Former Senator emphasises importance of higher education, awarded Doctor of Laws

30 Nov 2023

By The Record

University’s Chancellor, the Hon Christopher Ellison, third from left, Secretary General of the Organisation for Economic Development and Cooperation (OECD), the Hon Mathias Cormann, and UNDA Vice Chancellor, Prof Francis Campbell, first from right. Mr Corman was awarded an Honorary Doctorate for his commitment to higher education and years of public service. Photo: UNDA/Supplied.

The Secretary General of the Organisation for Economic Development and Cooperation (OECD), the Hon Mathias Cormann, has been awarded an Honorary Doctorate for his commitment to higher education and years of public service.

The University of Notre Dame Australia awarded Mr Cormann with a Doctor of Laws at a special ceremony held at St Edmund’s College at the University of Cambridge, Friday 24 November.

As part of the Honorary Degree conferral ceremony, Mr Cormann delivered an address on the topic of “The Value of Higher Education in Developed Countries”.

To a distinguished audience of more than 80 people, Mr Cormann spoke about the critical role universities play in building knowledge, skills, innovation and driving economic growth.

“A strong, vibrant and effective higher education system can serve as an important policy lever for addressing the long-term structural challenges facing us, first and foremost boosting economic development and growth. But in the short term, in the world we live in today, the drags on growth are significant,” Mr Cormann said.

Mr Cormann, who trained as a lawyer, entered Federal politics in 2007 as a Senator for Western Australia.

He was Australia’s longest serving Federal Finance Minister – holding the role from 2013 to 2020.

After leaving Federal politics, he became the first Australian to be elected as Secretary General of the OECD.

As a Senator, he was a strong and passionate advocate for Western Australia and took a strong interest in the higher education sector.

University’s Chancellor, the Hon Christopher Ellison and Secretary General of the Organisation for Economic Development and Cooperation (OECD), the Hon Mathias Cormann, who was awarded an Honorary Doctorate for his commitment to higher education and years of public service. Photo: UNDA/Supplied.

The University’s Chancellor, the Hon Christopher Ellison, said Mr Cormann had been a longstanding supporter and friend of Notre Dame by providing more equity and access opportunities for students.

“Mathias Cormann has dedicated much of his life to serving the community and it is with enormous pleasure that we confer on him this Honorary Degree in recognition of his many years of public service and support for both higher education and the Catholic Church in Australia,” Mr Ellison said.

“As a measure of his character, he is highly regarded on all sides of politics for both his stewardship of our nation’s finances, as well as for his tireless advocacy for his home State of Western Australia.

“We thank him for his friendship and wish him every success in his current role with the OECD.”