July 24, 2019
Honorary Doctorate of Letters to distinguished public servant Dr Ian James Watt
Dr Ian Watt AC recognised for service to country, UOW research strategies
The University of Wollongong (UOW) has acknowledged one of Australia’s most distinguished public servants, presenting Ian Watt AC with an Honorary Doctorate of Letters on Wednesday, 24 July.
Dr Watt’s life goal has been to make a contribution to Australia, and he has done exactly that.
At the height of his career in the public sector, Dr Watt was the Secretary of the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet and the head of the Australian Public Service during Gillard, Rudd and Abbott governments from 2011 to 2014. Recognised nationally as the man who steered the public service through one of the most turbulent political times in recent history, he has served successive governments with distinction.
More recently, Dr Watt has been collaborating with UOW, bringing invaluable expertise to the SMART Infrastructure Facility’s Advisory Council. He chaired the council for two and a half years and stepped down in June.
Under his stewardship, the SMART Advisory Council attracted quality professionals and expanded its membership base to include stronger female representation and industry expertise. Dr Watt ensured the research direction of SMART was relevant to government and industry and provided a crucial link between these stakeholders and the University.
His work will continue to inform UOW’s Defence Working Group, as it looks at opportunities to strategically position the University as a defence-related research hub.
Upon receiving the award, a “humbled” Dr Watt thanked the University, and said he has enjoyed his time as Chair of SMART.
“Any association with a great university, such as this one, provides its own rewards,” Dr Watt said.
“The intellectual stimulus, the continuing opportunity to learn, and an opportunity to contribute are all deeply appreciated.”
UOW has been recognising outstanding achievement, exceptional service and significant contribution through the granting of Honorary Doctorates since 1976.
UOW Senior Professor Pascal Perez nominated Dr Watt with the Honorary Doctorate.
“Today we honour Ian for his experience as the country’s most senior public servant and for the outstanding service he has provided to the University,” Mr Perez said.
“Society as a whole stands to benefit from people like Ian, who live to make a positive contribution.
“Now, as the University investigates its role in meeting national strategic defence challenges, Ian’s depth of experience will help to inform our decisions. His intrinsic understanding of government at a federal level will only strengthen the University’s engagement with government. Without the contributions made by Ian and many others, it would be impossible to mobilise research of national importance.”