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Graduations, with honours

by Michèle Nardelli

GRADUATION CEREMONY: Ron Radford and Vice Chancellor Denise Bradley were awarded honorary doctoratesAfter 10 years as Vice Chancellor, Professor Denise Bradley took to the stage at the Adelaide Festival Theatre for the last time to complete one duty of office that she believes is central to the job, overseeing graduations.

"This is what the University is all about – changing people’s lives through the experience of education. I particularly like to be present as our graduands receive their awards, to celebrate and acknowledge their commitment and effort," Professor Bradley said.

Since becoming Vice Chancellor, she has seen almost 100,000 graduands cross the stage as part of a celebration of the intelligence, determination and sheer hard work it takes to complete their degrees.

But this time, the Vice Chancellor was on the receiving end of congratulations.

On March 30 Professor Bradley was awarded an honorary doctorate from the University and made an Emeritus Professor – a first for UniSA.

In his citation for the Vice Chancellor, Professor Michael Rowan outlined her many career achievements but also drew attention to the personal qualities that are a hallmark of her success.

"It is striking how often she has been involved at the beginning of what becomes a defining policy issue or major development in the higher education sector," Professor Rowan said.

"Her capacity to absorb information and quickly reach a conclusion which can be successfully carried through is unequalled in my experience.

"That and her enormous energy and total commitment to the job, have been the foundation of her successful leadership of the University."

Professor Bradley said she was honoured to carry the title of honorary doctor from a university that has been such a significant part of her life.

"I’m pleased with what UniSA has become – diverse, progressive, international in outlook and an institution that is engaged across the community, in business, education, industry and society."

In the same week UniSA also acknowledged the director of the Australian National Gallery and former director of the Art Gallery of South Australia, Ron Radford AM, for his distinguished public service, awarding him an honorary doctorate. Radford began his career as an education officer for the National Gallery of Victoria and by the early 1970s had won a position as director of the Ballarat Fine Art Gallery, where he built its reputation as one of the nation’s most vibrant and important regional art centres. He took on the role of curator of European and Australian paintings and sculpture at the Art Gallery of South Australia in 1981 and stepped up to the role of director of the gallery in 1991, a position he held for 13 years.

Dr Radford said he was delighted to accept the honorary award from the University of South Australia.

"I am proud that I was originally asked to accept it when I was living in Adelaide," he said, "and I am honoured because I respect the achievements of the University of South Australia. It is a new and vibrant university which does not stand on merits of the past. It looks to the future."

Recently retired Professor Robyn King was also made an Emeritus Professor. Professor King will continue his association with the University as a research supervisor and through his service on the board of the Cooperative Research Centre for Integrated Engineering Asset Management.

The March graduations were held over five days with more than 2800 graduands taking part from all four divisions, including 75 PhDs and four Doctors of Business Administration.