VC's Update - Summer students on campus, State of the University and more

13 January 2017

Hello everyone,

I hope you all had an enjoyable and restful holiday break. While most of you were experiencing sweltering temperatures in Australia, my family and I were rugged up in Canada enjoying a snowy Christmas with my Dad and New Year's Eve in New Orleans. The rest of the time was spent on our farm in Sutton getting the vineyard ready for the annual March harvest.

Since starting back at work, I've had the opportunity to speak to several high school and undergraduate student groups who are spending their summer holidays on the ANU campus immersed in intensive study programs. 

On Monday I gave the welcome at the opening of the 2017 Science Olympiads, an accelerated course designed to challenge some of Australia's best and brightest secondary school science students. For the next two weeks these students will dig for trilobites, use probes to date billion year-old fossils and experience what living on a university campus is like. I hope they enjoy their time at ANU.   

The ANU Summer Scholars are coming to the end of their eight-week program, and on Wednesday I dropped into one of their receptions to chat about postgraduate study at ANU. The Summer Scholars program provides undergraduate ANU students with a taste of postgraduate life through research projects, workshops, forums and (lots of) social activities.

The University is again playing host to the National Youth Science Forum and yesterday I got to talk to around 200 year 12 students from across Australia about my research and the career opportunities available for those looking to explore study in the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). I've been involved with the Forum for 20 years now and it's always a delight to see so many NYSF alumni return to ANU as undergraduate students to peruse their passion for science.

I'd also like to extend a fond farewell to Professor Peter Bailey AM OBE who has just retired after a remarkable 70-year career, 30 of which were spent teaching at the ANU College of Law. Professor Bailey was one of our first ANU Law graduates, finishing a Bachelor of Laws at the University's forerunner, the Canberra University College in 1950, and a Masters of Laws at ANU in 1954. I wish Peter all the best for the future and we'll look out for him around town on his bright red Vespa (Careful!).

In 2017 I'm looking forward to delivering on our ambitions and collective vision for the future of ANU. On 9 February I'll be delivering the inaugural State of the University Address in Llewellyn Hall where I will share our new Strategic Plan. I hope you can join me.  

Before that, I'm off with four staff to the World Economic Forum in Switzerland. More on that in my next blog.

Have a great weekend,



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Comment by Roger Burritt
3.30pm 13 Jan 2017

Dear Vice Chancellor,

What an inspiring blog welcoming everyone at the Australian National University to the year with such a set of vibrant, innovative and exciting activities guiding society to a better future. No wonder the ANU is the best University in Australia and one of the foremost in the world. Challenges facing us remain complex and daunting but it is reassuring to see a hard core of commitment and engagement which should help us make progress in the years ahead.

Best wishes for 2017,