Honorary Degree citation: Mr John Mitchell

14 December 2017

Chancellor, it is my privilege to present to you for a degree of the University, Mr John Mitchell.

Mr Mitchell comes from a family with a long history of contributing to the nation.

His maternal grandfather, for instance, was General Sir Henry George Chauvel, commander of the ANZAC Mounted Division Light Horse and Desert Mounted Corps in World War One, and famous for the charge at Beersheba.

John Mitchell is a successful farmer and investor with a passion for economics and reducing income inequality.

His philanthropic drive was shaped during a challenging youth and the obstacles he overcame in his pursuit of higher education.

As a young undergraduate student in the 1970s, he had to overcome both his father's objections to him pursuing a university degree and a subsequent lack of any financial support.

Studying Economics and Arts at ANU and living at Burgmann College gave him a positive direction in life.

Mr Mitchell graduated in 1982 and has been running the family sheep and cattle station, Towong Hill, for the past 35 years.

He is well known for his generosity towards people in need, often paying for people's medical bills and driving them 150 kilometres to Albury for specialist medical appointments.

Today Mr Mitchell is one of the most important supporters of the University.

In 2002 he established a scholarship program for undergraduate students from rural and regional backgrounds, which helps two first-year students each year at the ANU College of Business and Economics.

In 2016 he funded a pilot research project that will have a significant impact on the future of Australian farming.

The project aligns with Mr Mitchell's passion for developing farming practices that are environmentally and financially sustainable.

He also established the John Mitchell Research Fellowship with a gift of $490,000 to the ANU Research School of Economics.

This will in part fund an early career researcher working on income distribution and inequality.

More recently, Mr Mitchell has provided a five million dollar bequest for an Endowed Chair at the ANU Research School of Economics to ensure there will always be research carried out into reducing income inequality.

With Mr Mitchell, the character trait that shines most strongly is his remarkable altruism.

He has a genuine desire to make a difference to the future of Australia and its people, and he has chosen to take steps towards this goal by supporting research at ANU.

Chancellor, it is with pleasure that I present to you Mr John Mitchell, that you may confer on him the degree of Doctor of the University honoris causa for his exceptional contribution to the standing and reputation of the University.