Ken Cowley now has a qualification to match his status in the Australian business community.

The chairman of R.M. Williams and a former News Limited chief executive was awarded an honourary business doctorate for his eminent service to the community.

Over his 45-year career in business Mr Cowley has also worked in the aviation and banking industries.

Mr Cowley, who is already an Officer of the Order of Australia, has been a life Governor of the Art Gallery of New South Wales since 1986, Honorary Vice President of Council of the Royal Agricultural Society since 2000, a Foundation Trustee of The Centenary Institute of Cancer Medicine and Cell Biology, and a Governor of the Curran Foundation.

Mr Cowley was a ministerially appointed member of the UNSW Council from 1981 to 1987.