Honorary awards

Dr Dugald Esler McLellan

The title of Honorary Fellow of the University was conferred upon Dr Dugald Esler McLellan at the Faculty of Arts graduation ceremony held at 9.30am on 9 April 2010.

Dr Dugald Esler McLellan

The Chair of the Academic Board and Fellow of Senate, Professor Peter McCallum conferring the Honorary Fellowship upon Dr McLellan, photo, copyright Memento Photography.


Professor McCallum, I present Dugald Esler McLellan for the conferral of the title of Honorary Fellow of the University.

Dr McLellan spent eleven years, 1999-2010, as Senior Tutor of St Paul’s College within the University of Sydney. During that time he was highly successful in promoting the fundamental purposes of St Paul’s, in itself and as part of the residential college system. This achievement was due to his fundamental belief that the colleges must contribute to the wider community, including the University, not only by the individual success of their students but also as institutions and communities. He thus made a substantial and pervasive contribution to the way the residential colleges operate within the University of Sydney.

Dr McLellan is a scholar of the Italian Renaissance and an Art Historian. As Senior Tutor of St Paul’s he provided a powerful intellectual focus for the College, thereby adding significantly to the deep and diverse successes of its students, as measured in their academic results, in their winning of globally ranked scholarships and in the establishment within the College of a culture of bright, informed, humane inquiry. During his period in office five St Paul’s students were awarded Rhodes Scholarships, an achievement symptomatic of the high-minded, high-achieving community Dr McLellan helped to create.

Dr McLellan’s success as an academic mentor was based on the assiduous tracking of student careers and on carefully focussed pastoral care. The College accommodates nearly 200 students, with a quarter or more leaving each year. As Senior Tutor Dr McLellan has taken immediate responsibility for every one of those men during his whole period in office, winning considerable affection in return.

Though the residential colleges house only a small minority of Sydney University students, the residential college system has been integral to the University since its foundation. The value of college life at Sydney has been open to multiple interpretations. Historically, the colleges represent intellectual variety within the University. They are designed to embed distinct religious and national traditions within the conviviality of student life, and to interweave shared residence with shared intellectual work. Dr McLellan’s approach to his responsibility at St Paul’s College involved a significant reinterpretation of this principle.

He has himself remarked that “St Paul’s does not exist in a vacuum … to a significant extent the health of this College is dependent on the health of the College system as a whole”. He has promoted the intercollegiate experience at its best, at the most basic level by the sharing of tutorial resources and by the encouragement of cultural and intellectual cooperation. More broadly, he has made a significant contribution to the idea of collegiality within the University, by demonstrating the rich rewards to be gathered from residence on campus. At a time when collegiality, and even community itself, are vexed issues for higher education policy, Dr McLellan’s work at this University was a demonstration of its splendid possibilities.

Professor McCallum, I present Dugald Esler McLellan and I invite you to confer the title of Honorary Fellow of the University upon him.