Renowned yachtsman John Bertrand AM will be awarded an Honorary Degree by Victoria University on Thursday 24 October.
He will be admitted to the degree of Doctor of the University, honoris causa, for his outstanding achievement in the field of international yachting; for his eminent community service through his sustained contribution to Australian sport; and his commitment to the protection of children through his leadership of the Alannah and Madeline Children’s Foundation
Mr Bertrand is not only an accomplished yachtsman but an academic in the field. He studied engineering at Monash University graduating with a Bachelor of Mechanical Engineering (Hons) degree; and wrote his thesis on the aerodynamics of America's Cup yacht sails. Mr Bertrand subsequently completed a Master of Science degree in Ocean Engineering at Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
John Bertrand became an instant legend the moment ‘Australia II’ swept through the wind shadow of rival ‘Liberty’ off the shores of Newport, Rhode Island, in September 1983 to wrest the America’s Cup from America for the first time in 132 years.
Just weeks after celebrating the 30th Anniversary of that victory, he was elevated to 'Legend' status by The Sport Australia Hall of Fame, becoming the ‘35th Legend of Australian Sport’ – which Bertrand said was the ultimate sporting honour in this country.
He said, “It has been an amazing year. Last month we celebrated our 30 year anniversary of the ‘Australia II’ victory with all the sailing team, including Alan Bond and Bob Hawke in Sydney. The US Oracle team skippered by Australian Jimmy Spithill won the America’s Cup on the same day, and here I am now being elevated to Legend status and also carrying the flag of the Australian swimming team as President, it’s been a big few months.”
Mr Bertrand has chaired the Sport Australia Hall of Fame (SAHOF) since 2005. The Sport Australia Hall of Fame Selection Committee Chairman, Rob de Castella MBE, said Bertrand was very reluctant to receive the Legend honour, as he felt as Chairman he shouldn’t be eligible, but his elevation was unanimous amongst the Selection Committee and The Sport Australia Hall of Fame Board.
Through Victoria University’s association with SAHOF, Mr Bertrand has become a strong advocate for the University’s teaching and research excellence in the areas of sport and exercise science. He has spoken publicly about the outstanding facilities at Victoria University and is helping to raise the University’s profile in the sector.
Since 2001, Mr Bertrand has been Chairman of the Alannah and Madeline Children’s Foundation – a world leader in anti-bullying and child safety and well-being programs.
In August 2013 he became Chairman and President of Swimming Australia.
Christine White, General Manager, Public Affairs and Media
Public Affairs Unit, Victoria University,
9919 4322; 0434 602884; [email protected]