Mary Hutton - University of the Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia

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Mary Hutton

Honorary Doctorate (April 2017)

Mary Hutton was awarded an Honorary Doctorate in April 2017 in recognition of her distinguished and inspirational work in establishing 'Free the Bears', the world's leading bear rescue and protection organisation; and her sustained commitment to animal welfare and the immeasurable learning experience this continues to provide USC students.

Mary has made significant contributions to the university through her unwavering advocacy for bear welfare and wildlife conversation, which has created valuable learning and engagement opportunities for dozens of USC students and staff.

Mary founded ‘Free the Bears’, the world’s leading bear rescue and protection organisation, and has worked on a completely voluntarily basis for more than 20 years. While providing long-term financial and technical support to partner organisations in India, Indonesia and Thailand to rescue and rehabilitate more than 650 bears from exploitation, ‘Free the Bears’ also runs its own sanctuaries in Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos.

In 2013, Free the Bears and USC united to give students from a number of disciplines the opportunity to engage productively with real world conservation and sustainability projects. Mary continues to influence environmental policies on bear conservation and protection across the world, whilst aiding communities impacted by policy change.