Afternoon Reception to Mark the Official Installation of Dr Xiaoling Liu, Chancellor of QUT
It is with great pleasure that I warmly welcome you all to this Government House. I particularly acknowledge the presence of three formers Governors: Dame Quentin; Major General Arnison; and Ms Leneen Forde; current and former Chancellors and Vice-Chancellors; distinguished guests; ladies and gentlemen.
I extend a special welcome to Dr Xiaoling Liu and her family, Jimin, Hanwei and Suya, following her ceremonial installation as Chancellor of QUT this morning.
That ceremony underscored the critical role of our State’s higher education institutions in providing our young people, and increasingly our not-so-young people, with skills and experience that enable them to reach for their highest goals in life.
The importance of this role in Queensland’s progress was recognised when our State’s first university was established in 1909.
The then Governor of this State, Sir William MacGregor, was closely involved, becoming the first Chancellor of that first university – and incidentally, with the distinction of having lived in both Old Government House, and from 1910, this “new” Government House.
A number of other Queensland Governors followed suit with relation to QUT, either during their tenure or following it. They include the third Chancellor of QUT, Major General Peter Arnison, whose magnificent portrait by Brisbane artist, Paul Newton, by the way, hangs in the Gardens Point Council Room and features in our Government House publication.
Sir William McGregor, though, had particular reason to appreciate and value the transformative power of tertiary education.
Unusually for a Governor of the time, his parents were not from the upper levels of British society. They were poor small-holding farmers in Scotland.
Through the support of mentors in his village, and sheer hard work, Sir William became a medical doctor, a senior administrator in a number of British colonies, later Governor of Newfoundland and then Governor of Queensland.
His story echoes through the decades and resounds more than ever in the 21st century – education as a gateway and a pathway to greater things, including for those whose life circumstances threaten to deny them the opportunity.
And what better place for Dr Liu to highlight her advocacy of the power of higher education than as Chancellor of one of Australia’s leading universities?
After all, QUT has been offering its students access to those doorways and pathways arguably since 1849, when the Brisbane School of Arts was founded – a time when Queensland was still part of New South Wales.
I was delighted to welcome Dr Liu to Government House as Chancellor-Elect last November. I look forward to many more opportunities to welcome her as our honoured guest, to hear of her experiences and achievements as Chancellor.
For now, though, we invite Dr Liu, members of her family, and our other distinguished guests to join us in proudly celebrating this special day. Thank you.