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University of Queensland Confers Honorary Doctorates to Chuck and Helga Feeney

Resource type: News

University of Queensland received one of the first grants Atlantic made when grant-making began in Australia in 1998. The A$10M grant supported the creation of the Institute for Molecular Bioscience (above). Image source: University of Queensland.

On February 1, 2022, during a virtual ceremony, the University of Queensland (UQ) conferred honorary doctorates to Chuck and Helga Feeney in recognition of their generosity not only to the University, but to Australia, and the global community at large.

During the conferral, Vice-Chancellor Deborah Terry described the Feeneys as “determined and inspirational philanthropists whose joint contributions to higher education, innovation, and health have benefited humanity.” Chancellor Peter Varghese would later add, “Chuck and Helga’s story is so much more than generosity. It’s a story of vision, and it’s a story of a commitment to the transformative power of education and research and you change not just the lives of individuals, but the lives of communities and societies, and for that we are deeply, deeply, grateful.”

After the conferral, a short video was played to highlight the impact Chuck and Helga Feeney have had in Australia. Speakers included Professor Ian Frazer AC (Translational Research Institute), Emeritus Professor Perry Bartlett AO (Queensland Brain Institute), and Dr. Holly Arden (UQ Art Museum).

The ceremony concluded with virtual attendants giving their own testimony on the Feeneys and their legacy. Sam Hawgood, Chancellor of UCSF and UQ alumnus, shared, “I would just say that one of the things that is a lasting lesson that I hope I can continue to execute on that Chuck reiterated to me so many times when we were discussing projects that he was personally interested in or I was discussing things that I was thinking about doing…he would hear me out quietly and then he would always say ‘Think bigger, be bolder, take more risks. Get the job done right from the start,’ and that’s been incredibly valuable advice to me as a leader now– to remember not to be caught up in the minutiae of problems, but to think big, think bold, and make a big impact on what it is that we are trying to do. So thank you for that advice, Chuck. It’s made a huge difference to me. Thank you for your friendship. And thank you for your friendship, Helga. Congratulations to you both.”

In addition to the honorary doctorates, Vice-Chancellor Terry announced that in the coming months “Feeney Way” will be unveiled on University of Queensland’s St. Lucia campus in order to “celebrate [the Feeneys’] generosity and to promote the ‘Giving While Living’ philosophy.”