Two failed efforts to earn a Ph.D.: Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology and “Diploma Mill” Rushmore University

In 2008 Earl de Blonville enrolled in an online university, Rushmore University, to pursue a Ph.d. thesis subject: “Seventh Journey” (the name of Earl’s self-published book).

According to the administration at Rushmore, Earl completed all his requirements but was not awarded his diploma for failure to pay the balance of his tuition. A Ph.d at Rushmore costs roughly $15,000 USD. In spite of not receiving his degree, de Blonville represented himself as Dr. de Blonville on several sites including his own website. 

Then in 2011 Earl tried RMIT where he was accepted (in spite of having zero academic history or credentials) on the strength of his book, Seventh Journey. (His new girlfriend, Jennifer Gidley was also on the RMIT faculty). No one at RMIT apparently realized Seventh Journey was self-published. Earl also received a two-year, tax-payer-funded stipend for 50k AUD. Earl left RMIT without a degree after, in his words, being “kicked out”. If you choose to read the entire proposal, be prepared for a “word salad” of epic proportions. It’s 17 pages long. Click on the lower-left corner of the page to read on.


In my opinion, there is a scandal being covered up by RMIT regarding Earl de Blonville’s 2011 acceptance into the School of Graduate Research and his subsequent receipt of an Australian Postgraduate Award ($50k). This is the synopsis of events and documentation supporting that opinion. Neither RMIT or Earl de Blonville will respond to any of the questions raised below. 

In 2011 Earl applied to the School of Graduate Research at RMIT where his girlfriend, Jennifer Gidley, was an adjunct faculty. The CV that Earl submitted to RMIT School of Graduate Research admissions in 2010 with his application is rife with falsehoods, misrepresentations, embellishment, and fabrication and can be read, with annotations, here. Earl had uploaded his CV to the public site,

On his CV Earl lists his tenure at Ballarat School as lasting for four years. According to Ballarat administration, Earl attended that secondary school for less than two years and did not graduate

Earl has never earned an undergraduate or MA degree. 

The subject of the thesis was the same as his uncompleted Rushmore PH.d, “Seventh Journey”. 

In addition to the embellishments, the CV has three issues which apparently did not concern the admissions committee at RMIT:

1: The CV does not mention Earl’s tenure at Rushmore University, three years earlier, seeking a Ph.d for the same subject as his RMIT Ph.d. 

2: The CV does not mention that Earl self-published his book, Seventh Journey, ostensibly dealing with his own leadership evolution, in just a few hundred copies. The publisher, “Bear Books, a division of Bear Clan Pty Limited” published just one book and is owned by Earl de Blonville. Bear Books no longer exists. The book chronicled an expedition to Greenland that Earl led in 1986. None of the other participants on that expedition had any input on the book and none, as of this writing, have read the book. Several expedition members strongly dispute the premise that Earl was an effective leader. Correspondence with Earl’s RMIT advisor suggests that it was primarily on the strength of this self-published book that Earl was admitted in spite of having no traditional credentials. That same correspondence with Earl’s RMIT faculty advisors suggests they were unaware that the book was self-published.

3: Two of the multi-year programs which Earl lists as recent achievements, Arctic Climate Leadership Challenge and ArcticExplorer simply never happened. They are literally just a couple of websites which intended to raise funds and failed. Generally speaking a professional CV does not include all the big ideas you had which never came to fruition. If a CV does include a failed program, it is customary to note that it was an attempt that failed. Earl’s CV makes no effort to clarify that the two Arctic programs never really happened. 

In spite of all this, Earl was admitted to the doctoral program at RMIT as an exception to all the normal requirements for a doctoral student. 

To recap: no high school graduation, no undergraduate or graduate degrees, CV rife with falsehoods and embellishments, self-published story supporting his leadership abilities, girlfriend in the department.

RMIT also awarded Earl a publicly funded stipend, an APA, of approximately 50,000 USD. These awards are meant to “Provide financial support to postgraduate students of exceptional research promise”.

Earl continues to claim RMIT as his educational background on his LinkedIn page. It is unknown whether Earl is still registered as a student at RMIT. It is not known whether Earl’s acceptance into the program at RMIT meant another more traditionally qualified candidate was turned away. 

I have submitted these facts to the Academic Registrar’s office at RMIT.

RMIT has refused to discuss the issue, citing student privacy laws. When asked for statisical information (frequency with which people are admitted to doctoral programs when lacking the standard requirements) RMIT simply stopped responding.

Documents obtained through the FOI process indicate that faculty were concerned about the evidence provided to RMIT, that investigation was suggested, that the Privacy Officer and RMIT legal offices were consulted. There were expressions of concern about safety on the campus.

Earl’s LinkedIn page as of July 2014.

Earl’s page.

RMIT does not respond to inquiries asking for confirmation of Earl’s current student status. 

A complaint to the Victoria State Ombudsman was kicked over to another arm of the Victorian government, the Anti-Corruption Commission to determine if I, the complaintant, should be given “whistleblower” status and attendant anonymity, something I never asked for or wanted. After a month languising with that department it was determinined that no right to anonymity was appropriate so it is now back with the Victoria State Ombudsman. 

The complaint makes two points: That RMIT (a publicly funded institution) is a self-investigating organzation with the privacy law shield which would allow them to cover up embarrassing things like being fooled by a conman with bogus academic credentials. Second, Earl de Blonville received an APA government (taxpayer) funded stipend based on his acceptance to RMIT. Misrepresentation on the application for that stipend is both civilly and criminally punishable. Therefore, the complaint asks how the public can trust institutions like RMIT to self police and how the public can expect transparency in the matter of disbursing public funds for APAs. For instance, neither RMIT or APA administration will even confirm who has received tax payer funded stipends. 

The Victoria Ombudsman provided the results of their response to my complaint in mid November, 2014. That response and my follow up email are here.

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