Installation Ceremony for the Chancellor of Queensland University of Technology, Dr Xiaoling Liu
Premier; former Governors, Dame Quentin Bryce and Ms Leneen Forde; Chancellor, Dr Xiaoling Liu and fellow Members of the QUT Council, including Vice-Chancellor, Professor Margaret Shiel; current and former Chancellors and Vice-Chancellors; distinguished guests; ladies and gentlemen.
I thank Uncle Gregory for his welcome to country and Mr Ruska and the Nunukul Yuggera Aboriginal Dance Troupe for their introduction; I too respectfully acknowledge the traditional owners of the lands around Brisbane, and extend my greetings to Elders and emerging leaders.
Among the lesser-known facts that a new Chancellor of QUT needs to know, is that Queensland Governors suffer from vice-regal nostalgia when visiting the campuses of this fine University.
Not only is there a former, purpose-built Government House at the heart of the Gardens Point campus, but QUT’s Kelvin Grove campus is on the proposed site of a new Queensland Government House – vintage early 20th century – that was never built.
One Governor, in the 1930s, made a concerted effort to reclaim Old Government House – that was Sir Leslie Wilson. But, Chancellor, I have no pretensions towards being the second!
Indeed, I thank QUT for its inspiring custodianship of Old Government House and its role in maintaining and encouraging maximum public enjoyment of one of Queensland’s stand-out heritage attractions.
I am delighted to be here for this ceremony, representing the people of Queensland at this very important day in the life of QUT, and in the life of our State.
The installation of a Chancellor is an important event. Some few have claimed the role of Chancellor is largely ceremonial. Certainly not so in a 21st century university.
‘Figurehead’ is another word some use to describe the role, and that proves to be a far more accurate description than perhaps intended – at least in its literal meaning of a figure placed on the bows of a ship.
That kind of figurehead personified the ship and represented its history, its achievements and its spirit. It always looked ahead. It was a symbol of stability and continuity, but it was always at the forefront when the ship sailed to new horizons.
I am confident that the QUT community will recognise in this description important elements of the role of Chancellor.
So too we all recognise the great benefits QUT has gained from the leadership, advice, counsel, and generosity of spirit of the departing Chancellor, Mr Tim Fairfax AC.
It is an opportune moment for me as Governor to say thank you and congratulations to Tim Fairfax for his enormous contributions to QUT as Chancellor – for so generously sharing his experience as – I presume to list – a leader, an entrepreneur, a philanthropist and a supporter of the arts, among other accomplishments – together with Gina; and we should also gratefully acknowledge his leadership of those hundreds of graduation ceremonies, here and around the world! … absolutely no hardship there!
And so today we formally welcome the new Chancellor, Dr Liu, who brings to QUT a unique set of knowledge, skills, experience and international networks that are now at the behest of the university.
Dr Liu’s professional experience and life experience across the globe span industry, engineering, leadership and governance at very senior levels of major organisations.
That background, along with her advocacy of innovation and technology, shapes an excellent ‘fit’ for QUT. So too does Dr Liu’s enthusiasm for productive QUT-industry links.
And then there is Dr Liu’s unmistakable commitment to higher education as a powerful tool for making individual aspiration a reality, and through that reality, supporting the well-being of our communities.
These admirable characteristics will serve Dr Liu exceptionally well as she interacts with all parts of the QUT community and the broader community.
At a university with multiple campuses and nearly 50,000 students, the role will not be without challenges.
Like many large institutions, universities are subject to increasing levels of public scrutiny, and high expectations of accountability.
Some challenges will be met through good governance and planning. Others will be unforeseen, such as the need to respond to the impacts of the coronavirus on the Australian education sector. But Dr Liu’s record suggests that she unlikely to be discouraged by a challenge!
Shortly it will be my great pleasure and honour to assist in the ceremonial installation of Dr Liu as QUT’s fifth Chancellor.
For now, I warmly welcome Dr Liu to her new role, and extend both my congratulations, and best wishes, for great success, and great personal and professional satisfaction, during her tenure.