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Vice-Chancellors Exhibition

  J. P.
R. H. 
L. M.
J. R.
W. R.
M. S.
F. G.
I. J.

This photographic display brings to you the Directors / Vice-Chancellors of the University of New South Wales since its inception in 1949.

When the university was first incorporated in 1949 the executive had the titles of president, vice president and director. The titles were changed to chancellor, deputy chancellor and vice-chancellor respectively when the enabling statute was amended in 1955.

For further information, please contact the Archives.

Denning, Arthur CBE, BSc DipEd (Syd), Hon. DSc (NSWUT), F.R.S.A., A.S.T.C.
23 April 1901 - 27 March 1975
Arthur Denning, n.d.
(Photographer: Unknown, UNSW Archives CN449)  
Service to UNSW
Director July 1949 - 52
Acting Director 1948 - June 49
Member - Council 1949 - 58 
Member - Developmental Council 1947 - 49

The university's first director, Arthur Denning, was born in Glebe and educated at Sydney Boys High School and the University of Sydney. In 1923 he began working in the Department of Public Instruction, teaching at Wagga Wagga, Armidale and Canterbury Boys high schools before becoming Head Teacher, Mathematics at the Sydney Technical College in 1935. The following year he was appointed deputy-principal at the college and in 1945, assistant-superintendent.

From the mid 1940s Arthur Denning was a strong proponent and planner for the creation of a new technological university. He was a foundation member of the university's Developmental Council from 1947-49 and became acting director in March 1948 when the first degree classes began operation. On 1 July, 1949 the New South Wales University of Technology (later the University of New South Wales) was officially constituted and Arthur Denning was appointed as its director. At this time he was also named Deputy Director, Department of Technical Education - before becoming the director of the department in the following year.

The two hats Arthur Denning wore fitted in with his post-war vision of a hierarchically-structured, fully coordinated technological education sector to secure the needs of the state. He was regarded as hardworking and dedicated, but his personal management style was reputedly close to autocratic. Strains soon developed between Denning and a number of newly recruited professors, who were keen to advance the new university and their respective academic careers in a context of greater academic freedom and collegial decision making.

Arthur Denning was the subject of one of the most dramatic actions in the early history of the university. In December 1952, the Council of the university, at a special meeting, voted narrowly in favour of replacing Denning as Director with Professor Philip Baxter, effective 1 January 1953. Although he continued as an ordinary member of Council until 1958, this move effectively ended Denning's main influence upon the shaping of the new university.

In the years after leaving the university, Denning's career took a major change in direction. In 1958 he went to New York as Commissioner for New South Wales in the USA. After his return to Australia in 1967 he came to hold several company directorships and was chairman and chief executive of Value Search Pty. Ltd. He was appointed CBE in 1962.

In recognition of his contributions to the founding years of the university Arthur Denning received an honorary doctorate in 1957.

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Baxter, Sir John Philip KBE, CMG, BSc PhD (Birm.), Hon LLD (Montreal), Hon. DSc (N'cle, Qld., UNSW), Hon. DTech (Loughborough), FTS, FAA, FRACI FIEAust, MIChemE
7 May 1905 - 5 September 1989
John Philip Baxter, 1963
(Photographer: Max Dupain, UNSW Archives CN486/3/18)  
Service to UNSW 
Director / Vice-Chancellor 1953 - 1969
Member - Council 1950 - 1969
Dean, Faculty of Science 1950 - 1953
Foundation Professor of Chemical Engineering 1950 - 1953
Deputy Director 1952

Philip Baxter was born in Machynlleth, Wales and schooled at Hereford. He studied chemistry at the University of Birmingham, taking his PhD in 1928. By the mid-1930s he was research manager of the new general chemicals division of Imperial Chemical Industries (ICI) at Widnes. He began nuclear work in 1940 and from 1944 to 1945 led the British team working on the atomic bomb project at Oak Ridge, Tennessee.

