by Associate Professor Bob Armstrong
Associate Professor Manuel Aroney, AM, OBE, FRACI, FRSChem
When Manuel Aroney passed away on 15 February 2011, our friend, colleague and Chemistry alumnus left a wide range of individuals and communities, within and outside the University, with a strong sense of loss. The Foundation for Inorganic Chemistry was one of the academic bodies that responded to the general desire to honour Manuel in the context of the University that he served so well over more that five decades. With the generosity of the Vice-Chancellor, and with the support of the Science Faculty and the School of Chemistry, a reception was held on 28 June 2011 in the Nicholson Museum, the University of Sydney, to celebrate Manuel’s life. The timing was such as to fit with the Foundation’s ‘Inorganic & Bioinorganic Symposia’ – Manuel was at the inception of the Foundation in 1973, and was its President for ten years from 1994. Overseas and interstate visitors welcomed the opportunity to get together at both events.
The reception was intended to be informal – short speeches from the Dean of Science, Professor Trevor Hambley, speaking to Manuel’s many research, teaching and administrative contributions, and Professor Peter Lay as Academic Director of the Foundation relating the formative influence Manuel had as President of the Foundation. Manuel’s youngest son, Stephen, spoke warmly of his father – of his strong sense of family, and his need to see him and his two elder brothers succeed. Stephen’s presentation revealed the same wicked humour that Manuel used to great effect in charming groups and individuals over the many academic and community paths that he trod. In representing the family, Stephen was joined by his wife Sophia, son Emmanuel and father-in-law John Mavrocordato.
The Nicholson was the perfect venue. In its context, friends and colleagues from the Greek community and from academia, along with former students and postgraduates had the opportunity to share and exchange their experiences of Manuel’s charm, goodwill and clear purpose.