13 December 2005

The University of Queensland will acknowledge the importance of arts, theatre and humanities when it recognises significant contributors to Queensland Arts at two ceremonies on Wednesday, December 14.

The combined Arts and Social and Behaviour Sciences ceremonies will be held at the UQ Centre, Union Rd, St Lucia campus.

Queensland actor and member of the Grin and Tonic theatre troupe Bryan Nason, AM, will be guest speaker and honorary doctorate recipient at a 2pm ceremony.

UQ Deputy Chancellor and lawyer Adjunct Professor Robert Wensley, QC, will speak and receive an honorary doctorate at a 6pm ceremony. Mr Wensley holds a strong interest in the Arts and was a student actor at UQ.

You can listen to the speeches by clicking here.

Librarian and member of the working party on the Australian Dictionary of Biography Spencer Routh will also receive an honorary Doctor of Letters degree at the 6pm ceremony, recognising his distinguished career and nearly four decades of service to the University Library.

Mr Routh topped the Queensland Scholarship, Junior and Senior public examinations at secondary school level before graduating Bachelor of Arts, Honours, from the University of Queensland in 1958. He was a junior lecturer in the English Department then became the University's first reference librarian in 1959.

His library career included a Master of Science degree from the School of Library Science, Columbia University, New York; and earned the gratitude of researchers and students, many of whom paid tribute in their publications and theses for his "legendary assistance".

The award of an Australian Dictionary of Biography Medal in 2003 cited Mr Routh as a "Sherlock Holmes of researchers".

The son of University of Queensland graduates, UQ Adjunct Professor Robert Wensley, QC, has degrees in engineering and law.

Mr Wensley was a student at King’s College in the 1960s. During this time, he became particularly interested in student and semi-professional theatre.

He performed in and directed numerous performances at the Avalon theatre and other theatres in the city, including the old Festival Hall in the College Players’ production of Macbeth.

He chaired the committee that built the Schonell Theatre and was instrumental in organising the opening production of the theatre, an original musical called Bacchoi, based on the legend of Dionysus.

Mr Wensley played one of the lead roles in the production, with a young Geoffrey Rush as a fellow cast member.

In 1969, he was elected as the first full-time President of the University of Queensland Student Union and in 1978, was elected to the governing body of the UQ Senate.

For the past seven years, Mr Wensley has been Deputy Chancellor of the University of Queensland and chairman of the Senate’s audit committee.

Bryan Nason, AM, is nationally regarded as one of Australia’s leading directors and actors of the plays of Shakespeare.

He works for the Grin and Tonic Theatre Troupe, which tours throughout Queensland and spends several months each year playing lively Shakespeare programs for secondary students.

Originally a UQ graduate in chemistry and mathematics, Mr Nason has since committed himself entirely to live theatre and creating a theatre ensemble for Queensland.

His work has been recognised with various awards and in 2001, he was made a Member of the Order of Australia for his work with Grin and Tonic. In 2004 he received the Queensland Performing Arts Trust’s (QPAT) prestigious Award for Excellence.

Valedictorian and Bachelor of Psychological Science graduand Elisha Frederiks will address the 2pm ceremony and Bachelor of Journalism/Bachelor of Social Science student Giovanna Maccarone will make her valedictorian address at the 6pm ceremony.

Media: Elizabeth Kerr at UQ Communications (07 3365 2339, e.kerr@uq.edu.au)