Baxter was Research Director, ICI General Chemicals Division and also a director, Thorium Ltd when he resigned to leave England at the end of 1949 for the post of foundation Professor of Chemical Engineering at the New South Wales University of Technology (later the University of New South Wales), which he took up in January 1950. In 1953 he became the university's director - continuing as vice-chancellor when this position's title was altered in 1955.

Philip Baxter's influence upon the university was enormous. During his time as director / vice-chancellor, it was transformed into the fastest growing and most rapidly diversifying tertiary institution in Australia. The university in this period moved to Kensington, introduced degree courses in arts and medicine and established regional university colleges at Newcastle and Wollongong. Baxter became a well-known and sometimes controversial figure. Described as energetic, visionary and autocratic, he was responsible for the confidence and speed with which the university grew; but his manner also frequently bruised academic sensibilities.

Baxter took special pride in two accomplishments as vice-chancellor: that the university initiated Unisearch Limited, the first Australian research and development company to link a university with private industry; and that it provided a home for the National Institute of Dramatic Art (NIDA). In 1966 Philip Baxter College - named in recognition of Baxter's contribution to the university - was opened. Among the honours he received was a knighthood (KBE) conferred in 1965 and an Honorary Doctor of Science from UNSW in 1971.

In 1969 Baxter resigned as vice-chancellor. He went on to chair the Sydney Opera House Trust until 1975. He also continued his work as Chairman of the Australian Atomic Energy Commission - a position he held from 1957 - 1972.

Sir Philip Baxter's private papers are held in the University Archives. The papers relate to his time at UNSW, university administration and higher education, his involvement in atomic and nuclear energy matters; and to the Sydney Opera House. An oral history interview, conducted with Sir Philip in 1982, is also available.

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Myers, Sir Rupert Horace KBE, AO, FTSE, FAA, MSc PhD (Melb.), Hon LLD (Strathclyde), Hon. DSc (W'gong), Hon. DLitt (UNSW), Hon. DEng (N'cle), CPEng, FIMMA, FRACI, Hon FIEAust
21 February 1921 - 21 February 2019
Rupert Horace Myers, 1970s
(Photographer: Allan West, UNSW Archives CN486/3/18)
Service to UNSW 
Chairman, Unisearch Ltd 1989 - 1993
Vice-Chancellor & Principal 1969 - 1981
Pro-Vice-Chancellor 1961 - 1969
Dean, Faculty of Technology / Applied Science 1957 - 1961
Member - Council 1956 - 1961, 1969 - 1981
Head, School of Metallurgy - 1952 - 1964
Foundation Professor of Metallurgy 1952 - 1981

Rupert Myers was born in Melbourne in 1921. He was educated at Melbourne High School and then at the University of Melbourne, where he graduated with first class honours and the Exhibition in Metallurgy, gaining the degrees of BSc, MSc and PhD. In 1948 Myers was one of the first two persons to be awarded a PhD from an Australian university.

After working at the Atomic Energy Research Establishment at Harwell, England from 1948 to 1952, Myers returned to Australia to take up the Foundation Chair of Metallurgy in the New South Wales University of Technology (from 1958 the University of New South Wales). He became Dean of the Faculty of Technology (later Applied Science) in 1957, pro-vice-chancellor in 1961 and vice-chancellor in 1969.

If Philip Baxter was the 'essential founder' of the University of New South Wales, Rupert Myers was its essential consolidator. With Myers as its chief executive officer and 'roving diplomat', the university established its character and presence in the academic world. By 1976, after only twenty-seven years, it had become Australia's largest university with a student enrolment of over 18 000.

Several achievements of the Myers era stand out: the establishment of the Faculty of Law, the development of a University College within the Australian Defence Force Academy, Canberra, ACT and the decision by the Cyert Committee to locate the Australian Graduate School of Management, the first national school of business administration, at the university. On his retirement he received an honorary doctor of letters from the university.

