UNSW's former Vice-Chancellor, Emeritus Professor Mark Wainwright, has been awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Science for his eminent and distinguished service to the University.

The degree - the University's highest honour - recognises Professor Wainwright's valuable contribution to Australia as an educator, researcher and leader.

In a career at UNSW spanning more than 30 years, Professor Wainwright rose to become UNSW's Vice-Chancellor and President before he retired in June 2006. He is currently Chairman of the Australia-China Council of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

He was appointed a lecturer in the School of Chemical Technology in the then Faculty of Applied Science in 1974 and eventually became Dean of Engineering and Vice-Chancellor (Research) before he was appointed as Vice-Chancellor in July 2004.

Professor Wainwright had a distinguished career as a chemical engineer. He published more than 240 papers and patents and was awarded numerous medals and industry awards both nationally and internationally for his contributions to education, industry and research. He was also co-inventor of an improved plant for producing dimethyl ether, a replacement for CFCs as an aerosol propellant.

An excerpt from the citation read at the presentation of his Honorary Doctorate said: "Mark Wainwright endeared himself to both staff and students of UNSW through his amiable personality and rare ability to make all who know him feel valued and respected. He is ever modest about his own achievements and a great ambassador for UNSW. Building and promoting the reputation of the University was a hallmark of his term as Vice-Chancellor.

"Noting his eminent service to the University, council resolved it would be fitting that the degree of Doctor of Science honoris causa be conferred on Mark Wainwright, Member of the Order of Australia, Bachelor of Applied Science (Honours), Master of Applied Science University of Adelaide, Doctor of Philosophy McMaster University, Doctor of Science, University of South Australia."