One of Australia’s most decorated diplomats and a member of the ARIA Hall of Fame are among those who have been celebrated with honorary degrees from The Australian National University (ANU) this week, as part of the University’s end-of-year graduation ceremonies.  

Frances Adamson AC was the first woman to be appointed Secretary of the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT), a role she held from 2016 until her retirement in 2021. 

During this time she was committed to improving DFAT’s gender equity and led the department through the COVID-19 outbreak. 

Over the course of her 36-year diplomatic career Ms Adamson was particularly dedicated to strengthening Australia’s relationship with the Asia-Pacific region.  

These efforts have seen her acknowledged with multiple awards and honours, including being appointed a Companion of the Order of Australia in the 2021 Queen’s Birthday Honours. She can now add an honorary doctorate from ANU to her impressive list of achievements.  

Frances Adamson AC was among those presented with an honarary degree. Photo: Tracey Nearmy/ANU

The University has also conferred an honorary degree on renowned singer-songwriter Kevin Carmody. 

A Murri man from northern Queensland and part of the Stolen Generations, Mr Carmody is also a prominent campaigner for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander rights.  

His song ‘From Little Things Big things Grow’ is one of the country’s most significant and enduring protest anthems.  

Mr Carmody was inducted into the ARIA Hall of Fame in 2009 and into the National Indigenous Music Awards Hall of Fame in 2021. 

Honorary degrees have also been awarded to Dr Ken Henry AC, Professor Jillian F Banfield and The Honourable Margaret Stone. 

They join more than 3,200 ANU students who have graduated this week, with more than 2,100 able to attend the celebrations in person.  

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