Speech given by the Governor at the Installation of Mr Terry Moran AC as the Sixth Chancellor of Federation University.
First, I acknowledge the Traditional Owners of the land upon which we are gathering and pay my respects to their Elders past and present and to any Elders here with us this morning.
Tony and I are delighted to join you on this special occasion.
I am here today in my role as the ‘visitor’ to the University.
The role of the ‘visitor’ is a very old one, and though its origins are somewhat obscure in modern times, it is a happy aspect of the role that I am able to preside over this ceremony to install Mr Terry Moran AC as the sixth Chancellor of Federation University Australia.
It is not strange to talk of history in the setting of this University: just short of 150 years old, and our nation’s third oldest tertiary education provider.
Federation University can trace its history back to 1870: from the Ballarat School of Mines. Of course, it then ‘gathered’ many different technical schools, colleges and institutes, including the Gippsland Campus of Monash University and the University of Ballarat, until, in 2014, it became Federation University Australia.
Like all successful institutions, it has deftly changed with and remained relevant to the times.
In its earliest days, its primary focus was on serving its local community.
The esteemed surveyor, geologist and public servant – and Secretary for Mines in the early 1930s – William Baragwanath OBE, is just one example of a high achieving local alumnus.
Although his skills were not limited to mining, that expertise – initially learned here – contributed to what was still a central part of the lifeblood of Ballarat.
Across the years, the University has also ensured that its graduates have been equipped to contribute further afield.
Former Premier of Victoria, the Hon Dr Steve Bracks AC, is a fine example of an outstanding student who contributed well beyond his place of birth. And he continues to contribute to the State, nation and beyond our shores as well, particularly in his continuing work in Timor-Leste.
Interestingly, even before educational institutions focused on career preparedness for a global environment, this University attracted students from overseas, and imparted skills that could be used on the world stage.
I can’t think of a better example than Dr Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw, a brewing student at the University (the only female) in 1974, and now – from her home in Bengaluru – the founder of Biocon, one of the world’s major global pharmaceutical companies.
We were hosted by her on a recent official visit to India. Her affection for Federation University – and, by extension, for Victoria too – is evident. In fact, she has willingly assumed the role of Victorian Business Ambassador, to promote bilateral relations between Victoria and India.
Today, this University incorporates higher education, vocational education and training, research and consultancy. It has campuses and partner-providers across our State – from Ballarat and Berwick to Gippsland and Horsham. But also further afield beyond the borders of our State: from Sydney and Brisbane, to Hong Kong, Singapore, Malaysia and China.
Most importantly, the University has served and continues to serve many thousands of people from different backgrounds, empowering them through accessible learning opportunities – particularly understanding the need for regional opportunities and equipping them with the resources to succeed in the workplace or in further study.
When Tony and I visited Ballarat last year, it was clear to us how integral Federation University is to the Ballarat community.
We saw it firsthand when Vice Chancellor Professor Bartlett hosted us at the Camp Street Campus and the Ballarat Tech School, where young minds will be enlivened to science and technology and their broad application.
And we were fortunate to spend time with the students and staff at your Arts Academy. You don’t need me to tell you just how well the Academy holds its own amongst the other performing arts schools across the country. And it’s particularly important in this ‘Creative State’.
As an aside, may I note that the converted courthouse – in which I sat as a judge many years ago – provided the perfect backdrop for this school, and the talented performers we saw and heard.
And so to your new Chancellor.
Terry Moran AC is a renowned leader.
He follows a distinguished line of Chancellors, but he is very much a man for this particular season of the University’s history.
He brings to the role a wealth of experience in governance, policy reform, leadership, management skills and community service. Amongst his many senior positions, he has been, of course, the nation’s most senior public servant, as the Secretary of the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet.
He also brings a long-term commitment to, and understanding of, the education sector.
When he was invested as an Officer in the Order of Australia in 2006, the Chancellor’s leadership in key policy areas, and program implementation in technical and further education at state and national levels, was specifically noted.
That experience, in addition to his recent strategic capability review of the South Australian TAFE system, will be of immeasurable benefit to this University as a dual sector university.
He also brings an international perspective to the role: a great asset, as Federation University Australia continues its work across campuses around the world, and as it educates students who will inevitably harbour global ambitions.
The Chancellor’s contributions are not confined to education. He contributes to a number of other community organisations. In 2012, he was invested as a Companion of the Order of Australia for eminent service to the community.
This University describes itself as ‘proud of its past but firmly focused on its future.’ I think the new Chancellor can similarly be described. He is someone who can be proud of his past contributions, but who is – at the same time – firmly focused on the future.
The marriage of his innovative thinking with a forward-looking university embedded in a buoyant region holds great promise.
I know he will serve this University well, and so it is an honour to install Mr Terry Moran AC as the sixth Chancellor of Federation University Australia.