Power changes hands at CDU ceremony

22-Apr-2016

The Honourable Sally Thomas AC, handing over the university’s ceremonial mace to Mr Neil Balnaves AO symbolising the transfer of power and authority to him as new Chancellor

The Honourable Sally Thomas AC, handing over the university’s ceremonial mace to Mr Neil Balnaves AO symbolising the transfer of power and authority to him as new Chancellor


The Northern Territory has witnessed the first installation ceremony of a University Chancellor in the 27 years of higher education in the jurisdiction.

NT community leaders and special guests from interstate joined Charles Darwin University staff and governing Council members today for the installation ceremony of Mr Neil Balnaves AO as the third Chancellor of Charles Darwin University.

This morning’s event began with an academic procession and a smoking ceremony by Larrakia elders, and involved the out-going Chancellor, The Honourable Sally Thomas AC, handing over the university’s ceremonial mace to Mr Balnaves, symbolising the transfer of power and authority to him as the new leader of the University Council.

During the ceremony, which was officiated by the NT Administrator His Honour The Honourable John Hardy OAM, Vice-Chancellor Professor Simon Maddocks detailed the significance of the role of Chancellor.

“The Chancellor provides leadership and is responsible for ensuring that the University Council effectively carries out its responsibilities with regard to overseeing the affairs of the university and its strategic direction,” Professor Maddocks said.

“Another important role of the University Chancellor is to officiate at our graduation ceremonies for the conferral of academic awards.” CDU currently holds seven graduation ceremonies a year.

“The role of Chancellor is both important and demanding and I am extremely pleased that Mr Balnaves has accepted the position of third Chancellor for Charles Darwin University.”

Mr Balnaves, who will lead a 15-member University Council, takes over from Ms Thomas, who has just completed two terms in the position.

Professor Maddocks paid tribute to Ms Thomas for her outstanding service to the university.

“During her time as Chancellor Ms Thomas has shown absolute dedication to the role, with the result that the university has benefitted immeasurably from her leadership and her commitment, and grown to become a world class university, with around 24,000 students.”

He said she would be greatly missed.

The first Chancellor of CDU was Mr Richard Ryan AO.

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