VU honorary degree for Harold Mitchell

Victoria University awarded businessman and philanthropist Harold Mitchell an honorary degree last week.

Mr Mitchell, a well-known businessman in Australia’s media industry, is also a long-time philanthropist with an interest in the country’s arts, education and health.

He established the Mitchell Institute at Victoria University in 2013 to contribute to national policy reform in the areas of health and education.  

Born in Trafalgar, Victoria, the son of a sawmill worker, Mr Mitchell moved to Melbourne to work as an office boy in an advertising agency. At age 24, he was media manager at USP Needham, and by 33 he was managing the media-buying operations of Masius Wynne Williams, a leading Australian ad agency.

Mr Mitchell subsequently founded his own company, Mitchell and Partners in 1976, and led the development of media-buying industry in Australia.

In 2000, he founded the Harold Mitchell Foundation to invest in projects and organisations throughout Australia and the Asia Pacific in education, health and the arts.

He sold his company in 2010 to the Aegis Group, and served as executive chairman of Aegis Media Pacific until August 2013.

Over and above his philanthropic gifts, Mr Mitchell is active in many areas of Australia society. He is Chairman of Art Exhibitions Australia, The Florey Institute of Neuroscience and Mental Health, Australia-Indonesia Centre and the Premier’s Job and Investment Panel. He is also a board member of the New York Philharmonic and the vice president of Tennis Australia.

Mr Mitchell has been widely recognised for his achievements over the years.

He was awarded the Richard Pratt Business Leader Award by the Australian Business Arts Foundation in 2005 and a Companion of the Order of Australia in 2010. He was inducted into the Adnews Hall of Fame in 2012, and in 2013, he was Victorian of the Year and a finalist for Australian of the Year.

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