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Dr John, it's been an honour

John Kearney
Bond University Vice Chancellor and President Tim Brailsford and Dr John Kearney.

Prominent Gold Coast doctor and philanthropist John Kearney OAM has received an Honorary Doctorate from Bond University. 

The ophthalmologist was made a Doctor of the University (honoris causa) at the annual Medicine graduation ceremony on December 2.

Bond University Vice Chancellor and President Tim Brailsford lauded Dr Kearney who has taught at Bond University for decades and remains an Associate Clinical Professor with the Faculty of Health Sciences & Medicine.

“To many of his patients he's simply known as Dr John, which reflects the strong and caring relationship he has with them,” Professor Brailsford said.

“Outside of his professional endeavours, John has gained an enviable reputation as an individual who is generous and determined to assist others in less fortunate positions.” 

“He cares about making a positive impact on society and his generous philanthropy is an exemplar for all.”

Dr Kearney graduated from the University of Melbourne in Medicine with Honours in surgery, and as a young doctor moved to the Highlands of Papua New Guinea where he ran a hospital.

The experience sparked a lifelong passion for bringing eyecare to remote regions including Outback Australia, East Timor and the Pacific islands.

He has worked with organisations such as Mercy Ships, the Red Cross and the WHO, and with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health services in Queensland, Western Australia, and the Northern Territory.

Dr Kearney established the Gold Coast Eye Clinic in 1984 and witnessed the birth of Bond University in 1989.

In 2021 he and wife Elena made one of the most significant donations in the history of Bond University to help educate the next generation of doctors.

Dr Kearney offered graduands some words of advice after the conferral of his degree: “speak in respectful language with your patients”, “pay your tax” and “take a day off for yourself every week”. 

He also reminded them to “honour your parents with love”. Dr Kearney is the son of the late barrister Dr John F Kearney AM QC and Dr Alison Kearney who were also long-time benefactors and supporters of the university.

The University recognised their many contributions by awarding a Doctor of Laws (honoris causa) to John F Kearney in 2000, and a Doctor of the University (honoris causa) to Alison Kearney in 2009.

Dr John Kearney’s parting words to the graduands were: “Follow your own star with your new Bond skills and make us proud. If you have half the fun as I have, you're going to have a ball.”

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