After Sir Rupert retired in 1981, he continued a wide range of activities. He remained Chairman of the New South Wales State Pollution Control Commission (1971-89), became the director of several major Australian companies (CSR, IBM Australia and Energy Resources of Australia) and was President of the Australian Academy of Technological Sciences & Engineering (1989 - 1994). From 1989 - 1993 he was a director and Chairman of Unisearch Limited where, from 1969 until his retirement, he had been deputy chairman.

In 1999 the Rupert Myers Building was dedicated in honour of Sir Rupert's role in the development of the university.

The Archives conducted an oral history interview with Sir Rupert in 1984 - 1985. Also held are his official administrative papers relating to the vice-chancellorship, addresses and speeches, photographs, news clippings and memorabilia.

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Birt, Lindsay Michael AO, CBE, BAgrSc BSc PhD (Melb.), DPhil (Oxon), Hon. DLitt (W'gong), Hon. LLD (Sheff.), Hon. DSc (UNSW, Qld.), Hon. DUni (CSU), FAIM, FTSE
18 January 1932 - 28 October 2001
Lindsay Michael Birt, 1980s
(Photographer: Kevin Doig, UNSW Archives CN1127/9) 
Service to UNSW 
Vice-Chancellor & Principal 1981 - 1992
Member - Council 1981 - 1992

Michael Birt was born in Melbourne in 1932. He was educated at Melbourne Boys High School and the University of Melbourne, where he completed a Bachelor of Agricultural Science, a Bachelor of Science and a PhD in biochemistry. In 1957 he received the 1851 Exhibition to Oxford, where he undertook a DPhil.

In 1960 Birt returned to the University of Melbourne - taking up the position of lecturer and then senior lecturer in the Department of Biochemistry - before moving to a senior lectureship at the University of Sheffield in 1964. In 1967 he was invited to become the inaugural chair and head of the Australian National University's Department of Biochemistry, where he remained until his appointment in 1973 as vice-chancellor designate at the Wollongong University College. Foundation vice-chancellor at the University of Wollongong from 1975, Michael Birt then moved on to the vice-chancellorship of the University of New South Wales in 1981.

During Birt's period as vice-chancellor, broader changes in tertiary education led to the reintroduction of university fees, continued financial stringencies, the development of intense competition for research funding and pressure from the demands of educational equity. Perhaps the most controversial was Birt's support for the proposal to establish a state-wide university with UNSW and some regional tertiary institutions combining to form a new entity.

But by the time Birt retired in 1992, the university was receiving the most from the Australian Research Council's competitive funding program for the fourth year in a row. Nor was teaching neglected, with Birt initiating the Vice-Chancellor Awards for Teaching Excellence. He also sought to establish greater equality of funding between humanities and sciences at UNSW and by the end of Michael Birt's vice-chancellorship the number of postgraduate students in humanities had almost doubled. He instituted the campus development plan, which was to come to fruition under vice-chancellor John Niland and oversaw the introduction of the Australian Defence Force Academy, the Asia-Australia Institute, the College of Fine Arts and the St George Campus at the university. On his retirement Michael Birt received an honorary doctorate of science from the university.

In 1993 the Michael Birt Gardens - named in honour of Birt's contribution to the university - were opened.

The Archives conducted an oral history interview with Michael Birt in 1994, which - along with an interview with wife Jenny Birt - was used as the basis for a book, "Not an Ivory Tower" (compiled by Julia Horne). Also held are papers covering Birt's time at UNSW, as well as his personal correspondence and experience at other universities.

