Honorary awards

Christopher Noel

The title of Honorary Fellow of the University of Sydney was conferred upon Christopher Noel at the Economics and Business graduation ceremony held at 2.00pm on 11 May 2007.

Christopher Noel

The Chancellor the Hon Justice Kim Santow conferring the title upon Mr Noel, photo, copyright Memento Photography.


Chancellor, I present to you Christopher Noel, Bachelor of Economics of this University for the conferring of the title of Honorary Fellow of the University.

Christopher Noel has been a significant contributor to the University of Sydney over nearly 40 years through supporting the Sydney University Boat Club; contributing towards enabling the University’s students to gain a complete education through the attainment of values of excellence; and instigating a number of key initiatives for the benefit of the student body.

Over the last 20 years, he has been the driving force behind a wide range of major initiatives which have considerably raised the profile and reputation of the University, as well as providing exceptional opportunities to its community, particularly its students.

In 1968 Chris entered the Faculty of Economics. Soon after, he joined the sport of rowing at the University Boat Club. During his period as an active athlete, Chris competed for the University in numerous intervarsity competitions and also represented New South Wales.

In 1972 he was awarded a Blue in Boat for his achievements in the 1971 season.

Chris’ greatest contributions to the University have, however, been in his recognition that an education must be a complete experience and that a University needs to provide its students with the tools and directions to excel.

In 1987 Chris became President of the Sydney University Boat Club. At the time the club had less than a dozen active rowers, obsolete equipment and was struggling to compete in local competition. Chris addressed this situation with extraordinary capability and focus and led the rebuilding of the Club and its facilities for which he received a University Colour award (now Gold award) in 1990.

Chris has moved the Club to a position where it is now the best performing and most successful elite rower programme in the state, arguably the country, and is unquestionably the most successful university club in Australia. Following the recent national selection trials, Sydney University will field 17 rowers and two coaches in 2007 Senior World Cup and Under-23 World Championship crews following the announcement of the national rowing team; the highest ever representation by Sydney University at the international level. Furthermore in recent years, the club has won both New South Wales and Intervarsity competitions many times; University Club of the year, twice, and home of Sportsman of the Year, again twice.

Throughout this period Chris has mentored many athletes and coaches, many of whom now play leading roles in the elite sport structure of the country. He has also been one of the Club’s major financial benefactors over this period. Chris founded the Sydney University Rowing Foundation in 2005 which already has commitments exceeding $750, 000.

Chris has applied the same philosophies and drive to the wider University sporting community. In 1991 he was elected a Vice-President of the Sydney University Sports Union, now Sydney University Sport. Some years later he became a representative of the University Senate on the Management Committee of the same group, a position he continues to hold. He played a key role in the redevelopment of the Noel Martin Recreation Centre.

He was also a driving force behind Sydney University sporting scholarships, recognising that the profile of a university in Australia can rise with its profile on the sporting field and that this requires the attraction and development of exceptional individuals. There are now hundreds of these scholarships which provide not just financial support but also academic and personal development counselling, and career advice; hence, ensuring a complete education for many University students.

In summary, Christopher Noel has contributed extraordinarily to the University through his support of one of its oldest and most successful sporting clubs, enabling its students to gain a complete education through the attainment of standards of excellence. He has made significant financial contributions to the buildings and facilities of the University and has been the instigator of a number of key initiatives for the benefit of the university student body.

Chancellor, I present to you Christopher Guy Noel, and invite you to confer upon him the title of Honorary Fellow of the University.