Gavin Brown receives honorary doctorate
15 May 2009
A familiar figure in the University's recent history returned to the Great Hall today, albeit in a slightly different role.
Emeritus Professor Gavin Brown, former Vice-Chancellor and Principal was awarded an honorary Doctor of Science in recognition of his twelve year period (1996-2008) at the helm of the University of Sydney.
"Professor Brown transformed the University of Sydney at a time it was desperately needed," said Dr Michael Spence. "It was a privilege and a joy to follow him as Vice-Chancellor".
"Under Professor Brown's leadership, Sydney regained its premier position".
Outlining the considerable academic and administrative achievements of his predecessor, Dr Spence noted that Gavin Brown continued to carry out research in his own field of mathematics and to supervise PhD students while Vice-Chancellor. "I believe he was probably the only Australian Vice-Chancellor who was simultaneously a principal researcher on an ARC research grant!"
After leaving the University of Sydney, Gavin Brown became the inaugural Director of the Royal Institution of Australia (RiAus), based in Adelaide. RiAus is the first international 'satellite' of the world-renowned Royal Institution of Great Britain, the flagship of science communication for more than 200 years.
"My great challenge now is to lift the level of scientific debate in this country," he said.
Addressing the new graduates, most of whom had just been awarded degrees in science, engineering and information technology, the research mathematician encouraged them to seek new opportunities with restless energy and curiosity.
Quoting Marie Curie, the only woman to win the Nobel Prize twice, he implored them to continue active questioning. "Nothing in life is to be feared, it is only to be understood."
Contact: Andrew Potter
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