Musica Viva CEO Mary Jo Capps received the University of Melbourne’s highest honour this past Friday. In acknowledgement of her significant contribution to classical music and the University, the degree of Doctor of Visual and Performing Arts honoris causawas conferred on Capps. The recommendation was put forward by the Faculty of the Victorian College of the Arts and the Melbourne Conservatorium of Music.

Mary Jo Capps Mary Jo Capps. Photograph: supplied.

“The Honorary degree acknowledges Mary Jo’s immense contribution to music through her Leadership of Musica Viva,” said Professor Barry Conyngham, Dean of the Faculty of VCA & MCM. “It also signals the impact and value of her many other roles, which for the University of Melbourne include her more than ten-year membership, including as Chair, of the Faculty Advisory Board.”

Delivering the occasional address during Friday’s ceremony, Capps urged graduates to “use their art to rise above the depressing chatter”.

“Society as a whole is searching for deeper meaning, a sense of purpose, something beyond pursuit of wealth and power,” she said. “The arts offer a key component in that search.”

“My wish is for you to be the person standing here decades from...