Last week, a long-term staff member retired. Kirsty Carrick has been with us for over 20 years and is a highly respected and much valued member of our team. This got me thinking about how one of the very many strengths of our school is about commitment and longevity in the job. Whether we like it or not, we are an important part of each other’s lives. Many of you remember when our colleague’s got married, when their children were born, and when they were going through ups and downs in their lives. This is the difference between a community and a place of work, it is about loyalty and connection, and it reflects how welcomed I felt from everyone here at the UoN from my very first day. The people we work with are not just our colleagues, but they are people that we share our lives with.
Speaking about longevity, I met with Daphne Keats yesterday. A strong woman who has been a cornerstone of our school. At 92 she just returned from another trip to China where she celebrated the anniversary of the China-Australia Centre for Cross-cultural research, that she started many years ago. I think this centre is a powerful legacy and I have been thinking about how we could maintain it, working with Stefi and the Keats fund. It would be great to continue the momentum that she and John started so many years ago. We could perhaps start with taking some of our students over to run some small cross-cultural projects as part of their undergraduate program? Offer some teaching exchanges?
Last night I also went to the inaugural lecture celebrating the 40th anniversary of medicine at the UoN. Sitting there waiting for the lecture to start, I was watching the rolling video of historical pictures of the medical school form the 70’s through the 80’s and so on to today. In the audience were past deans, VC’s, students and academics. Professor Brian Kelly - the current Head of Medicine and Public Health, describes how he was one of those early medical students. Once again I was struck by this notion of working within an institution that allows us to grow as academics, and encourages commitment and loyalty. Once again, I feel very lucky to be here J
Good luck Kirsty, you will be missed.