HAVE YOUR SAY


Alumni - complete the online survey here

×

Portals

images
1967

Marcia O'Keefe OAM

inducted 2013 Service

About Marcia O'Keefe OAM

1951-1997

A tenacious, informed and committed woman, Marcia was a leader in bringing better information and more informed and compassionate care to women with breast cancer.

Marcia O'Keefe was the Dux of the College and Head Prefect in 1967. As a member of the debating team she developed her ability to carry an argument and champion a cause, often exhibiting her outspoken championing of womens' rights. Winning a rotary scholarship study as an exchange student in the US, Marcia was unable to accept, as her family could not afford the additional expenses.

Marcia became the first woman to graduate from Warrnambool Institute of Advanced Education with a Diploma of Electrical Engineering and then enrolled at the University of Melbourne and graduated with a Bachelor of Engineering with First Class Honours and a Masters in Engineering Science - the first woman to do so.

She began her professional career with the Postmaster General's Department (now Telstra) working in research on the design and specification of telephone exchange facilities. The job took her to Ericsson in Sweden working on processor-controlled telephone exchanges. She continued this research with Telecom and later with Ericsson in Australia, developing telephone exchanges for rural communities.

In 1988 Marcia was diagnosed with breast cancer and the next eight years until her death saw her harness all her intellect, communication skills and leadership to helping women with breast cancer. She worked to develop guidelines for best practice in breast cancer. Her advocacy for consumers continued when she spoke about IVF at a conference on Victoria's Reproductive Legislation.

Marcia was a member of the National Health and Medical Research Council, along with supporting Breast Screen Victoria in promoting early detection and she assisted a working party producing guidelines for the management of advanced breast cancer for the NHMRC National Breast Cancer Centre as well as initiating the formation of the Breast Cancer Action Group.

Marcia's volunteer work took the standard approach to breast cancer from the consulting room and the operating room into the community and lifted its profile. A tenacious, informed and committed woman, Marcia was a leader in bringing better information and more informed and compassionate care to women with breast cancer. She saw her work as just a beginning and she ensured that there would be a significant organisation to follow her lead.

In 1997 Marcia was awarded the Member of the Order of Australia for service to the community as an advocate for the improved management and treatment of breast cancer.