Honorary Doctorates for Kevin Rudd and Thérèse Rein

16 December 2016

Kevin and Thérèse are great Australians and true friends of the ANU, and it is a great honour for the University to be able to honour their contribution.

The ANU has honoured former Prime Minister Kevin Rudd and businesswoman Thérèse Rein by awarding honorary degrees to the husband and wife team at the University's end-of-year graduation ceremonies.

Mr Rudd and Ms Rein are ANU alumni who first met on campus when they were undergraduate students in the late 1970s.

ANU Chancellor Professor the Hon Gareth Evans AC QC said Mr Rudd and Ms Rein went on to forge remarkably successful careers and have had a great impact on Australian society.

"Kevin and Thérèse are great Australians and true friends of the ANU, and it is a great honour for the University to be able to honour their contribution," Professor Evans said.

"Thérèse Rein's career has been one of exceptional achievement and contribution to the community," Professor Evans said.

"Her contributions in assisting socially and economically excluded people find independence, health and wellbeing are inestimable and global.

"Kevin Rudd is a great Australian leader of international standing who continues to contribute to society. He will always be remembered for the role he played in the national apology to the Stolen Generation, but also for his ongoing philanthropic work to close the gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians."

Mr Rudd said he was delighted to be honoured by his former university.

"I'm delighted to be honoured by the University that prepared me for life, work and the future. It nurtured my life-long engagement with China," Mr Rudd said.

"I'm particularly proud of my affiliation with the ANU because it is established under an Act of the national parliament to prepare Australia for the great challenges we were to face in the post-war period. That mission continues today."

Ms Rein said she was proud of her enduring links with ANU.

"I am proud of my deep connection with the ANU. The University introduced me to the discipline of psychology, and in particular how to help people overcome their sense of personal helplessness in finding the dignity of work," Ms Rein said.

"I built a global firm over the next 30 years based on that foundation, across 12 countries and employing 4,000 people, helping millions of people find rewarding work in often difficult circumstances.

"I'm grateful for the deep grounding I received at the ANU and honoured to receive this high award from my university home."

After a career as a diplomat, Mr Rudd (BA (Asian Studies) (Hons) '81) went into politics and became the first ANU graduate to become Prime Minister of Australia.

As Prime Minister, Mr Rudd was responsible for the historic National Apology to Indigenous Australians, and for guiding Australia's economy through the global financial crisis without going into recession.

He was Foreign Minister from 2010 to 2012, and is currently President of the US-based Asia Society Policy Institute.

Among his many other distinguished positions, Mr Rudd is also Chair of the Independent Commission on Multilateralism, a Distinguished Fellow at Chatham House in London and a Senior Fellow at the Harvard Kennedy School. He is a Visiting Professor at Tsinghua University in Beijing and he co-chairs the World Economic Forum's China Council.

Ms Rein (BA '80, MQual (Psych) '81), is the founder and Managing Director of the global Ingeus group of companies, which provide services to people with disabilities and help them with rehabilitation, finding work and workplace support, and help them address the physical and psychological aspects of their condition.

Ms Rein has had a life-long commitment to philanthropy and in 2010 was awarded the Human Rights Medal by the Australian Human Rights Commission for her long-term dedication to human rights, especially the rights of people with disability

In 2014, Ms Rein was named co-winner of the ANU Alumni of the Year award for her contribution to society and for improving the lives of people with disabilities.

Mr Rudd and Ms Rein were awarded the Degree of Doctor of Laws honoris causa at the end of year graduation ceremonies for the College of Asia and the Pacific and the College of Arts and Social Sciences at ANU.