Tony Wheeler awarded Honorary Doctor of Letters

Tony Wheeler

Tony Wheeler

Lonely Planet co-founder Tony Wheeler has been awarded an Honorary Doctor of Letters (DLitt) by Monash University and the University of Warwick through the Monash Warwick Alliance.

Mr Wheeler studied engineering at Warwick University, worked as an automotive engineer in Coventry and undertook business studies at London Business School before heading off on the “hippie trail” through Asia in the early 1970s.

That odyssey led him to write the first Lonely Planet guide and the New York Times to describe him as “the trailblazing patron saint of the world’s backpackers and adventure travellers”.

Lonely Planet is now the world’s largest publisher of travel guides.

Born in Britain, Mr Wheeler grew up in Pakistan, the Bahamas and the USA before returning to the UK to finish his education. He eventually moved to Australia.  Since selling Lonely Planet in 2011, Mr Wheeler has been involved with the Planet Wheeler Foundation’s work in South-East Asia and East Africa. He has also helped establish Melbourne’s Wheeler Centre for Books, Writing & Ideas, a key element in the city’s status as a UNESCO City of Literature.

Mr Wheeler is also a director of Global Heritage Fund, which protects and develops archaeological sites in the developing world.

His most recent book, Dark Lands, is a follow-up to Bad Lands, about his journey along George Bush’s “Axis of Evil” and to a number of other challenging countries.

Mr Wheeler was awarded an Order of Australia in 2014 for “distinguished service to business and commerce as a publisher of travel guides, and as a benefactor to a range of Australian arts and aid organisations”.

An interview with Tony Wheeler is available from the University of Warwick website.

Formed in early 2012, the Monash Warwick Alliance represents an innovation in higher education and research and aims to accelerate the exchange of people, ideas and information between Monash University and the University of Warwick.