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Farewell to Monash University Chancellor

5 December 2007

Deputy Chancellor Paul Ramler, Chancellor Jerry Ellis, Vice-Chancellor Professor Richard Larkins and Deputy Chancellor Dr Leanne Rowe at the end of year celebration.

Monash University leaders have officially farewelled the institution's sixth Chancellor in 50 years.

Chancellor Jerry Ellis was formally farewelled at the annual end of year celebration for Monash Council members at Monash Club this week, but his eight-year tenure does not officially expire until the end of the year.

Vice-Chancellor Professor Richard Larkins said Mr Ellis had been a valuable mentor and made an enormous contribution to the University's success.

"On the one hand, Mr Ellis took an intense interest in the progress of the University and took regular soundings from Deans and other staff," Professor Larkins said.

"When he found problems he brought them to my attention, recognising the role of governance compared with management. I always appreciated his advice and support."

Deputy Chancellor Paul Ramler told the gathering it was a privilege to have worked with Mr Ellis over the past eight years.

Mr Ellis' first year in office in 1999 saw the opening of the new Monash South Africa campus in Johannesburg. During the same year the University secured an 18th century Tuscan palace to open a research and teaching centre in Prato, Italy.

Mr Ellis officiated at the opening of the first European centre and oversaw the expansion that has made Monash one of the world's most internationalised universities. His global business experiences paved the way for the most successful international expansion in the Australian higher education sector.

"Jerry was nominated for a second term during which time our prominence in medical research was truly recognised," Mr Ramler said.

"He was involved in negotiations with the State Government to secure the Australian Synchrotron and the Australian Regenerative Medicine Institute which will be one of the largest stem-cell research centres in the world."

Mr Ellis presided at over 275 ceremonies "which equates to around over 110,000 hand shakes", Mr Ramler said.

Chancellor Ellis said he felt privileged to be involved in some of the university's defining moments.

"I am very grateful to have had the opportunity to work alongside members of Council and as part of such a successful international institution," Mr Ellis said.

Mr Ellis is the chairman of the board of directors of a number of companies, and holds directorships in the fields of finance, mining and engineering.

He also recently received the Order of the Rising Sun: Gold and Silver Star from the Japanese Government, acknowledging his commitment as former Chair of the Australian/Japan Foundation and work to build Australia/Japan relations.

The dinner on 3 December was also a farewell for retiring Council members Associate Professor John Hurst, Ms Sue Smith, Ms Zoe Edwards, Ms Mei-Leng Kok and Professor Sue Davis.

Dr Alan Finkel will formally take up the position of Monash University Chancellor next year.