Honorary Doctorates awarded to Aussie icons Maggie Beer and Kerry Heysen

The exceptional achievements of Maggie Beer AO and Kerry Heysen AM have been acknowledged by Honorary Doctorates awarded by Flinders University in a special ceremony.

As inspiring leaders whose work in food and film respectively have earned global praise, the duo have been recognised by Flinders University for their extraordinary service that has changed lives and shaped communities for the better.

Flinders University Chancellor Stephen Gerlach applauded both Maggie Beer and Kerry Heysen for their commitment to their respective crafts, and for the lasting impact of their dedication in shaping the future of both food and film.

Flinders University is honouring Maggie Beer for her distinguished service to improving food experience and wellbeing outcomes for older Australians and for promoting principles of nutrition and nutritional access through the lifespan.

As one of Australia’s most beloved and respected food identities, Maggie’s illustrious career has promoted good food and health practices that have shaped many people’s relationships with food.

Over some four decades, Maggie has worn many hats – cookbook author, TV star, restaurateur, Board Member, advocate – with a down-to-earth charm and admirable work ethic that cemented her as an Australian icon.

Most recently, during COVID-19 lockdowns, Maggie felt the need to give back to the Australian public, so she started cooking dishes that people would have ingredients for in their pantry, fridge or garden – giving people locked in their homes the inspiration to create healthy meals for themselves and their families.

Kerry Heysen’s achievements, as a Flinders graduate and world-renowned film producer, are widely known in the US and place her among Australia’s most successful exports.

Having worked with some of Hollywood’s most famous movie studios and their biggest stars, Kerry has contributed millions to the South Australian economy and been responsible for developing some of the greatest cinematic successes of our time, including Shine – a commercial and critical success that won 62 awards around the world, including an Oscar for Best Actor for the film’s star Geoffrey Rush.

Flinders University has long been a part of Kerry’s story: she met her future husband and film collaborator Scott Hicks on the University Library steps during their studies. She has remained closely connected to Flinders, contributing as a member of the University’s Council in 2011 and as a current member of the Alumni Awards Selection Committee.

In recognising these two great Australians with Honorary Doctorates, Flinders University is shining a light on stellar examples of people who make a great difference to the world through their intelligence, energy and fearless commitment to excellence – which are attributes that Flinders University holds at the heart of its education and research ethos. Details of further awardees will occur later this week.

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