Honorary Doctorate of Letters (honoris causa) from The University of Western Sydney

Mary with her family at the awarding of her Honorary Doctorate

There are few people who have given more to New South Wales public school students than Mary Lopez AM. In 2010 her amazing contribution to public education and the arts was recognised with the conferral of an Honorary Doctorate of Letters  from the University of Western Sydney.

Starting out as a teacher, Mary committed her life to helping young people become the best they could be. In 1984, she created the concept for the first Schools Spectacular. Mary directed this massive celebration of performing arts and education starring more than 3,000 public school singers, dancers, musicians and teachers for 25 years. Despite having retired as the  Director of the Schools Spectacular in 2008, Mary is still providing advice to the organisers of what is now the most successful education event in the world, in the position of Emeritus Director.

“I am stunned and thrilled an academic institution such as the University of Western Sydney has recognised the importance of the Schools Spectacular and its social, historical and educational value”, Mary said.

Mary with TDP Graduates Angel Tupai, Shannon Brown & Lorenzo Rositano

Further inspired by the extraordinary talents of NSW public school students, in 1991 Mary developed the framework of the Talent Development Project (TDP). Through the TDP, Mary levels the playing field for all aspiring young performers, training the elite from public schools around the state and providing them with a start in the entertainment industry. Successful artists who owe their start to Mary include Human Nature, Paulini, John Foreman and country music stars Felicity Urquhart, Darren Coggan and The McClymonts.

“All of us who have been involved with Mary through the TDP know how well deserved this accolade is and what a truly significant contribution Mary has made to the discovery, development and direction of talented young people” said TDP Chairman Matthew Macdougall.


  • Dawn Fraser AO

    "Mary's given more young Australian performers a chance to shine than any other Australian I know"

  • Paula Duncan

    “I consider Mary Lopez one of the true talent discoverers. She has found and established some of the great talents of Australia, including Human Nature"


    "Mary Lopez is a wonderful Australian and a generous giver"
  • John Williamson, Country Singer

    "Mary loves Australia and this love shines through in everything she does"

  • Father Chris Riley

    "In the words of Batchelor Girl – Mary encourages and gives our kids ‘permission to shine’"

  • Human Nature

    “Mary believed in us … she nurtured us, developed our talent. She’s always there for us and we’ll always be there for her.”

  • Contact Details

    Mary Lopez AM

    Entertainment and Talent Director
    TDP Artistic Director and CEO
    Emeritus Director Schools Spectacular

    p: +61 (0)2 9954 5540



    "Mary Lopez is one of the most professional, dynamic, dedicated and enthusiastic people I have ever met"
  • Bound For Broadway Documentary

  • 2011 TDP Graduation Screening on Aurora TV

    2011 Talent Development Project Graduation Spectacular

    Premiere Screening 6pm on September 24th

    Aurora TV, Channel 183 on Foxtel and Austar

    Aurora TV is the proud Broadcast Partner of the TDP