07 April 2016

Evonne Goolagong Cawley Recognising her enormous contribution to Australian tennis on the international stage and her promotion of better education and health outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children, UniSA will award Wiradjuri woman, Evonne Goolagong Cawley an Honorary Doctor at its morning graduation ceremony on April 7.

Dubbed the 'sunshine super girl' early in her career, as a child Evonne Goolagong Cawley spent many hours hitting tennis balls against a wall with the boards from an apple crate, dreaming of playing at Wimbeldon.

In 1971 that dream was fulfilled when she won the first of her many Grand Slam titles.

The first Aboriginal Australian to succeed in tennis at an international level, Evonne Goolagong Cawley was a true champion.

She was ranked world number one from 1971 -1976, won 92 pro tournaments, was a finalist at 18 Grand Slam events, won the French and Italian Opens, won the Australian Open four times and, in 1980 was the first mother to win Wimbledon in 66 years.

UniSA Vice Chancellor, Professor David Lloyd, says Evonne is the perfect Australian role model.

“Her life has been one marked by determination, commitment, excellence and generosity,” Prof Lloyd says.

“From her position of success, she has used her immense talent and high profile to promote the sport of tennis, and through tennis, to support education, health and wellbeing initiatives for Australia Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.”

Goolagong Cawley was a board member of the Australian Sports Commission, was part of the successful Sydney 2000 Olympic bid and served on the National Indigenous Advisory Committee to SOCOG at the games.

She was a federal Government consultant on Indigenous sport until 2001 forming the Evonne Goolagong Sports Trust to review Aboriginal sports and raise money for new facilities and equipment.

From 2007 to 2011 she was a board member of the Indigenous Land Council and in 2012 she established the Evonne Goolagong Foundation dedicated to improving the lives of Indigenous children. 

“Dream, believe, learn, achieve are the words Evonne has lived by and they are the motto of her foundation, which has already done so much for so many,” Prof Lloyd says.

“Her Goolagong National Development Camp has awarded more than 50 school scholarships, supported and encouraged students to attend and graduate from university, become tennis players coaches and sports administrators. 

“In awarding her an Honorary Doctorate we acknowledge that Evonne is an incredible role model – a person of integrity and poise, committed to excellence and dedicated to sharing her inspirational ethos – she is a wonderful Australian and we are delighted to welcome her to our UniSA community.”

Media contact: Michèle Nardelli office +61 883020966 mob 0418823673 email michele.nardelli@unisa.edu.au

Other articles you may be interested in