Professor Francis Campbell has been sworn in as the fourth vice chancellor of the University of Notre Dame Australia.
Archbishop Anthony Fisher OP presided over the inauguration Mass and ceremony at St Mary’s Cathedral in Sydney on 21 February.
In attendance were civic and educational leaders including the Governor of NSW Margaret Beazley, and former governor Dame Marie Bashir.
In his homily Archbishop said that Professor Campbell, the former vice chancellor of St Mary’s University in London, comes highly recommended by people he trusts in the ecclesiastical and academic scenes in Britain.
“His experience of academic life and leadership will be invaluable as he assumes his new task,” he said.
Archbishop Fisher said a university needs a vice chancellor as a body needs a soul.
“[It] might survive for a time in a somewhat vegetative state; but without this unifying and guiding principle, its identity will fade, its purposes be confused, its members disintegrate,” he said.
“So we are very pleased to have a vice chancellor to lead us forward anew.”
Following the Mass Professor Campbell was brought forward to accept his charge as the fourth vice chancellor of Notre Dame, make a profession of faith and an oath of fidelity.
He also received the vice chancellor’s regalia and official university seal.
UNDA student Matthew Frijo presented Professor Campbell with a mosaic of St Joseph, a gift handmade by students from the Sydney campus to represent the prayers and support of the university community.
At a reception at the Art Gallery of NSW following the ceremony UNDA chancellor Chris Ellison praised the new vice chancellor’s “high intellect, his commitment to faith, his pastoral care; those qualities that he’s exhibited through times of crisis and his approach to very difficult situations.
“All of those will stand him in great stead at Notre Dame”.
Professor Campbell said his new role was a “privilege and an honour” and that the vision to establish Notre Dame had “transformed lives”.
“We take on these roles because of the legacy of those who went before, the hard work of people who are still at the institution and the people who had the vision to found it,” he said.
“In that chain of office and the passing on of the robes by [former vice chancellor] Peter [Tannock], you are really conscious that it’s on the shoulders of giants that you take on this role and it leaves you very humbled.”
Professor Campbell plans to divide his time between the Perth and Sydney campuses.