VC’s Update – Grads, TikTok trends and Staff Party

16 Dec 2022

Hi everyone, 

This is my favourite time of the year - with graduands (more than 2,000!) having their chance to walk across the stage at Llewellyn Hall. It's great to see so many students celebrating this important milestone with friends, family and teachers, and the campus feels abuzz with energy and excitement - despite the unseasonably cold weather! It's also been great to see our whole campus community holding celebrations - from morning teas, pancake breakfasts to dinners and even the Mt Stromlo PhD candidate tradition of burning a copy of their PhD thesis.  

We also conferred several honorary doctorates to some exceptional Australians, including: Her Excellency Frances Adamson, Dr Ken Henry, Professor Jill Banfield, The Hon Margaret Stone and Dr Kevin Carmody. I enjoyed their addresses to the graduates, but especially the remarks from Jill who admitted she is old enough to have seen rock turn into soil - a first for one of our speakers! I welcome them to our ANU community and congratulate them on their support and service to Australia. Very well deserved recognition indeed! 

And for those with an eagle eye, you will have noticed the Etta alumni duck has evolved from blue to sunshine yellow this year. Not sure if the "new" Etta can float, but I'll test it out and share it on my Twitter! 

Speaking of ANU alumni - this week marks the end of the '75 Cities' alumni campaign, to celebrate the University's 75th birthday with 75 alumni reunions around the world. We managed to overachieve our goal, with 87 events held, with more than 3,200 alumni across six continents (perhaps we'll visit all seven for our100 year anniversary!). Our alumni got together in some incredibly remote locations, including Ulaanbaatar in Mongolia; and across Latin America and Africa. You can watch the highlight reel.It's great to celebrate this milestone in the week we welcome the newest members to our alumni community, congratulations to our graduates, you are in great company!  

Also this week, I was pleased to see that Professor Christine Helliwell has won the Prime Minister's Literary Awards book for her book, Semut: The untold story of a secret Australian operation in WWII Borneo. Congratulations Christine - this is terrific news and great to see this announcement only weeks after your Les Carlyon Literary Prize win! 

On Tuesday evening, the Chancellor and I attended the inaugural Summer Oration for the National Centre for Indigenous Genomics (NCIG). Alumna, Professor Megan Davis, was slated to deliver the address but was unfortunately unwell, so we had the privilege of Pat Anderson, Co-Chair of the Uluru Statement of the Heart, delivering the Oration on Megan's behalf. It was a powerful discussion about the role of genomics in closing the gap between First Nations people and other Australians. It was also a great evening to celebrate the announcement of Professor Alex Brown as the new NCIG Director. Congratulations Alex, and thanks to everyone in the NCIG team for a great evening.  

Congratulations to our academics who went through the academic promotions round for 2022. We had over 100 academic promotionsthis year across all seven colleges.I am glad our academic staff have been recognised for their work, research and teaching across campus. You can read the full list of successful applicants here. I would encourage our other academic staff to apply in the next round in 2023.  

Finally, as is tradition, I have filmed my annual 'end of year' video message. A few months ago I certainly didn't expect to find myself learning of the 'Wednesday' dance. I hope it will make some of you chuckle, my kids will not be... I really am grateful for everything our community has achieved this year, and I look forward to 2023 and what we do next. For those heading to the Staff End of Year Party at 4pm today, especially those who have had a busy week running graduations, see you there! For those already on leave, I hope you have a great break. 

Thanks again everyone, see you in 2023! 


P.S. Next week is the FIFA World Cup Final and we, along with the Embassy of Argentina, the Embassy of France and theAlliance Française de Canberrawill be hosting a viewing event in Kambri. For those in Canberra, come and join the Grand Final! Tickets are free but please register.