Honorary awards

Emeritus Professor Bruce Mansfield

Emeritus Professor Bruce Mansfield was awarded an Honorary Degree of Doctor of Letters at the 2.30pm graduation ceremony in the Great Hall on 1 March 1991.

Emeritus Professor Bruce Mansfield

Professor Mansfield, second from left, with colleagues from the Department of History, from left: Associate Professor Ros Pesman, Professor Brian Fletcher (both former students of Mansfield) and Dr Alastair MacLachlan, photo, 'The University of Sydney News', 12 March 1991.


The honorary degree was awarded for Professor Mansfield's contributions as a scholar, administrator and teacher in the life of three universities - Sydney, Macquarie and Charles Sturt.

A 1949 Sydney graduate (first class honours and University medal in History, followed by an MA with first class honours), he joined the University's Department of History as Lecturer in 1951. Mansfield is unusual for his major achievements in two widely separate fields - Australian history and Early Modern European history. In the 1950s he began the teaching of Early Modern European history at Sydney - still a major reaching area - and developed a particular interest in the religious dimensions of life in that period. This interest was reflected in his initiative which led to the establishment at the University in 1959 of the 'Journal of Religious History'. He edited the 'Journal', the only one of its kind in Australia and now a leading publication, from 1959 to 1987.

Mansfield is an authority on the sixteenth cemury religious figure, Erasmus, having published numerous articles and a major study of interpretations of his life from soon after his death until the 1920s.

Mansfield was an associate professor at Sydney University when appointed Foundation Professor of History at Macquarie University in 1965; from 1976 to 1985 he was Deputy Vice-Chancellor. For many years he served on the Council of Mitchell CAE, now part of the new Charles Sturt University, and has been its Deputy Chancellor since 1989.

Since 1986 Professor Mansfield has been Visiting Professor at Sydney University, giving occasional lectures on Erasmus and the Reformation. Last year, with Dr Z Zlatar, he gave a seminar on the 'Renaissance/Reformation Debate' which dealt largely with Erasmus and Luther.

He is currendy well advanced with a history of the first 25 years of Macquarie University, to be co-authored with Mark Hutchinson. The history of Macquarie is closely related to that of Sydney, says Mansfield; Macquarie was founded because of 'pressures on Sydney in the early 1960s when it introduced quotas on matriculated srudents for all faculties for the first time in its history' . For that reason, Sydney was a 'great supporter of Macquarie'. When Macquarie was established, a number of Sydney academics (including Mansfield) took up chairs and other posts there.

From 'The University of Sydney News', 12 March 1991