Graduations

Guest speakers - 1856-2005

From the outset it was customary for the Chancellor and the Governor, when present, to give addresses at the annual ceremonies.

However students began to protest about the length of the addresses from the 1880s and in some ceremonies their behaviour caused addresses to be concluded before they had actually ended. Eventually their length was reduced.

Once more than one ceremony was held each year because of the increasing number of graduates, more variety in speakers was introduced.

Eventually addresseses by the Chancellor and the Governor ceased altogether and different guest speakers were selected for each ceremony.

Some examples appear below:


1856

  • Sir Charles Nicholson, 18 February 1856, when the University conferred its first (seven) undergraduate degrees (Bachelor of Arts) at the annual Commemoration ceremony held in the building previously known as Sydney College (now Sydney Grammar School) - address
    Provost (later Chancellor)

1879

  • Sir William Montague Manning, Saturday 26 July 1879, annual Commemoration of Benefactors and Conferring of Degrees ceremony, Great Hall - address (pdf)
    Chancellor

1881

  • Sir William Montague Manning, Saturday 16 July 1881, annual Commemoration of Benefactors and Conferring of Degrees ceremony, Great Hall - address
    Chancellor

1896

  • Dr Henry Normand MacLaurin, Saturday 18 April 1896, annual Commemoration of Benefactors and Conferring of Degrees ceremony, Great Hall - address
    Chancellor

1938

  • Sir Percival Halse Rogers KBE (Chancellor) and His Excellency the Right Hon Lord Wakehurst, KCMG (Governor of NSW and Visitor to the University), Saturday 7 May 1938, ceremony for the conferring of degrees in the Faculties of Arts and Law.
    At the conclusion of the degree ceremony, Professor J Enoch Powell (newly appointed Professor of Greek) gave an Inaugural Address entitled 'Greek in the University'.
  • Dr Arthur Edward Mills (Deputy Chancellor), The Hon Bertram S B Stevens MLA (Premier of NSW) and The Right Hon the Lord Mayor of Sydney, Alderman Norman L Nock, Saturday 14 May 1938, ceremony for the conferring of degrees in the other Faculties.

1955

  • His Excellency Lieutenant-General Sir John Northcott
    Governor of New South Wales and Official Visitor to the University
  • Lt Gen Sir Charles Bickerton Blackburn KCMG OBE
    Chancellor
  • Professor Stephen Henry Roberts CMG
    Vice-Chancellor
  • Mr R G C Parry-Okeden
    Chairman of the Nuclear Research Foundation
  • Dr S H Stackpole
    Executive Associate, British Dominions and Colonies Program, Carnegie Corporation
  • Dr N A M MacKenzie CMG MM QC
    President of the University of British Columbia
  • Emeritus Professor G W Paton
    Vice-Chancellor of the University of Melbourne

1978

  • Lady Cowen
  • Professor Sir Bruce Williams
    Vice-Chancellor

1980s

  • Jill Wran, 1980
  • Professor Diane Yerbury, 1984
    Foundation Professor of Management at AGSM
  • Sir Gustav Nossal, Saturday, 18 May 1985, a special graduation ceremony held in the Great Hall to mark the Centenary of the Science Faculty
  • Professor Jack Roderick, 15 March 1985, Faculty of Engineering graduation ceremony
  • Pat O'Shane, 1987
  • Sir Eric Neal, 7 March 1989

1990s

  • Mrs Gwen Hickling, March 1990
  • The Hon Mr John Dawkins, June 1990
    The Federal Minister for Employment, Education and Training
  • The Hon Gordon Samuels AC QC, 1994
    Chancellor of the University of NSW, former Judge of the Supreme Court of NSW and former Judge of the Court of Appeal
  • Neville Kenneth Wran AC QC, 9.30am, 6 May 1995
  • Dr John Douglas Kelly AM, 9.30am, 28 February 1996
    Chief Executive Officer, Zoological Parks Board of NSW
  • Rosemary Dobson, 4.00pm, 28 February 1996, Faculty of Arts graduation ceremony - occasional address
    Australian poet
  • Professor Anthony Basten, 30 April 1998, Faculty of Medicine graduation ceremony - occasional address
    Professor of Immunology and Director of the Centenary Institute of Cancer Medicine and Cell Biology
  • The Hon Justice Mary Gaudron, 29 October 1999, Faculty of Law, Graduate School of Business and Faculty of Education graduation ceremony - occasional address
    High Court of Australia

2000s

  • Professor Judith Whitworth, 25 May 2000 (Faculty of Medicine graduation ceremony) - occasional address
    Director of the John Curtin School of Medical Research at the Australian National University in Canberra
  • Chris Sidoti, 25 May 2000 (Faculty of Medicine graduation ceremony) - occasional address
    Human Rights Commissioner
  • Sir Arvi Parbo, 27 October 2000, Faculty of Economics graduation ceremony
    Businessman
  • The Hon John Hatzistergos, MLC, 26 October 2001 (Faculty of Law graduation ceremony) - occasional address
  • The Hon John Watkins, 22 March 2002 (Faculty of Education graduation ceremony) - occasional address
    NSW Minister for Education and Training
  • Professor John Young, 11.30am, 10 May 2002 (Faculty of Medicine graduation ceremony) - occasional address
    Pro-Vice-Chancellor, Health Sciences
  • The Hon Dennis Mahoney AO QC, 24 May 2002 (Faculty of Law graduation ceremony) - occasional address
    Former President of the Court of Appeal
  • Professor Giancarlo Elia Valori, a special ceremony held on 8 November 2002
  • Associate Professor Johanna Westbrook, 4 April 2003 (Faculty of Nursing graduation ceremony) - occasional address
    Deputy Director, Clinical Centre for Health Informatics, Faculty of Medicine, University of NSW
  • Emeritus Professor Bruce Thom, 16 May 2003, Faculty of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources graduation ceremony - occasional address
    Professor of Geography at the University of Sydney (1985-1993), Vice Chancellor of the University of New England (1994 to 1996) and member of the Wentworth Group of Concerned Scientists
  • Rhoda Roberts, 23 May 2003 (Sydney Conservatorium of Music and Social Work graduation ceremony) - occasional address
    Indigenous Australian and arts consultant
  • The Hon J J Spigelman AC, 28 May 2004 (Faculty of Law graduation ceremony) - occasional address
    Chief Justice of NSW
  • Emeritus Professor Donald Horne AO, 29 April 2005 (Faculty of Arts graduation ceremony) - occasional address
    Writer and lecturer, Emeritus Professor, University of New South Wales
  • Professor Germaine Greer, 4 November 2005 (Faculty of Arts graduation ceremony) - occasional address
    Internationally acclaimed writer, broadcaster and academic