Dr Jean Calder AC (1936-22)

Award of Doctor of Science honoris causa

Dr Jean Calder AC


Dr Jean Calder AC is a UQ alumnus who for the last 30 years has helped people with disabilities and disadvantaged people in the Middle East.
Her commitment and care, combined with her influence on policy and practice, have had a profound effect on many lives.

Dr Calder graduated from UQ in the areas of education and teaching disabled children. After a 25-year teaching career in physical education and recreation, which included time with UQ’s School of Human Movement Studies, she found her calling in rehabilitation services for people with disabilities in war-affected regions.

She volunteered in Lebanon in 1981 and, for the next 20 years, spearheaded many developments in rehabilitation services in Lebanon, Egypt and the Gaza Strip. At the Palestine Red Crescent Society, she led the children’s rehabilitation unit in Haifa before moving to Cairo to head the society’s Ain Sharns Rehabilitation Centre, which included a training institute to develop rehabilitation workers. In the Gaza Strip, Dr Calder helped develop the Palestine Institute of Rehabilitation Studies; and went on to lead the Rehabilitation Department at the new Al Amal City Centre of Ability Development, developing rehabilitation services for the disabled.

Dr Calder’s impact on international humanitarian work has been recognised through numerous awards from organisations including the Red Cross and the Palestine Red Crescent Society. She was made a Companion of the Order of Australia in 2005, and a Queensland finalist for Australian of the Year in 2011. In 2012, UQ named her Alumnus of the Year and awarded her the Vice-Chancellor’s Diversity Award for Alumni. Her work exemplifies the University’s aspirations to provide tangible solutions to social problems, and highlights the role of education in overcoming adversity and disadvantage.

Chancellor, in recognition of her distinguished career and her service to Queensland and to Australia, and her contribution to The University of Queensland, I present to you Dr Jean Calder, AC, Bachelor of Arts from The University of Queensland, Master of Arts from The University of Connecticut and Doctor of Philosophy from Pennsylvania State University, the award of Doctor of Science honoris causa bestowed by the Senate
of The University of Queensland.

Honorary award citation


UQ Alumnus of the Year (created by Alumni Friends)
Doctor of Science honoris causa