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Niland, John Rodney AC, AO, BCom MCom (UNSW), PhD (Ill.), Hon. DSc (UNSW), FASSA
b. 10 September 1940
John Rodney Niland, 1998
(University Photographer, UNSW Archives 00A31)
Service to UNSW 
Chairman, UNSW Foundation Ltd 2002 - 2004
Vice-Chancellor & Principal 1992 - 2002
Dean, Faculty of Commerce & Economics 1989 - 1992
Member - Council 1986 - 2002
Director, Industrial Relations Research Centre 1980 - 1992
Head, School of Economics 1977 - 1982
Head, Department / School of Industrial Relations 1974 - 1989
Professor of Economics (Industrial Relations) 1974 - 2002
Tutor in Economics 1964 -1966
President, University Union 1963
President, Students Union 1961 - 1962

John Niland was born at Kyogle in 1940 and educated at Lismore High. He then undertook a BHP traineeship at Newcastle, enrolling for a Bachelor of Commerce degree at Newcastle University College in 1958. He came to the University of New South Wales' Kensington campus and Basser College in 1960 to complete his honours degree and following that undertook a Master of Commerce degree in the field of labour history while a Tutor in Economics. During 1961 and 1962 Niland was also president of the Students Union, including being the inaugural director of Foundation Day. Two years later he became president of the University Union.

In 1967 John Niland left Australia for the United States where in 1970 he became the first person to be awarded a PhD at the Institute of Industrial Relations at University of Illinois' Urbana-Champaign campus. He then took up the position of assistant professor in Ivy League Cornell University's prestigious School of Industrial and Labor Relations.

Returning to Australia in 1972, John Niland initially joined the School of Economics at the Australian National University. In July 1974, however, he was appointed to the position of professor of Economics (the first alumnus into the professoriate) and head of the Department of Industrial Relations (School from 1988) at UNSW. In 1989 he became Dean of the Faculty of Commerce & Economics and in 1992 vice-chancellor of the university.

John Niland's vision for UNSW was to be pursued with great conviction and energy. Throughout the Niland years the organisation and management of UNSW was vastly altered, particularly via UNSW 2000 and its working parties, leading to dramatic faculty, budgetary and systems restructuring. The transformation of the physical campus which began under vice-chancellor Michael Birt was taken up with great vigour by John Niland, so that by 2000 infrequent visitors were quite stunned with the extraordinary look and feel of the Kensington campus.

There were, however, also inevitable strains. A staff survey commissioned by Niland in 1998 showed that increasing workloads associated with declining Federal funding were hurting staff. The push for improved wages and conditions became intense in 1999, the year UNSW celebrated its fiftieth anniversary. That ever-fluid relationship between leader, those led, those discomfited, and the particular circumstances of the day led to a decision, announced by John Niland in early February 2001, for him to step down from his position at the end of his second five-year term in mid 2002.

In December 2002 John Niland was awarded an honorary doctorate of science by the university.

Since leaving the vice-chancellorship, John Niland has pursued a range of other roles. These include chairman, UNSW Foundation Ltd 2002 - 2004, director, Macquarie Bank Ltd (since 2003), Chairman of Centennial Park Trust (since 2002) and director of the National Trust of Australia (NSW) (since 2006). He is also active in higher education in Asia.

In 2006 the Scientia building was renamed the John Niland Scientia building in acknowledgement of Niland's contribution to the university.

An oral history interview with John Niland has recently been completed by the Archives. Also held are official administrative records relating to industrial relations and Niland's vice-chancellorship, private photographs, correspondence, biographical notes, as well as publications and memorabilia relating to his time as student at UNSW.

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Hume, Wyatt Roderic BSc Dent, BDS, PhD, DDSc (Adel.), FRACDS, FACD, FICD
b. 4 January 1945        
Wyatt Rory Hume, 2000s
(Visiting University Photographer)    
Service to UNSW 
Vice-Chancellor & President 2002 - 2004
Member - Council 2002 - 2004

Wyatt "Rory" Hume was born in Adelaide in 1945. He was educated at Pulteney Grammar School and then at the University of Adelaide, where he obtained a Bachelor of Science in Dentistry, a Bachelor of Dental Surgery and a PhD in human physiology and pharmacology. In 1990, he was also awarded a Doctor of Dental Science from the university for his published work.

