Faculty of Business and Law

School of Law

Deakin awards honarary doctorate to former High Court Justice Michael Kirby

Former Justice of the High Court the Honourable Michael Kirby AC, CMG encouraged Deakin University graduands and the incoming new Justice of the High Court of Australia, Justice Stephen Gageler to heed the message of Apple founder Steve Jobs - 'stay hungry, stay foolish, ask questions, insistently, always' .

Professor Kirby's encouragement was offered during the University's Graduation Ceremony on 9 October 2012 at which he was awarded an honorary doctorate - Doctor of Laws (honoris causa) - in recognition of distinguished services to the Australian community.

Deakin University's Vice-Chancellor, Professor Jane den Hollander, said Australia has benefited from Michael Kirby's visionary intellectual leadership in many fields.

'Notably, he is a longstanding supporter of public education, and has made significant contributions to many universities here and overseas,' she said.

'He has long been a supporter of Deakin's School of Law and was appointed an Adjunct Professor to Deakin's Law School in 2009; he has been an inspiration to students and staff.'

Professor Kirby said graduates should be proud to receive a degree which carried the famous name - Deakin.

'Although a successful politician, Deakin was in many ways an outsider,' he said illustrating the statement with details of Deakin's life.

'He was always ready to think outside the square,' Professor Kirby said.

Professor Kirby honoured the message of Steve Jobs, 'the supreme outsider', which was delivered at the conferral of Jobs' own honorary doctorate by Stanford University.

'Jobs told the graduates at Stanford: 'Stay hungry, stay foolish',' he said.

'By this he was saying, keep sharp the cutting edge of your minds.

'Sometimes do the unexpected.

'Make a difference.

'Ask questions.

'Demand answers.

'I cannot think of better advice for a graduating class of an Australian University.

'Come to think of it, I cannot imagine better advice, affectionately tendered, to the new Justice of the High Court of Australia, as he takes his seat today.'

Hon Michael Kirby

Adjunct Professor and former Justice of the High Court, Michael Kirby AC, CMG
Photo: Marcus Mok

Read the full text of Professor Kirby's occasional address [370 KB PDF] to Deakin Graduands

Listen to Professor Kirby's address.

Deakin University acknowledges the traditional land owners of present campus sites.

9th July 2013