Anthony Kittel, Chief Executive Officer of REDARC Electronics, and Frank Seeley AM, founder of Seeley International, and are both home-grown success stories, going from humble beginnings to become giants of Australian manufacturing.
They have been joined by two other eminent high-achievers, including the athlete known as the ‘Lithgow Flash’ and First Nations artist and activist Banduk Marika, on the distinguished roll call of Australians to receive honorary degrees from Flinders.
Mr Kittel is the owner and CEO of REDARC Electronics, a firm he took over in 1997 when it still operated out of a tin shed and employed only eight people.
Today REDARC is a $50 million business that employs 190 people and distributes world-class electronics products across Australia and Europe.
Under Mr Kittel’s leadership, REDARC earned the 2014 Telstra Australian Business of the Year Award and in 2015 it acquired Hummingbird Electronics to further diversify and expand REDARC’s manufacturing capabilities across the transport, mining and defence sectors.
Mr Kittel is Deputy President of the Australian Industry Group in South Australia and a member of the Engineering Advisory Committee at Flinders University.
His Honorary Doctorate recognises his unrelenting focus on transformative workplace culture and new product development, as well as his investment in the business leaders of tomorrow through mentorship, professional development and career guidance.
Frank Seeley AM is an entrepreneur, innovator, businessman and philanthropist who started Australia’s largest manufacturer and exporter of heating and cooling products, Seeley International, in his home garage in 1972.
A passionate believer in the future of Australian industry, Mr Seeley has been a staunch supporter of fellow Australian businesses and encouraged his peers to surround themselves with like-minded people, invest in research and development, embrace entrepreneurship and give back to the community at all times.
Mr Seeley is a past recipient of many entrepreneurship awards including the 2012 Endeavour Lifetime Achievement Award; the 2013 Ernst & Young Champion of Entrepreneurship Award; and the 2015 IMPACT Awards Hall of Fame Award.
Mr Seeley’s passion for manufacturing is matched only by his enthusiasm for charitable works, and for more than 20 years he has provided free meals to local disadvantaged children in his home every week.
His Honorary Doctorate acknowledges his commitment to Australian innovation and his unwavering support for his local community.
Nicknamed ‘The Lithgow Flash’ after her hometown in New South Wales, Marjorie Jackson-Nelson AC, CVO, MBE is one of the all-time greats of Australian sport.
She was the first Australian female runner to break a world record and the first Australian woman to win an Olympic gold medal in athletics. She was also the first female manager of an entire national team — the 500-strong Australian contingent at the 1994 Commonwealth Games in Victoria, Canada.
Ms Jackson-Nelson rocketed to national stardom when she won gold medals in the 100-metre and 200-metre sprints at the 1952 Helsinki Olympic Games, and went on to pursue an illustrious sporting career that also included seven Commonwealth Games gold medals and 10 world-sprint records.
In addition to her athletics achievements, she served as Governor of South Australia from 2001 until 2007.
A passionate advocate for leukaemia research since her husband, Olympic cyclist Peter Nelson, died from the disease in 1977, she is the founder of the Peter Nelson Leukaemia Foundation and has since helped raise millions of dollars for leukaemia treatment and prevention.
Her Honorary Doctorate recognises her outstanding athleticism and twin commitments to Australian sport and health research.
Banduk Marika – known the first Yolngu printmaker from north-east Arnhem Land – received an honorary doctorate from Flinders in recognition of her remarkable contributions as a First Nations artist and cultural advocate for the Yolngu people.
Raised on Yirrkala mission in Arnhem Land in the 1950s, Ms Marika was initially tutored in traditional bark painting by her artist father Mawalan Marika, who encouraged her and her sisters to paint the ancestral creation stories of their clan, an activity typically reserved only for Yolngu men.
She later adopted linoprint as her medium of choice, and her free-flowing, lyrical artworks allowed her to illustrate the ancient rituals and traditions of her people in a new way while upholding Yolngu aesthetics and law.
In addition to her forging her own artistic path, Ms Marika has assisted other artists and become a powerful advocate for the protection of Indigenous art and culture.
As a traditional landowner at Yirrkala, she is both inspired and determined to ensure her Yolngu language and homeland in Yalangbara (Port Bradshaw) – one of the most significant sacred sites in north-east Arnhem Land region – is protected and recognised.
She lobbied intensely for Yalangbara’s heritage listing, which was obtained in 2003, and co-published an important book in 2009 on the region’s history and ancestral traditions: Yalangbara: Art of the Djang’kawu.
Flinders University has a proud association with Ms Marika, who was artist-in-residence in 1986 and contributed to the development of the Museum’s impressive Indigenous collection.
Flinders University Art Museum (FUAM) is marking the important occasion of her honorary doctorate with an exhibition of Banduk Marika’s prints, which will run until April 30, 2018. Read more about Banduk Marika’s exhibition here.
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