Investiture Ceremony of the Fourth Chancellor of The University of the Sunshine Coast
Mr Steve Dickson MP; Mr Mark McArdle MP: Mayors; former and current Chancellors; other distinguished guests; ladies and gentlemen. It is a great honour and pleasure for me to officiate at the investiture of the new, the fourth, Chancellor of the University of the Sunshine Coast.
I too acknowledge the traditional custodians of these lands, the Kabi Kabi First Nation people, and express respect for their Elders, past and present.
The region from which our University takes its name has changed dramatically since my predecessor, Governor Samuel Blackall, proclaimed the town of Tewantin in 1870. And since land at Noosa was offered at seven shillings and sixpence an acre in 1879 – with no takers!
Governor Blackall, by the way, was Queensland’s second Governor, serving from 1869 to 1871 – such different times! He survived a Governor’s worst nightmare – a major constitutional crisis, and emerged with distinction.
The early European settlers in the area were the focused on building roads and townships, but there was also recognition that their longer-term future depended on the education of their young people.
This is reflected in the fact that the earliest, still-existing local primary school – Buderim Mountain State School – dates from 1875. And in the fact that the first school in Queensland to teach agricultural skills was established in 1917 – in Nambour.
So, though today’s formal investiture of a new Chancellor is about change, there is also an element of continuity.
The Sunshine Coast community is still enthusiastically engaged in supporting the best possible facilities and best quality teaching for the region.
And, more than ever, education is recognised as a crucial to the region’s on-going social, cultural and economic development. In that respect, it is significant that this ceremony is taking place in an innovation centre.
The local community now has a wonderful and rapidly growing asset in this University.
Since it was granted full university status in 1998, this institution has grown from about 500 students to over 16,000, including a substantial cohort of international students.
Its course offerings and faculties grow in range and depth every year. And the University has an expanding footprint, with a presence in several regional locations and beyond.
It is into this exciting stage of the University’s development that the new Chancellor, Sir Angus Houston, now steps – though he is no stranger to USC.
And, as he steps into the role, Sir Angus benefits enormously from the vision and marvellous service of the former Chancellor, John Dobson OAM.
Mr Dobson’s stewardship of the University over the past decade was instrumental in its rapid but carefully planned and managed growth, and the quality of its teaching.
His strong, decades-long connection with the Sunshine Coast is reflected in the University’s engagement with and support from the regional community.
On behalf of the people of Queensland, I thank the departing Chancellor most sincerely for his enormous contribution to this University and wish him well for the future.
The new Chancellor, Sir Angus Houston, is eminently qualified to step into this important role.
We all admire Sir Angus’s exceptional record of service to our country in the Australian Defence Force. Perhaps less well-known is Sir Angus’s on-going service to the community, including to charitable causes, the arts, medical research, and public policy.
Sir Angus’s commitment and wide-ranging skills, experience, interests and networks will be invaluable assets to the University. They will serve him well as he becomes the face of the University to the staff and students, and to the outside world.
The role will be challenging, but there are compensations. After all, Sir Angus, a University with both ‘Sunshine’ and ‘Coast’ in its name cannot be too difficult to promote!
I look forward to officiating at the new Chancellor’s investiture in a short while. For now, I warmly congratulate Sir Angus on his appointment, and wish him great personal and professional satisfaction in the role.
To this rapidly growing University, in this beautiful part of our wonderful State, I extend my best wishes for a successful future as a driving force in the prosperity, sustainability, and wellbeing of the Sunshine Coast, and of Queensland. Thank you.