“A long tradition of service” – Former chancellors return to mark a very special milestone


(L-R), Chancellor Dr Martin Parkinson, Dr Maurice Newman, The Hon Michael Kirby, the Hon Michael Egan, Dr Tim Besley and Vice-Chancellor Professor S. Bruce Dowton.

Collectively, they guided Macquarie through 33 years of our 57-year history as a university determined to be different. 

On Thursday 8 April, four former Macquarie University Chancellors returned to campus to mark a special milestone in our shared history – the 500th meeting of the Macquarie University Council.

The Hon Michael Kirby AC CMG (Chancellor, 1984-1993), Dr Tim Besley AC (1994-2001), Dr Maurice Newman AC (2002-2008) and the Hon Michael Egan AO (2008-2019) were warmly welcomed back to Macquarie by current Chancellor Dr Martin Parkinson AC and the Vice-Chancellor Professor S. Bruce Dowton for the occasion.

With most of the Chancellors not having seen the campus for many years, there was much excitement as the group set off for a tour of new campus developments including the Arts and Central Courtyard precincts.

Noting the new teaching spaces in 1CC, they reflected on how far the student experience has come since the days of the traditional lecture, and how proud they were to see Macquarie continuing to innovate in learning and teaching.

kirby_arts-museum-webA history of challenging the status quo: Michael Kirby appointed Professor Di Yerbury as Australia’s first female Vice-Chancellor during his time at Macquarie.

One of the biggest reactions came as the group entered 1CC’s new Graduation Hall.

“Fantastic, fantastic,” was the unanimous verdict, as the group exchanged memories of the many Macquarie graduation ceremonies at which they officiated, including the year Mr Egan led the entire graduation hall in a rousing rendition of ‘Happy Birthday’ for members of the audience.


At an afternoon tea with current Council members, Mr Kirby said that seeing the campus again for the first time in 10 years reminded him how unique Macquarie is.

“What Australian university campus could possibly claim to be more beautiful?” he asked. “It’s pleasing not only to the eye, but to the spirit – this place has room to grow and it has fulfilled the dream of a university that is different.”

In thanking the Chancellors and Council members for their service to the University, Chancellor Dr Martin Parkinson said he looked forward to seeing what the University will achieve over the course of the Council’s next 500 meetings.

“I want to pay my respect to all the people who have nurtured this University from the beginning – the students, the staff, the leaders and of course the Chancellors,” he said. “There’s a long tradition of service here.”





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  1. Loved reading this – great to celebrate and give credit to who and what has made this university great ! And I agree we have a beautiful campus and the new campus common area is spectatcular!

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