Vice-Chancellor receives Order of Australia at Government House

1 May 2017

University of Sydney Vice-Chancellor Dr Michael Spence was awarded an Australia Day Honour during a ceremony at Government House in Canberra. The award recognised his eminent service to the higher education sector.

The Governor General Sir Peter Cosgrove AK MC awarded a Companion of the Order of Australia (AC) to Dr Michael Spence, University of Sydney Vice-Chancellor and Principal, during a ceremony at Government House in Canberra.

Dr Spence was named a Companion in the General Division of the Order of Australia in the 2017 Australia Day Honours for his “eminent service to leadership of the tertiary education sector, to the advancement of equitable access to educational opportunities, to developing strategic programs focused on multidisciplinary research, and to the Anglican Church of Australia.”

Reflecting on the accolade, Dr Spence said he was greatly humbled to be recognised with the honour. “I acknowledge the continued dedication of staff, students and the whole University community who embark on world-changing work every day,” Dr Spence said.

The University of Sydney community is bound by an unwavering commitment to excellence and equity. These two qualities are integral to maintaining our world-class standard for the nation’s higher education sector.
Vice-Chancellor Dr Michael Spence AC

Under Dr Spence’s leadership, the University forged a distinctive strategy: the University of Sydney 2016-20 Strategic Plan. At the plan’s core are the three strategic themes of excellence, engagement and simplification.

“Since the launching the 2016-20 Strategic Plan 12 months ago, we have laid the foundations for how we will triple our investment in research and started to pilot a new professional learning framework,” Dr Spence said.

Profile shot of Dr Michael Spence, University of Sydney Vice-Chancellor and Principal.

Of the Australia Day honour, Dr Spence said, “I am delighted to see our multidisciplinary research agenda recognised in the citation. 

“From our Charles Perkins Centre (CPC) for medical research to our Brain and Mind Centre (BMC), from the Australian Institute for Nanoscale Science and Technology (AINST) to the University of Sydney's China Studies Centre, the decision to co-locate researchers and students from different disciplines under one roof has produced some remarkable results.”

An alumnus of the University of Sydney, Dr Spence graduated with first-class honours in English, Italian and law, and was appointed the 25th Vice-Chancellor in 2008.

In a message to staff earlier this year, Dr Spence said, “In a world in which some leaders openly question the role of experts, offer ‘alternative facts’ to inconvenient truths, or dismiss widely accepted peer-reviewed research, we should not be afraid of asking difficult questions, or pursuing our best understanding of truth, wherever that may lead.

“The work of our University has never been more important, and our shared values more important to affirm.”