Among the students assembled at Macquarie University in Sydney on Thursday, a famous face stood out from the crowd. Academy Award-winning actress Cate Blanchett arrived clad in academic robes to receive her Doctor of Letters. The award recognised her extraordinary contribution to the arts, philanthropy and the community. (Article continues after the pictures and videos)
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At around minute 51, Cate snaps a selfie with another student 🙂
The 45-year-old Australian was dressed head-to-toe in the traditional garb, sporting an orange cape, black and white garments underneath and a graduation cap atop her head. ‘I’m just a ring-in really, but thank you, I’m greatly honoured,’ Blanchett she said addressing the graduates.
Blanchett, who started her tertiary education at Melbourne University in the fine arts before becoming a famous actress, talked about the importance of the arts. ‘The arts are what we stay alive for, what we work all week for, what we dream about, what connects us and indeed, what some would say makes us human. ‘It is the arts that has always been the driver of innovation and exploration,’ she continued. ‘So remember when someone asks what the hell can you do with an Arts degree?, ask them what can the world do without one?’
Blanchett then used her own expereience to encourage the graduates to find their passion, a “tool” she has used throughout her career. ‘My journey thus far … looks on paper, random, and indeed being open to randomness to chance, to variety and therefore to opportunity has been a vital tool in my own personal toolkit. ‘On a deeper level, it hasn’t been random at all, because it’s been held together by my passions and beliefs … these are without doubt the most vital ingredients of all. Discover those and you’re truly on your way.’
The actress closed her speech with a quote from educationalist Ken Robinson: ‘Creativity is the process of having original ideas that have value. It is a process, it is not random. You you can be creative in anything – maths, science, engineering, philosophy, as as much as you can in music and dance. ‘Creativity is putting your imagination to work and it has produced the most extraordinary results in human culture.’
Honorary degrees are awarded to recognise ‘exceptional achievement or contribution’ in specific field. It’s not the first time the Blue Jasmine star has received an honorary degree: she has also been awarded them from Sydney University and the University of New South Wales. Cate has indeed made an outstanding contribution to the theatrical community in Australia, especially Sydney where she and her playwright and director husband Andrew Upton were co-directors of the Sydney Theatre Company together until 2013, when Upton became the sole director.