Graduands urged to ‘continue to seek diversity’

Published 08 October 2010

GRADUATION 8 OCTOBER 2010The Chancellor of the University of New England, Dr Richard Torbay, presented more than 300 people with degrees and awards today in the first of the University’s two Spring Graduation ceremonies for 2010.

About 1,200 people are graduating from UNE this spring, and almost 500 are attending the ceremonies today and tomorrow to receive their testamurs in person.

In introducing Professor Annabelle Duncan, the Occasional Address speaker at today’s ceremony, the Vic-Chancellor, Professor Jim Barber, said: “Professor Duncan is now – I’m proud to say – Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research) at the University of New England.”

Professor Barber outlined Professor Duncan’s distinguished career as a research scientist and science administrator, leading to her arrival at UNE five weeks ago. “She spent 16 years working for CSIRO – initially as a research scientist, later in science management – and was the Chief of CSIRO Molecular Science for six years,” he said. “From 2005 to 2007 she was Deputy Director and Chief Operating Officer of the Bio21 Institute at the University of Melbourne, and from 2007 to 2010 she was Executive Director, Science Collaboration, at the Biosciences Research Centre – a joint venture between La Trobe University and the Victorian Department of Primary Industries.”

In her address, Professor Duncan (pictured here with Professor Barber) emphasised the importance of “debate, dialogue, and the sharing of many diverse views” in addressing the rapid changes of our 21st-century world.

The simplistic models – based on classical mechanics – so often applied to complex social processes needed to be replaced by models that embraced that complexity, she said. “The well-oiled machine is a wonderful metaphor if you can ignore the human and ecosystem factors – but you can’t.”

“I’m an ecologist,” she explained, “and I know that resilient communities are diverse communities.”

“You have all worked very hard to be here,” she told the graduands, “and you have benefited from working in a wonderfully diverse, multicultural environment. You have been exposed to many ideas, concepts and ways of doing things. I hope, as you move on, you will continue to seek diversity, and to be exposed to new ideas, information and experiences.”

Today’s ceremony was for people graduating with degrees and awards within UNE’s Faculty of The Professions.  The Occasional Address speaker at tomorrow’s ceremony, for the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, will be Dr Gavin Moodie, a leading university administrator and policy analyst who gained his doctoral degree from UNE in 2006. Dr Moodie is Principal Policy Adviser at RMIT University in Melbourne.