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Indigenous advocate awarded Honorary Doctorate

Leading Australian Indigenous art collector and philanthropist, Ken McGregor, was awarded an Honorary Doctorate by Bond University on Saturday (February 13), recognising his extensive work in advancing Indigenous communities, his contribution to education and his donations of artwork to several charities and the University.

Mr McGregor joined 400 graduates at a graduation ceremony at Bond University to receive the Doctor of the University (honoris causa) degree.

Since the late 1970s, Mr McGregor has been devoted to the advancement of Indigenous people through their art and has campaigned for improved health outcomes for remote communities, including founding the charitable Desert Walk for Dialysis Appeal.

His personal contributions include major donations and benefactions of prominent Indigenous artworks to regional galleries around Australia, he is a perpetual benefactor of the Gold Coast City Art Gallery and has authored and produced more than 30 art related publications.

Bond University Vice-Chancellor and President, Professor Tim Brailsford, said Mr McGregor had also made an important contribution to furthering Indigenous education through his generous donations of artworks to the annual Bond University Indigenous Gala fundraiser.

"In addition to supporting the art collection on campus, Ken has become an annual donor to the Gala, which has raised more than $1 million to support scholarships for Indigenous students to study at Bond University, making a major difference to the lives of these inspirational young people," he said.

"Ken's contribution extends well beyond this, however, as a dedicated advocate of the advancement of Indigenous Australians for over three decades, and we are privileged to present him with an Honorary Doctorate."

Mr McGregor established the Desert Walk for Dialysis Appeal in 2011, walking more than 1,000 kilometres, solo, from Alice Springs in the Northern Territory to the remote Kiwirrkurra community in Western Australia to raise awareness and funds to combat the major issue of diabetes and kidney failure in remote communities. 

The funds contributed to the operating costs of a mobile dialysis unit that delivers much needed treatment to Aboriginal communities.

He has also worked extensively in Africa, Europe and Russia, and organised art exhibitions in Australia, Asia, USA and the UK.

Olympic and Commonwealth Games gold medal swimming star Melanie Wright (nee Schlanger) was also among the graduates at the ceremony, receiving her Master of Business Administration degree (MBA).

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