Honorary awards

Renata Ruzzene Kaldor AO

The title of Honorary Fellow of the University was conferred upon Renata Ruzzene Kaldor AO in 2005.


Chancellor, I have the honour to present Mrs Renata Kaldor, an Officer of the Order of Australia, for the conferring of the title of Honorary Fellow.

Renata Kaldor served as a Fellow of the Senate for sixteen years from 1988 to 2004. She was elected Deputy Chancellor in 2000 and re-elected in 2002. In 2001 she was acting Chancellor of this University. In late 2003, the Senate, with the greatest regret, received the news of her retirement as a Fellow and Deputy Chancellor.

Renata Kaldor’s outstanding service to the governance and life of Sydney University marks her as one of the most significant and important Fellows of Senate in the last generation.

As Deputy Chancellor, Mrs Kaldor was the initiator of new governance procedures and the new frameworks for accountability of Fellows and University Officers. She also, sponsored a wide changing review of the Senate’s performance as a governing body and the evolution of bench marking of the central administration.

As Deputy Chancellor, she regarded it as important to be in regular contact with all Fellows about Senate business and their particular concerns. These she frequently highlighted to the Chancellor and Vice-Chancellor and reported back their responses to Fellows. As Deputy Chancellor she acted on her conviction that senate could only seriously function as an ultimate sounding board for policy and action at the University if its members were well informed and encouraged to actively participate in Senate responsibilities.

Her courtesy, courage and concern became a by-word and all who served with her have stories of her assistance, drive and wisdom. Her great work was deeply appreciated by all Fellows and the senior administration.

Renata Kaldor came to the Senate in 1988 with a strong interest in education and an established reputation as a leader in major community and public undertakings, as well as much great success with her husband and family in private business.

She also had a strong involvement in business education, conference organisation and theatrical and dance companies together with experience as a school teacher and welfare officer in Sydney and London.

Over the years, she brought to the Senate and to the service of Sydney University, perspectives and skills from her other work and appointments, including the NSW Women’s Council (which she chaired), the State Rail Authority, the Sydney Olympic Bid Committee and SOCOG, the Board of the Sydney Symphony Orchestra, the Council of the Garvan Institute Foundation and as a councillor of the Alzheimers Association. For many years she has been active in the Women Prisoners Visitation Programme.

For all of this community service and for her work as Deputy Chancellor and as a Fellow of the Senate, Mrs Kaldor was appointed an Officer in the Order of Australia in 2002 and awarded a Centenary Medal in 2003.

Mrs Kaldor’s association with the University of Sydney is remarkable in itself. She is a graduate in Arts from the University of NSW and there she also completed her Diploma in Education. She has often said that Sydney University engaged her because its history and reputation meant that this University would have an Australia wide influence and a top world ranking if its contemporary performance reflected its potential and aspirations. This was not so when she was appointed to the Senate as became painfully clear in the early to mid 1990’s.

Renata Kaldor never lost her strong belief that Sydney University could be turned around and she worked with determination with the Vice-Chancellor and others for this to be achieved - as it had been by the end of her service here in 2004.

In governance, in executive and professorial appointments, in education philosophy and vision, Renata Kaldor had been a central participant in the major changes at this University in those years. Looking back, her patience and persistence were extraordinary and became a characteristic of her long and successful tenure on the Senate.

All of this was the fruit of her long service, at various times, on virtually all Senate committees and particularly the Finance Committee, the Remuneration Committee and the Honours Committee. There was no aspect of Senate business or University activity she did not know and understand. All of this knowledge and experience was made readily available to her colleagues in the Senate.

In every way, Renata Kaldor has been one of the most influential and important Fellows of the Senate since this University’s foundation in 1850. Her work here has been of permanent value and she rightly occupies a high place in the long history of the Senate. Renata Kaldor, the University of Sydney salutes you.

Chancellor, I present Mrs Renata Kaldor for the conferring of the title of Honorary Fellow of the University.