VC’s Update – Farewelling Des Ball, ANU staff awards & more

25 November 2016

Hello everyone,

This week I joined the ANU community to pay tribute to one of its greats. Professor Des Ball dedicated more than 40 years of his life to standing up for matters of international importance through his work at the Strategic and Defence Studies Centre.

The University was honoured to have a man of his intellect, compassion and vision and his legacy will live on for many decade through his students, colleagues and the more than 70 books he published. Professor Ball will have a permanent home at ANU and we have planted a memorial tree between the Coombs and Chancelry Buildings to serve as an enduring reminder of his time at ANU. His presence will be deeply missed by all who knew him.

From recognising the contribution of one of our giants to celebrating the achievements of our talented and diverse staff, I was delighted on Wednesday evening to attend my first Staff Excellence Awards. All of the leading universities in the world have one thing in common - great people. Great people make great universities. When I look at the people that make up this University, I am impressed with the commitment our staff show every day to help make our university great. Four ANU staff were recognised with 40 year service awards while more than 45 were awarded with 25 year service awards. 

You may have heard on ABC this morning that CECS Dean Professor Elanor Huntington and ANU researchers Dr Ida Kubiszewski, Professor Robyn Lucas, Dr Merryn McKinnon PhD Candidate Nina McLean are heading off to Antarctica to take part in the inaugural Homeward Bound Australian-led leadership expedition. They join 76 female researchers from around the world. I'd like to wish them a safe and exciting trip - you go with the best wishes of all of us.

On Thursday I hosted lunch with former President of Timor-Leste, Dr José Ramos-Horta, the East Timorese Ambassador and a number of our experts at University House. Thursday was also Thanksgiving which I celebrated later with my family. In the US, Thanksgiving is a time of remembrance and a time for showing gratitude for what we have. As I look back on my first year as Vice-Chancellor I am grateful for the people who make this University such a great community to belong to.  

This week I received news that Professor Ariel Heryanto and Associate Professor Marc Oxenham were elected as Fellows of the Australian Academy of the Humanities. This is great achievement - congratulations to you both. Meanwhile former ANU Vice-Chancellor Professor Ian Chubb has been awarded the Australian Academy of Science's highest prize - the Academy Medal. Professor Chubb has dedicated his life to science and worked tirelessly to ensure science improves our nation. Congratulations Ian.

Tonight I am really looking forward to attending the Melbourne Alumni Network Gala Dinner. Connecting with our alumni here and abroad and hearing their stories is one of the things I enjoy most about being Vice-Chancellor.

Have a great weekend