Australian Catholic University has recognised Gerard and Anne Henderson with honorary doctorates for their influence on how Australian history and contemporary public policy issues are understood and debated.
The award, presented by ACU vice-chancellor Greg Craven in a small ceremony in Sydney on Tuesday, honours the Hendersons’ contribution to Australian history, public affairs and civil discourse.
The Hendersons’ establishment and work with The Sydney Institute, and their involvement in public debate through other media outlets, has allowed Australians to understand some of the great people who have shaped our story and their legacy.
Dr Gerard Henderson began his academic career with a Bachelor of Arts and a Bachelor of Laws at the University of Melbourne, and a Doctor of Philosophy from La Trobe University, where he subsequently worked in the Politics Department and the Department of Political Science, then as a teacher and scholar at the University of Tasmania. Outside of academia, Dr Henderson’s career has seen him work extensively in politics and governance.
Anne Henderson has long played a role in the education of young Australians and refugees. After earning a Bachelor of Arts and Diploma of Education at the University of Melbourne, she taught in Catholic schools for 17 years and raised a family while continuing her career, becoming part of an early generation of working wives and mothers.
Together, they established what would become The Sydney Institute, one of the first privately funded institutes for debate and discussion in Australia.
In congratulating the Hendersons, Professor Craven said The Sydney Institute was a “remarkable institution” for its willingness to “provide a platform for people on all sides of different issues”.