After graduating, Hume worked as a country dentist for two years before taking up a position as lecturer at the University of Adelaide from 1974 - 1977. He then moved to the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA), initially on a research fellowship, but was soon appointed an associate professor. In 1984 he returned to the University of Adelaide as Chair of the Department of Dentistry. In 1987 he took up the position of Professor of Restorative Dentistry at the University of Sydney, where he later became Dean of Dentistry from 1989 - 1991. Hume then served as the Chair of the Department of Restorative Dentistry at the University of California San Francisco (1991 - 1996), before returning to UCLA where he was Dean of the School of Dentistry from 1996 - 1998 and Executive Vice Chancellor from 1998 - 2002.

Hume took up the position of vice-chancellor at the University of New South Wales in July 2002. In April 2004, he gave notice of his intention to resign due to a breakdown in his relationship with the university Council. Hume's term as vice-chancellor officially concluded on 30 June 2004.

After leaving UNSW, Hume continued his roles as a member of the Australian Research Council and chair of the Australian Research Information Infrastructure Committee until his appointment as Executive Vice Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs at the University of California in September 2005. In June 2006 he was made Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic and Health Affairs.

In September 2008 Dr Hume took up the position of Provost at the United Arab Emirates University.

The Archives holds an oral history interview with Dr Hume, which was conducted in 2009.

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Wainwright, Mark Sebastian AM, BAppSc, MAppSc (Adel.), PhD (McM.), DSc (S.Aust.), Hon. DSc (UNSW), CPEng, FTSE, FRACI, FIEAust
b. 20 October 1943
Mark Sebastian Wainwright, 2000s
(Visiting University Photographer)
Service to UNSW
Vice-Chancellor & President 2004 - 2006
Member - Council 2004 - 2006
Deputy Vice-Chancellor 2001 - 2004
Pro-Vice-Chancellor 1998 - 1999
Dean, Faculty of Engineering 1991 - 2000
Professor of Chemical Engineering 1989 - 2006
Lecturer / Senior Lecturer / Associate Professor, School of Chemical Technology / Chemical Engineering & Industrial Chemistry 1974 - 1989

Mark Wainwright was born and educated in Adelaide. He received a B.App.Sc (Hons) in Applied Chemistry in 1967 from the University of Adelaide and then joined ICI Australia as a process control engineer. Shortly afterwards, however, he moved on to the position of senior tutor/demonstrator in the School of Chemical Technology at the South Australian Institute of Technology. During this time he also completed a M.App.Sc in Chemical Engineering from the University of Adelaide.

Moving to Canada, in 1974 Mark Wainwright achieved his PhD in Chemical Engineering from McMaster University. In this year he was also appointed to a lectureship in the School of Chemical Technology at the University of New South Wales, where he was subsequently promoted to senior lecturer and associate professor before obtaining a chair in chemical engineering in 1989.

In 1991 Mark Wainwright gained the position of Dean of the Faculty of Engineering, which he held until the end of 2000. During this period at different times he also took on the roles of Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Division of Information Services) for six months, Dean of the Faculty of the Built Environment for seven months and Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Research) for two years.

In 2001 he was appointed Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research & International). Later changed to Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research), Mark Wainwright remained in this position until he was made acting vice-chancellor in April 2004 following the resignation of Wyatt R. Hume. From 1 July 2004, Wainwright was confirmed vice-chancellor, a role he held until his retirement on 16 June, 2006. As vice-chancellor he presided over a number of important projects, including the development of UNSW Asia and the Graduate Research School.

In March 2007 Mark Wainwright was awarded an honorary doctorate of science by the university.

The Archives holds three oral history interviews with Mark Wainwright - undertaken in 2002, 2003 and 2008.

