Stephen Andersen OAM

Honorary Doctor of Science

Citation delivered by Professor Paul Wellings CBE, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Wollongong on the occasion of the admission of Stephen Edward John Andersen as a Doctor of Science (honoris causa) on 17 April 2018.


Deputy Chancellor, I present to you Stephen Edward John Andersen.

Dr Stephen Andersen OAM has a deep and abiding connection with the University of Wollongong and has made significant contributions to its history: as an advisor, an educator, a Council member and as our Deputy Chancellor.

As well as his outstanding contribution to the University, Dr Andersen is celebrated in the Illawarra community for his business skills and community service. He founded Southern Pathology in 1979 and has served on many advisory boards and panels over the past four decades, including the Wollongong City Mission, the Salvation Army and Lifeline South Coast. For the past three years he has been a member of the Illawarra Shoalhaven Local Health District Board.

Graduating from medical school 1967 with a Bachelor of Medicine and a Bachelor of Surgery from the University of Sydney, Steve moved to Tasmania with his new bride, Mary, to undertake his junior residency at Royal Hobart Hospital. Following completion of his senior residency with St George Hospital a year later, Steve undertook his specialist training in Pathology at Sydney Hospital from 1969 to 1971. During this period, he accepted a secondment to Goroka Hospital in Papua New Guinea which set up a life-long association with the country; one that continues to this day with Steve providing his services as an external examiner in Pathology at the University of Papua New Guinea.

Dr Andersen’s commitment to providing quality health care saw him move to the Illawarra region in the late 70s to set up a pathology practice. Starting from scratch with only four staff, his hard work and astute business acumen guided and grew the organisation now known as Southern Pathology to its current state, employing 360 staff. Along the way, the company garnered a slew of awards including the Illawarra Business of the Year Award and the Customer Service Award in 1998 and an Australian Quality Award for Business Excellence in 1999. Personally, Steve’s services were recognised with a University of Wollongong Fellowship in 1998 and, in 2012, he was awarded a Medal of the Order of Australia for service to medical education, to the specialty of pathology, and to the community of the Illawarra region.

Always a strong supporter of the University, Dr Andersen provided exemplary governance leadership over several decades, serving on visiting committees for the faculties of Science and Commerce from as early as 1995, and on bodies such as the University Foundation and the Vice-Chancellor’s Advisory Board. He was elected to the University Council as a graduate member in 2008 and made such a strong contribution, both through his commercial medical field skills and experience and as a thoughtful and collegial board member, that Council made him an appointed member from January 2010. He also served as Chair of the Alumni Development Group from 2007 to 2010, the Innovation Campus Oversight Committee from 2010 to 2012, and the Council’s Finance and Resources Committee from 2012 to 2015.

In February 2010, the University Council elected him Deputy Chancellor, a position which he held for five and a half years, stepping down at the end of 2016. During his time as Deputy Chancellor. Dr Andersen presided at a great many graduation ceremonies here on the main campus as well as at the Shoalhaven Campus. Steve holds a genuine deep affection for and interest in our students and always made time to talk to graduates to ask them about their time at UOW and find out what future plans they held. Indeed, being a strong believer in life-long learning, Steve himself is also a proud alumnus of the University, holding a Bachelor of Science and a Masters of Business Administration from UOW.

As a knowledgeable medical practitioner and a shrewd businessman, Steve’s support for the University’s Medical School saw him play a key role in its establishment. He maintains an ongoing association with Graduate Medicine, serving as an Honorary Clinical Associate Professor with the Medical School since 2005. Dr Andersen also uses his extensive expertise to champion the University’s health research programs and to advocate on behalf of the University’s medical program in various local and regional health networks.

Over a lifetime filled with many major accomplishments both personal and professional, Steve cites the enrichment of travel, the importance of good health and the joy of family as being of paramount importance. To this end his dearest memories are: the extraordinary weekend in 1967 when he both graduated from medical school and married his beloved wife, Mary; the birth of each of his three wonderful children, and his love for his four grandchildren. We are very pleased Mary, Paul, Jane and Sarah are able to join us here today to help celebrate this remarkable man. We thank you for loaning him to us.

Deputy Chancellor, for his outstanding contribution to the Illawarra community and his exceptional service and dedication to this University, it is a privilege and a pleasure to present Dr Stephen Andersen OAM for a Doctor of Science, honoris causa.