Honouring Dr Lowitja O’Donoghue

Flinders University has paid tribute to Dr Lowitja O’Donoghue AC, CBE, DSG, DUniv, a visionary leader whose remarkable contribution has left an indelible legacy upon our nation.

Vice Chancellor Professor Colin Stirling extends the Flinders University community’s heartfelt condolences to the family, friends and colleagues of Dr O’Donoghue, who was awarded a Flinders University Honorary Doctorate in 1994.

“Dr O’Donoghue overcame incredible adversity to be a champion for a better Australia,” said Professor Stirling.

“From her empathy as a nurse and advocacy for the health and wellbeing of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, to her diplomacy and determination to drive policies enshrining fairness and equity, her leadership changed this country and resonated around the world.

“Her Honorary Doctorate was awarded for her extraordinary service in South Australia as Regional Director of the SA Department of Aboriginal Affairs, nationally as the inaugural chair of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission, and internationally, as the first Aboriginal person to address the United Nations General Assembly.

“She blazed a path for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, shattered barriers for Indigenous women and women more broadly, and encouraged Australia to reflect on its past and consider its future.

“Inspiring, formidable, gracious and resolute – she was all this and much, much more.

“Her fierce intellect, dedication to justice, resilience, and incredible empathy stands testament to her vision for reconciliation, and her deep personal values of courage and integrity,” Professor Stirling said.

Pro Vice-Chancellor (Indigenous) Professor Simone Ulalka Tur has paid tribute to ‘Aunty’ Lowitja who has a connection through their Yankunytjatjara kinship, noting Aunty Lowitja as a powerful leader who had incredible intellectual fortitude and vision for a better Australia.

She said Aunty Lowitja’s early years and forced removal from her family were incredibly hard, forging her determination to fight to equity and justice.

Flinders University will light its fire pit at Yungkurrinthi Inparrila at its Bedford Park campus this Wednesday 7 February, from 12 noon -1pm, in Aunty Lowitja’s memory, where members of the community are invited to spend time connecting to Country and Spirit and reflecting on Dr O’Donoghue’s incredible legacy.

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