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 Hilmer, Frederick George AO, LLB (Syd), LLM (Pennsylvania), MBA (Wharton), Hon. DSc (UNSW)
b. 2 February 1945
Frederick George Hilmer, 2006
(Visiting University Photographer)
Service to UNSW
Vice-Chancellor & President 2006 - 2015
Member - Council 2006 - 2015
Dean, Director & Professor of Management, Australian Graduate School of Management 1989 - 1998

Professor Fred Hilmer was born in Sydney in 1945. He holds a degree in law from the University of Sydney, an LLM from the University of Pennsylvania, and a Master of Business Administration degree from the Wharton School of Finance where he was appointed a Joseph Wharton Fellow. In 1991 the Australian Institute of Management awarded him a special John Storey medal for distinguished contribution to the advancement of management thinking in Australia.

Early in his career Professor Hilmer was a member of the Faculty of Law at the University of Pennsylvania and also practised law in Australia. He was a director of McKinsey & Company - responsible for managing the Australian practice. During 1981 and 1982 he served on the Committee of Inquiry into Management Education.

In 1989 Professor Hilmer became Dean and Director of the Australian Graduate School of Management (AGSM). From 1989 - 1993 he also served as a member of the Commonwealth Higher Education Council and from 1991 - 1998 as a Director of Port Jackson Partners Limited. In 1992 and 1993 he chaired the National Competition Policy Review Committee. He has also previously served as Chairman of Pacific Power, Deputy Chairman of Foster's Brewing Group Limited and as a Director of a number of other Australian companies. He was appointed an Officer of the Order of Australia (AO) in 1998 for his services to management education, competition policy and workplace reform.

In 1998 Professor Hilmer left the AGSM to become Chief Executive Officer, John Fairfax Holdings Limited. In 2005 he moved on from this position shortly after he was announced as the University of New South Wales' next vice-chancellor.

On 19 June 2006 Professor Hilmer took up his role as UNSW's vice-chancellor and president. He stepped down from this position at the end of January 2015.

In 2014 Professor Hilmer was awarded an honorary doctorate of science by the university.

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 Jacobs, Ian Jeffrey, BA, MA (Camb), MBBS, MD (Lond.), FRCOG
b. 6 October 1957
Ian Jacobs, 2014
(Visiting University Photographer)
Service to UNSW
President & Vice-Chancellor 2015 -
Member - Council 2015 -

Professor Ian Jacobs was born in London in 1957. He obtained a Bachelor of Arts and Master of Arts from the University of Cambridge, a Bachelor of Medicine/Bachelor of Surgery at the Middlesex Hospital Medical School and a Doctor of Medicine from the University of London.

Professor Jacobs obtained accreditation in obstetrics and gynaecology working at the Royal London Hospital and Rosie Maternity Hospital Cambridge and specialist accreditation as a surgical gynaecological oncologist at Bart's and The Royal Marsden Hospitals. He was Head of Department of Gynaecological Oncology and then Obstetrics and Gynaecology at Queen Mary University of London from 1996 to 2004 and created and directed the UCL Institute for Women's Health between 2004 and 2009. From 2006 to 2009 he set up and directed the UCL Biomedical Research Centre and secured NIHR funding for the Centre. In 2009 Professor Jacobs took up the role of Dean in the Faculty of Biomedicine at UCL, before becoming Vice President and Dean at the University of Manchester and Director of the Manchester Academic Health Science Centre in 2011.

In 2005 Professor Jacobs established the Uganda Women's Health Initiative, which he still chairs and which conducts a series of projects in Uganda including a cervical screening programme. He has been President of the British Gynaecological Cancer Society (2001-2004) and of the European Society of Gynaecological Oncology (2005-2007). He is Medical Advisor to the Eve Appeal charity (also known as the Gynaecology Cancer Research Fund) which he founded in 1985, a Patron of Safehands for Mothers, founder and non-Executive Director of Abcodia Ltd and patent holder of the ROCA (Risk of Ovarian Cancer Algorithm).

In February 2015 Professor Jacobs took up the role of UNSW President and Vice-Chancellor.

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