The President of the Universidade Católica Portuguesa, Isabel Capeloa Gil, who already holds Honorary Doctorates from Boston College and the Institut Catholique de Paris (ICP), received this distinction from the Australian Catholic University (ACU) in Melbourne, Australia.
At the Honorary Doctorate award ceremony on 30 August, Isabel Capeloa Gil said it was a "great honor to receive this recognition from such an admirable university and strong partner in the pursuit of science for the common good".
The President of Católica, who is also the first female President of the International Federation of Catholic Universities (FIUC), stated that she receives this "honorary doctorate with humility, and as a token of the recognition of the leadership of women in academia."
Isabel Capeloa Gil also highlighted: "Despite all the breakthroughs, there is still a lot of ground to be covered. Women are still underrepresented worldwide in academia as Presidents, Vice-Chancellors and Rectors. Within Catholic Higher Education, I contend that owing more to legacy than out of simple bias, there are only 8% of women in the top position of institutions, according to a recent survey by the International Federation of Catholic Universities. Change is ongoing but it must happen within our lifetime, not beyond, it must happen now."
Isabel Capeloa Gil was appointed by Pope Francis as a consultant to the Dicastery for Culture and Education in 2023. She is also a consultant to the Congregation for Catholic Education and a member of the Scientific Council of AVEPRO, the Holy See's Agency for the Evaluation and Promotion of the Quality of Ecclesiastical Universities and Colleges.
She is also a member of the Board of Directors of the European Women Rectors Association (EWORA) and the Board of Trustees of Europaeum, and in 2018 she founded the Strategic Alliance of Catholic Research Universities (SACRU), an alliance of which the Australian Catholic University (ACU) is a founding member.
In the photo (from left to right): Zlatko Skrbis, Vice-Chancellor of the ACU, Isabel Capeloa Gil, President of Católica, Martin Daubney AM KC, Chancellor of the ACU, and Virginia Burke, Pro-Chancellor of the ACU.