4 December 2007

The University of Queensland Vice-Chancellor, Professor John Hay, AC, will be presented with an honorary Doctor of Laws degree tomorrow, Wednesday December 5.

Professor Hay will receive his award from the Chancellor, Sir Llewellyn Edwards, AC at a Faculty of Business, Economics and Laws graduation ceremony.

He will also be guest speaker at the 2pm ceremony for Economics and Law graduates at the UQ Centre, Union Road, St Lucia.

“I am greatly honoured by the privilege Senate has bestowed,” Professor Hay said.

“Graduations are a wonderful occasion for families to reflect on their achievements. This ceremony will be specially significant for me as the graduands will include my son Ben, who will receive a Bachelor of Laws degree.

“Our family will be there to support us — my wife Barbara, and our children Chris, Kate, and Ben’s twin brother Tim, and our grandchildren Joshua and Molly, and family members, Paul and Georgie.

“Barbara has been the mainstay of our family. She has graced literally hundreds of University events, including local and international graduations. I owe her a debt of gratitude as a wife, companion and mother. She is a pacesetter in her own right in the aged care and occupational therapy professions, and she has been a warm and willing ambassador for the University.”

Professor Hay, who took up his current position of Vice-Chancellor and President of The University of Queensland in 1996, retires from the University on December 31.

Professor Hay holds degrees in English Literature from the University of Western Australia and Cambridge University, where he held a Hackett Research Scholarship.

He is a Fellow of the Australian Academy of the Humanities, the Australian College of Educators and the Australian Institute of Management and has been invested as National Living Pedagogue by the Swedish Academy for Higher Education.

He held the position of Chair of English and Head of the Department in the University of Western Australia, where he was also Deputy Chair of the Academic Board. He taught and researched Australian, English and French literature, bibliography and English in secondary education.

At Monash University, he was Dean of Arts and Chair of the National Key Centre for Australian Studies and was then appointed Senior Deputy Vice-Chancellor.

In 1992, Professor Hay was appointed Vice-Chancellor and President of Deakin University in Victoria and took up his current position of Vice-Chancellor and President of The University of Queensland on January 1, 1996.

Under his leadership, both Deakin University and The University of Queensland were named Australia’s Universities of the Year by the Good Universities Guide.

The University of Queensland has advanced to second or third position nationally for total competitive research funding and has become Australia’s most successful university in winning and being short-listed for national university teaching awards.

Professor Hay has led the development of a nationally unprecedented series of research institutes and centres at UQ with funding in excess of $700 million, and has forged close bonds with both state and federal governments as well as private benefactors such as The Atlantic Philanthropies.

He also established the new UQ Art Gallery in the re-designed James and Mary Emelia Mayne Centre and Australia’s first national collection of artists’ self-portraits. He was instrumental in the creation of the nation’s first self-portrait prize in 2007, worth $40,000, and to be awarded every second year.

In 2002, Professor Hay was appointed by the Federal Minister for Education to the Higher Education Review Reference Group.

He chaired the body representing Australia’s leading research-intensive universities, the Group of Eight, from January 2002 to May 2003, and Universitas 21, a consortium of comprehensive, research-intensive international universities. He is currently Chair of the Carrick Institute for Learning and Teaching in Higher Education.

In 2003, he was awarded a Centenary Medal for contributions to Australian higher education and in 2007, was announced as a “Queensland Great” by then State Premier, Peter Beattie, in recognition of his lifetime achievements in the history and development of the “Smart State”.

In January 2004, Professor Hay was made a Companion in the Order of Australia in the Australia Day Honours list.

He is general editor of The Bibliography of Australian Literature – a milestone in literary studies scholarship. Once completed in 2008, the five-volume Bibliography will contain details of more than 40,000 works and 12,000 authors.

Professor John Hay has been awarded a Bachelor of Arts with Honours from The University of Western Australia and Cambridge University, Master of Arts from Cambridge University, PhD from the University of Western Australia, Honorary Doctor of Letters from the University of Western Australia, Honorary Doctor of Letters from Deakin University and Honorary Doctor of the University from Queensland University of Technology and now an Honorary Doctor of Laws from The University of Queensland.

Media: Jan King, UQ Communications, 0413 601 248.