VC looks to brighter days following COVID-19 disruptions

7 February 2022

ANU Vice-Chancellor Professor Brian Schmidt has paid tribute to staff and students' hard work and resilience during the COVID-19 pandemic in his annual State of the University address.

In a wide-ranging speech delivered on the ANU campus, Professor Schmidt acknowledged how disruptive and challenging the last two years had been but noted ANU "was back for 2022".

"Thank you for the trust you have placed in me and the University over the past two years, as we have tried to steer ANU through the most challenging time we have faced in our 75 years," he said.

"But I am optimistic 2022 will be closer to a normal year.

"This is my seventh State of the University address and, because of the spirit and resilience of the ANU community, despite the hard changes we have made, the underlying state of the University is strong. So now is a good time to look to the future.

"The sacrifices we have made together, in adapting to the financial realities of our times have been instrumental in setting us on a path to better times."

In his speech, Professor Schmidt noted the University's financial position was looking more "sustainable".

"And our sustainability is more important than ever because our purpose - to serve society through transformational research and education - remains fundamental to Australia re-emerging from the pandemic. What we do here, uniquely, is for the whole nation and for all Australians," he said.

"I am energised just thinking about all that great work, and so much more that will go on across ANU this year. This is us leading for the future, serving our nation with transformational research and education. 

"The University has endured the hardest two years in our 75 years of existence.

"But we are back. Back to study. Back to learn the nature of things. Back to use that knowledge to help the world find its feet again. Back to ensure future generations have a life at least as good as ours.

"I am so excited to be back with all of you, and I look forward to facing 2022 with what may require some grit and determination, but also a year where I am confident we can all enjoy life a bit more, and work together here on campus to make a difference."

Read the full address online.