary leadership has changed lives,’ says Flinders University Vice-Chancellor Professor Colin Stirling.
‘Recipients of the Doctor of the University come from all walks of life and have made their mark through contributions that have made genuine impact. That is absolutely true of Josh Cavallo.
‘Like Josh and his team Adelaide United, Flinders University supports diversity and inclusion underpinned by our lived values including those of Courage and Integrity – and I am immensely pleased we have been able to recognise Josh’s personal courage, integrity and strength with an honorary degree.’
Flinders’ newest Honorary Doctorate recipient Josh Cavallo says ‘It is with much gratitude and appreciation to Flinders University that I accept this incredible honour.
‘I know Flinders University are recognising not just myself, but also the Class of 2022 graduates who have shown great courage and strength in achieving their life goals.
‘Thank you, Chancellor Stephen Gerlach and the entire Flinders University family, for this honorary doctorate degree and for your efforts to help pave the way for the next generation of LGBTQ+ athletes.’
Flinders University Chancellor Stephen Gerlach says Josh became an inspiration to millions of young people around the world by choosing to speak out and showed the community that being your true self should always be a priority.
‘I speak on behalf of Flinders University when I say that Josh Cavallo has our everlasting respect and gratitude for being a reminder to us all that visibility and representation matters.
‘As a major partner for Adelaide United, it is an absolute honour to see someone of such courage and authenticity wear the University’s name emblazoned across his strip.
‘Josh’s courage and strength has paved the way for future generations. Josh’s commitment to his profession, and the lasting impact that dedication has made, have forever shaped the future of the world’s most popular game. Josh should be justifiably proud of his achievements; we certainly are.
‘With a long career ahead, on and off the pitch, Josh Cavallo has earned the respect and gratitude of the community for his courage, authenticity and reminding us that visibility and representation matters.’
Josh now joins an esteemed group of Flinders Honorary degree recipients, including this week’s fellow awardees, celebrated cook Maggie Beer AO and renowned film producer Kerry Heysen who were presented with their honorary doctorates on Monday, and Darwin Aboriginal Elder Uncle Richie Fejo, and leading Defence Scientist Dr Dale Lambert PSM FTSE who are being presented with theirs on Thursday.
A full list of Flinders University honorary doctorate recipients can be found here.