back to top
Wednesday, July 17, 2024
10.8 C
Sydney

Family rector will forge stronger foundations

Most read

Dr Mark Schembri was installed as the 21st rector of St John’s College at the University of Sydney in a ceremony celebrated by Auxiliary Bishop Richard Umbers. Photo: Patrick Lee/St John’s College
Dr Mark Schembri was installed as the 21st rector of St John’s College at the University of Sydney in a ceremony celebrated by Auxiliary Bishop Richard Umbers. Photo: Patrick Lee/St John’s College

Ceremony, circumstance and clarity of purpose combined for the installation of Dr Mark Schembri as the 21st rector of St John’s College at the University of Sydney.

Established more than 165 years ago by Archbishop Bede Polding, St John’s is the oldest Roman Catholic university college in Australia, and its importance to Catholic life and leadership within Australia cannot be underestimated.

In testament to St John’s significance to Catholic cultural life, the installation on 22 October was steeped in tradition, celebrated by Auxiliary Bishop of Sydney Bishop Richard Umbers and attended by a host of dignitaries, led by the Governor-General of Australia, David Hurley AC DSC, Vice Chancellor of the University of Sydney Professor Mark Scott, NSW Attorney-General Michael Daley, and numerous NSW and Federal Court Justices.

- Advertisement -

Dr Schembri received his collarette, insignia, keys and seal of the college, along with the Gospel of St John, in an ancient ceremony.

Bishop Umbers bestowed on Dr Schembri his duty to remember as rector that he was bound “not only by human laws but also the natural and divine laws of Christ.”

At the installation, Dr Schembri thanked his wife Sarah, children Abi, William, Georgia and Sophia and exemplified his humility, gratitude and awareness of the overall responsibility of the role.

“This office of rector of St John’s is always greater than the person. The symbols of duty carry with them reminders of great responsibility that we owe to each other,” Dr Schembri said.

Chairman of the Fellows of St John’s College John Coorey said that Dr Schembri was selected from more than a dozen candidates from around the globe for the immense responsibility of the rectorate.

“The number and quality of those who applied for the role speaks highly of the esteem in which the College is currently held.”

Speaking the appointment, Mr Coorey said the Council of Fellows was impressed by Dr Schembri’s decision to inspire students by continuing to practice medicine and veterinary science while rector.

“It is an exemplar to the example that society invests heavily to train doctors and vets and when you have had the benefit of an education from this university or others and you can contribute back into the profession you are trained in, you should do so,” he said.

Dr Schembri’s family have joined him in residence at St John’s. Mr Coorey said Dr Schembri’s rectorate will be strengthened by the role his wife Sarah plays in the college.

“Having a rector with his family at the college has brought a sense of wonder and amazement to some of our students to see a family operating in the way that it does,” he said.

In his installation speech, Dr Schembri acknowledged the family dynamic of his rectorate as a way for forging an even stronger future for St John’s College and its place in Catholic higher education.

“Many colleges talk about being like a family, but at St John’s we are a family.”

Dr Schembri pointed to the significance of St John’s in creating the leaders of tomorrow with humility, respect, and an emphasis on servant leadership and Catholic social teaching.

“We have a fantastic college, a fantastic life which brings the best current minds in the professions and specialties to teach the best minds of the future,” he said.

“Students meet global leaders of today here, every week in this institution, knowing that these students might be called to become the leaders of tomorrow.”

Dr Schembri also announced that in the face of a daunting technological age, confronted by a divided secular culture, it was just as important now as at the founding of St John’s to set up young people to live faith filled-lives.

“A university college has not succeeded if its students leave confused, lost and without purpose. It must give certainty about what has been handed on to tomorrow’s leaders to go further.”

- Advertisement -
- Advertisement -