Glyn Davis’s farewell address

This is the full text of Glyn Davis’s farewell message to University of Melbourne staff

After nearly 14 years, a final end of month reflection from a departing vice-chancellor.  It has been a privilege thinking with you about our university.  More still, it has been an honour to be part of the scholarly community at Melbourne.

In A Man for All Seasons, Sir Thomas More urges a young man to be a teacher – “you would be a fine teacher, perhaps a great one.”

The young man is not persuaded – “If I was, who would know it?”

“You; your pupils; your friends; God.  Not a bad public, that” responds More.

Such are the rewards of our work in education. We participate in the unbroken transmission of ideas and mission, renewal and discovery across generations.

Every day we experience the genius of this university, and not just in the romance of the stones in the Old Quad, the liveliness of Southbank or the tranquillity of the System Garden.

What makes a university is the brilliant minds with whom we share these spaces. The academics who care greatly about their teaching, research and engagement. The students deeply engrossed in their studies, the orchestra of medical interns, the student theatre on campus, the University Blacks running onto the oval, the women’s rowing crew pulling away to win the Bella Guerin Cup year after year.

This is our place, the 65,000 students and more than 9,000 staff who make up the University of Melbourne at any given moment, joined by colleagues from the precinct, alumni, colleges, wandering groups of school children, bemused busloads of tourists.

All experience a campus committed to knowledge. To be part of this university is to revel in this ferment and, hopefully, to contribute to its richness.

So, I depart today grateful to the people with whom I worked – the academics and professional staff, the student leaders, the union representatives and even the occasional protestors, because each one cares about what happens here.  Together this group of talented people has endowed the university with new curriculum, graduate schools, innovative buildings and spaces, explorations in engagement, enterprise and advancement.

We build on a century and a half of tradition, yet relish a chance to add to the fabric of the University of Melbourne, an institution that will still be young when we are old.

For me this has been a wonderful experience, but now is the time to embrace new leadership. So, I welcome Professor Duncan Maskell, who will be a fine vice chancellor, bringing his own vision and experience to the role.  He has my unstinting support as I return to the life of research and teaching, alongside some new adventures outside higher education.  I will watch, with pride, the journey ahead for a university destined to grow in the esteem of future generations.”


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