Address given by Archbishop Denis Hart to the Victorian Chapter of Australian Catholic University on Tuesday, 17th November 2015
Once again I am very pleased to visit the Chapter to thank the Vice-Chancellor, Professor Greg Craven, the Associate Vice-Chancellor Melbourne, Dr John Ballard, the Chair of Chapter, Mr Paul Hoy, and each of you for your wonderful work for the University.
THE PAST YEAR
The past year has been a further great period of growth. Saint Patrick’s and Aquinas Campuses combined have experienced in 2015 an increase in student load of 9% and the growth forecast for 2016 for our two campuses is 12½%.
Because of size, the initiatives taken and research specialisation, A.C.U. is one of the most significant Catholic universities in the world, delivering programmes with an innovative and distinctive learning and teaching experience within the Catholic intellectual tradition.
I am pleased to note excellent student satisfaction and graduate outcomes and the foundation of our campus in Rome provides all sorts of other exciting possibilities. We see ourselves, above all, as a University of service and a leading institution in the area of community engagement. All of these things would not continue to be achieved were it not for the hard work and the vision of the Chapter and for all that is being done by the University staff. And I do take this opportunity of asking Dr Ballard to thank the staff in Melbourne and Ballarat campuses for all that they do.
Throughout this year the Chapter has sought to encourage staff and students to care for the wellbeing of each other. Because we are valuable citizens with inquiring minds, we strive to see that A.C.U. provides a broad range of experience and reflects upon how to stimulate the University’s involvement in the community and beyond.
FOR THE FUTURE
We believe that the wellbeing of students is very much fostered by the work of Chaplains. I express gratitude to Father Antony Shabin Kaniampuram, Deacon Joe Leech, Mrs Hanna Hladik, the Campus Pastoral Associate, and Ms Janice Wong, who provides support. The Archdiocese is committed to doing whatever we can to provide chaplaincy. We recognise the great work of Mary McInerney who left the University in July after fourteen years.
My vision for the future and that of the Chapter is proposed as:
1. An ongoing objective to provide tangible support for our graduates to enter the workforce, so that they will be well rounded contributors to the workplace and the community. In this way they will not feel on their own, but will go forward with confidence.
2. In our exciting and significant building programme in all new developments to ensure that there is a Catholic focus, both in the form and focus of the built environment. While there has been a hiatus in building this year, I am excited at the selection of architects and forward planning for the important new buildings at 117 Victoria Parade and 89 Victoria Parade on the corner of Brunswick Street.
3. It gives me similar joy to note the achievements in Ballarat. The student accommodation facility has been refurbished and upgraded. The chapel is under construction and the foreseen opening of the new Physiotherapy School, which will provide new momentum to the campus.
In conclusion, dear friends, I want to thank you very sincerely for all that you continue to do and urge you to take the broadest and most positive view possible of the circumstances in which we find ourselves. A.C.U. is expanding tremendously; we are turning out young people who are filled with enthusiasm, who are ready for employment and for their contribution to the community. Every one of us has no doubt whatever that our Catholic understanding of the human person, the development and growth of our gifts and the realistic inspiring of our young people is something of which we can be justly proud and yet humbly pleased at what has been achieved.
With many thanks to you all; to the Vice-Chancellor and the Associate Vice-Chancellor and to all who work so successfully to carry A.C.U. forward.
+ Denis J. Hart,
ARCHBISHOP OF MELBOURNE.