Presentation to Professor Gavin Brown

Presentation to Professor Gavin Brown by the Chair, Academic Board

A presentation was made on 16 April 2008 to retiring Vice-Chancellor Professor Gavin Brown on the occasion of his final Board meeting.

View information about Professor Brown as Vice-Chancellor and Principal.


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Inscription

The presentation was made in appreciation of Professor Brown's outstanding contribution to the Academic Board of the University of Sydney from August 1996 to July 2008 as Vice-Chancellor and fellow academic.

The Chair of the Academic Board Professor Bruce Sutton made the presentation, and former Chair of the Academic Board, Dr John Mack, also spoke.

The book presented was titled Leçons sur l'intégration et la recherche des fonctions primitives, professées au collège de france" by Henri Lebesgue (first edition, published in 1904). The copy was purchased in 1907 by the previous owner, Elmer Schuyler who was the Chairman of the Department of Mathematics, Bay Ridge High School in Brooklyn, New York and a member of the American Mathematical Society. A third edition of the book was reprinted in 2001 and 2003 by the American Mathematical Society.





Gallery

Professor Gavin Brown
Professor Gavin Brown
  • From left to right: Professor Gavin Brown; Dr John Mack, Dr William Adams and Professor Brown, photography, courtesy University Secretariat.
Professor Gavin Brown
Speech by Professor Bruce Sutton
  • From left to right: Dr Mack and Professor Brown; Dr William Adams, Professor Brown and Professor Bruce Sutton, photography, courtesy University Secretariat.
Speech by Professor John Mack
Speech by Professor John Mack
  • Dr Mack, Professor Brown and Professor Sutton, photography, courtesy University Secretariat.
Presentation of the book
Presentation of the book
  • Professor Brown and Professor Sutton, photography, courtesy University Secretariat.

Professor Bruce Sutton's presentation

Vice-Chancellor, members of the Academic Board, ladies and gentlemen

We are meeting today to acknowledge the contribution of one of the Board’s longest serving members. Professor Brown attended his first meeting of the Academic Board, as the newly appointed Vice-Chancellor of this University, in August 1996. Today marks the last occasion on which he will meet with us in his capacity as Vice-Chancellor.

As this is the first of what will be many occasions on which various sections of the University bid Professor Brown farewell, I will focus my remarks on his contributions to the academic life of the University, and his support of and involvement with the Academic Board.

To say that much has happened to the University in the past twelve years is somewhat of an understatement. I am the seventh Chair of the Academic Board that he has dealt with since that first meeting and in that time the Academic Board has gone through two major restructures and it is a different, and I hope better, body to the one that Gavin first encountered in 1996.

We don’t have time this afternoon to list in detail all of the innovations and changes which have been introduced by the Academic Board since 1996, but some of the major items include:

  • restructuring coursework degrees at the University;
  • the introduction of regular reviews of faculties by the Academic Board;
  • a major review of student appeals processes; and
  • the introduction of the “Identifying and Supporting Students at Risk” policy and procedures.

These milestones have been made possible because the Academic Board has had a strong working relationship with the University’s Vice-Chancellor, and it is a measure of what can be achieved when the senior management and academia work hand-in-hand.

I’m sure I speak for all members of the Academic Board when I thank Gavin for participating in and supporting the work of the Board, for his engagement with the University as a whole, and I extend on behalf of members our warmest best wishes for the future.

In choosing a gift as a token of our esteem and best wishes, we were guided by a number of Gavin’s peers. They have assured us that the volume of works by Emile Borel and Henri Lebague which we have obtained will find a welcome on his bookshelves.

Professor John Mack has insisted that the book should be presented with the following tag:

“The sets of Borel
Are absolute hell
But Lebague measure
Gives a vague pleasure”

We were intrigued as to the background of the book’s original owner, and some sleuthing on the internet has revealed that Elmer Schuyler was the Chairman of the Department of Mathematics, Bay Ridge High School in Brooklyn, New York. He was also a member of the American Mathematical Society. I hope Gavin will be pleased to learn that Mr Schuyler was obviously a man of great integrity as evidenced by this letter to the Editor of Time Magazine in 1927.

Sirs:
My subscription expires May, 1927. Let it stay expired. I am through with it. It's too sensational and not fit to be read by growing children.
ELMER SCHUYLER

It is with great pleasure that I present this volume to Professor Brown in recognition of his long and distinguished association with the Academic Board of the University of Sydney.

Professor Bruce Sutton
Chair, Academic Board