Emeritus Professor William Matthew O’Neil
The honorary degree of Doctor of Letters was conferred upon Emeritus Professor William Matthew O’Neil by the Chancellor Sir Hermann Black at a conferring of degrees ceremony held in the Great Hall on 20 January 1979. Professor O'Neil had retired as Deputy Vice-Chancellor of the University in December of the previous year.
The Vice-Chancellor, Professor B R Wiliiams, gave the citation, praising Professor O'Neil's contribution to the University of Sydney.
"When at the end of last year he came to say farewell I remarked that no Vice-Chancellor could have had a better colleague and I would add here publicly, a better or wiser colleague," he said.
"In 1965 he became Deputy Vice-Chancellor and was able to devote more time to academic policy, to appointments, to developing criteria for promotion, including teaching, to the patient settlement of disagreements and disputes and to the development of research in the University and more generally through the Australian Research Grants Committee. At the end of last year, the number of farewell parties and the atmosphere at those parties was ample evidence of the admiration and affection in which he was held by all sections of the university community."
Professor Williams said that among Professor O'Neil's significant contributions to the university were the creation of a modern department of Psychology, the transformation of post-graduate studies and the introduction of the PhD in the Faculty of Arts.
From "The University of Sydney News", 26 February 1979