AFL legend Kevin Sheedy AM has received an Honorary Doctorate from the University of Western Sydney acknowledging his five decades of commitment to developing young athletes and building closer communities through sport.
Few in the AFL have kicked as many goals for the community as Mr Sheedy. One of the hallmarks of his career has been his commitment to utilising sport, and particularly Australian Rules Football, to provide opportunities to people of all ages, genders, and backgrounds and thereby build social inclusion and harmony.
Mr Sheedy has played or coached in over 1,000 games, won seven premierships and has been inducted into the AFL Hall of Fame and the Sports Australia Hall of Fame.
His close connection to Western Sydney is recent but strong. Mr Sheedy was the foundation coach of the GWS Giants.
At Essendon Football Club in the 1980s he led the way in seeking out Indigenous players with potential and the flow on effect of that has been that it is a sport that enjoys the highest participation rate of Indigenous Australians.
He helped create the “Dreamtime at the G” annual fixture at the MCG that celebrates the contribution of all indigenous players to the AFL. Fittingly the winning team receives the Kevin Sheedy Cup.
Mr Sheedy has been at the forefront of initiatives such as the AFL Traineeship Program and Kickstart camps that provide opportunities for Indigenous Youth to develop not only as footballers but as leaders as well.
On Thursday 19 December at the Graduation ceremony for students from the School of Science and Health, Kevin Sheedy AM received the award of Doctor of Letters, honoris causa, in recognition of his advocacy and mentoring of youth in sport.
Honorary Doctorates are conferred by the UWS Board of Trustees on distinguished individuals who have contributed to the advancement of knowledge or the betterment of society and who have achieved eminence in their field of endeavour at local, State, national or international level.