Honorary awards

Bruce W Ross

The title of Honorary Fellow was conferred upon Bruce W Ross at the Science ceremony held at 4.00 pm on 30 May 2003.


Today the Senate of the University confers on Bruce Ross a Fellowship of the University. The news of this conferral has been greeted with acclaim in all quarters of our University community. A Fellowship for Bruce Ross allows the University to celebrate with heartfelt gratitude and joy, his ongoing and outstanding role in molding the performance and profile of Sydney University as a modern centre of excellence in academic and sporting endeavours.

Bruce Ross has been associated with Sydney University for thirty (30) years. He is a graduate of the University of New South Wales and came to us in 1973. For twenty eight (28) years he served as a Lecturer and Senior Lecturer in the Faculty of Economics and Business. His preferred areas of research and teaching were business enterprise and corporate strategy, to which he contributed significant insight and scholarship.

In the 1970’s and 1980’s, Bruce came to appreciate and admire the significant role that organised student sport and sporting organizations had established at Sydney University. As a keen rugby man, he saw the continuity and vitality of Sydney University Rugby, Australia’s oldest Rugby Club, and the impressive records of the other sporting clubs serving both male and female students. He met and admired the great personalities like Roy Pearson and Noel Martin, who had made the Sports Union and the Women’s Sports Union active centres of sporting achievement, with large student participation, bringing out the great potential for co-operation, self discipline and good fellowship.

Bruce became actively involved in the Rugby Club as Coach of the First Colts in 1989. In later years he coached various Colts and grade teams. However, his gift for organization and direction had become well known at the highest levels of the University. With expectations, which were never disappointed, Bruce Ross was appointed in 1990, a Senate Representative on the Sports Union Management Committee. The Sports Union leadership shared the Senate’s assessment of Bruce Ross and next year, on the retirement of Maurice Cunningham, Bruce was elected as the 39th President of the Sydney University Sports Union. He went on to become the longest serving President. This year he became the first President of Sydney University Sport, the amalgamation of the Sports Union and the Women’s Sports Union.

The twelve (12) years of the Ross era has been founded on his relationship firstly with Roy Pearson and secondly with Greg Harris. The Ross/Harris partnership has been a cornerstone of nine (9) years of sporting achievement, enhancement of facilities, consolidation of financial strength, closer relationships with the University Senate and Administration and finally the amalgamation of the Sports Union as Sydney University Sport. Since last year, the official objectives and plans of action of Sydney University make specific reference to sport and sport facilities. Bruce Ross’s own words explain why:

We are producing national sporting representatives at an unprecedented rate and that process seems destined to continue. Established top-level athletes, including Olympic medallists, are choosing to come to our University to study and compete. And increasingly Sydney has become the university of choice and our clubs the club of choice for aspiring elite athletes. One of our great achievements in recent years has been the development of a study culture among the holders of our sporting scholarships. Their academic results are, on average, significantly better than those of the general student body here at Sydney. Considering the extraordinary time pressures imposed on serious athletes, this is a performance indicator in which we can take great pride.

Under the leadership of Bruce Ross, Sydney University Sport has emerged as the greatest centre of its kind in the Southern hemisphere. Its reputation is renowned throughout the sporting and academic world.

This achievement is Bruce Ross’s achievement. Our renown and glory is the product of his vision and labours for Sydney University. No more so than in maintaining a close connection for our students between academic success and sporting achievement. In 1991 Bruce Ross proposed the introduction of a system of sports scholarships, the foundation of Sydney University’s comprehensive elite athlete program. Following a 1999 study tour with Greg Harris, of Athletics Departments and sporting programs at major US universities, he took the role of Academic Counsellor to the elite athletes. He now works in conjunction with the athlete services managers, providing academic and career advice. He has taken a particular interest in encouraging past sporting scholars to maintain their involvement with the University and its sporting clubs.

The first three (3) years of the New Millennium have been the University’s greatest ever sporting era. Premierships and Club Championships, State and National Pennants, Olympic, Commonwealth and World Championship representatives – all our major sports clubs have advanced – to name some - the Rugby Club, the Cricket Club, the Rowing Club, the Swimming Club, the Athletics Club, the Water Polo Club. The University has also won the Australian University Games in each year. Over 200 athletes are on Sports Scholarships.

Bruce Ross, President of Sydney University Sports, your true memorial is all around you in the records and activities of our students and their supporters.

Bruce Ross, the University of Sydney salutes you and for your great and ongoing service confers on you a Fellowship of the University.