Unveiling of former Chancellor’s official portrait

Published 03 April 2012

The Chancellor of the University of New England, the Hon. Richard Torbay, unveiled the official portrait of his predecessor, John Cassidy AO, during a ceremony at the University on Friday 30 March.

The portrait, now on display in “Booloominbah”, is the latest addition to the University’s collection of portraits of its previous Chancellors and Vice-Chancellors.

Mr Torbay said that the collection was “like UNE’s own Archibald Prize exhibition”, and explained that the painter of Mr Cassidy’s portrait, Vincent Fantauzzo, was unable to attend the unveiling because he was in Sydney for the opening of this year’s Archibald exhibition (in which he is a finalist for the fourth time).

Vincent Fantauzzo, who is renowned for his portraiture, won the Packing Room Prize at last year’s Archibald with a portrait of the celebrity chef Matt Moran, and the People’s Choice Award in 2008 and 2009 for portraits of the actors Heath Ledger and Brandon Walters respectively. He has worked and exhibited worldwide, with exhibitions in India, Vietnam, New York, Los Angeles, Hong Kong and Australia.

Mr Torbay welcomed Mr Cassidy, his wife Mrs Annette Cassidy, and members of their family to the unveiling ceremony, along with Armidale Dumaresq Mayor Councillor Peter Ducat, Mrs Colleen Ducat, and the Deputy Mayor, Dr Jim Maher. Other official guests included UNE’s Deputy Chancellor, Mr Scott Williams, the Vice-Chancellor, Professor Jim Barber, and Mrs Mary Barber.

Mr Torbay said that Mr Cassidy, who was Chancellor of UNE from 2004 to 2008, had made “a significant contribution to education at UNE and in the New England region”. He mentioned in particular Mr Cassidy’s support for the establishment of the Joint Medical Program in collaboration with the University of Newcastle, his involvement in the establishment of the New England Conservatorium of Music, and his role in – and support of – the New England Girls’ School.

Mr Cassidy thanked “the very hard-working people who were here in my day – and are still here”, and wished the University well for the future.

“I’m very much honoured to have been Chancellor, and to have my portrait hanging here,” he said.

“Vincent Fantauzzo’s portrait of John Cassidy carries on a UNE tradition not only of official portraiture, but of portraiture by some of the best Australian artists,” said Michelle Arens, Manager of the UNE Art Collection. “Artists such as Judy Cassab, Kevin Connor, William Dargie, Joshua Smith, W.E.P. Pidgeon and Bill Leake have painted the portraits of the University’s Chancellors and Vice-Chancellors.”

Clicking on the image above reveals a photograph of Mr Cassidy standing next to his official portrait after the unveiling ceremony.