Installation Ceremony for the 6th Chancellor of Queensland University of Technology
Premier and Minister for the Olympics; the Honourable Annastacia Palaszczuk MP; Judge of the Supreme Court of Queensland, The Honourable Justice Kerri Mellifont; QUT Deputy Chancellor Mr Peter Howes, and fellow members of the QUT Council; incoming QUT Chancellor Ms Ann Sherry AO; Vice-Chancellor and President of QUT, Professor Margaret Sheil AO; former QUT Chancellors, Chancellors and Vice-Chancellors of the University of Queensland and the University of Southern Queensland; members of the QUT community; and other distinguished guests.
I begin by thanking Uncle Gregory Egert (Uncle Cheg) as QUT’s Elder-in-Residence for his welcome to these traditional lands of the Jagera and Turrbal peoples, and by paying my respects to their Elders, past, present and emerging, along with any First Nations people here today.
As the academic procession assembled in Old Government House in preparation for today’s installation ceremony, I was reminded of just how closely the history of higher education in Queensland is tied to that building.
It may have begun life as the purpose-built residence for 11 of my predecessors as Governor, but at 3.30 pm on the 10th of December, 1909, precisely 50 years after Queensland became a self-governing colony, Sir William Macgregor formally dedicated his Vice-Regal home, on behalf of the people, to the purposes of the State’s first university.
The Speaker of the Legislative Assembly solemnly accepted the gift, a choir of a thousand school children sang the National Anthem, and Sir William, in full court dress, signed the University Act. With that, this precinct began its long life as a key part of our State’s education system.
The thousands of students who have been educated at QUT and its predecessor institutions over the ensuing 113 years include its new Chancellor, Ms Ann Sherry AO, and I am delighted to have the honour and privilege of installing her as the University’s sixth Chancellor and presenting her with her Oath of Office.
This institution has been exceptionally well-served by Ann’s five predecessors as Chancellor and I take this opportunity to thank them, on behalf of all Queenslanders, for the contribution they have made not only to QUT but to the higher education sector, our State, and the nation.
Leading and guiding a large university in the 21st century is no easy task, but Ann comes to the role with exceptionally broad and diverse public and private sector experience and a formidable track record, particularly in removing barriers and improving opportunities for women and Indigenous Australians.
The installation of a new Chancellor is a significant event in the life of any university and I thank Professor Sheil for the invitation to participate in this important ceremony.
The influence and impact of Ms Sherry’s appointment extends well beyond the university to the many individuals, institutions and communities, both domestic and international, who have a stake in QUT’s continued excellence and reputation.
Chancellor, I congratulate you on your installation and I wish you every success.