Christmas - a time of love, compassion and hope

A message from the Vice-Chancellor, Professor Greg Craven:

At the end of a year marked by global upheaval and controversy, Christmas is a time to join our fellow Christians to celebrate the birth of Jesus and remember His eternal message – one of infinite love, compassion and hope.

At Australian Catholic University (ACU) we have plenty to reflect on, celebrate and be proud of as 2017 draws to a close.

In January I was honoured to attend the Global Foundation Rome Roundtable in Rome. ACU was a key partner of this unique gathering involving senior leaders from politics, business, faith and academia to discuss solutions to issues under the umbrella term coined as ‘inclusive globalisation’ by His Holiness, Pope Francis.

This year also saw us reposition the way we look and sound.  Our new brand proposition “Impact through Empathy” has been developed to capture elements of our mission as a Catholic university and shows how our work and our students and staff have the capacity to change the world. The ACU mission will continue to shape what we do – from the ACU staff and student experience to the research that we undertake to the programs we offer.  To demonstrate our new brand in action, we became the National Education Partner of Orange Sky. A non-profit organisation formed in 2014, Orange Sky is the world’s first free mobile laundry service for the homeless.

We also strengthened our international relationships by meeting with senior staff at the International Federation of Catholic Universities and also the Rector of the Institut Catholique de Paris (ICP). I travelled to the University of Verona, one of our longest standing Italian partner universities and met with leading universities and senior government colleagues in Belgium and Germany. We also signed an MoU with the Pontifical Institute for Arabic and Islamic Studies in Rome – the preeminent Catholic institute for studies on relations between Christians and Islam.

In August we hosted the Federal Parliamentary Interfaith Breakfast at the National Press Club in Canberra. The breakfast was attended by around 220 guests, including the Prime Minister, Opposition Leader, Education Minister, the Leader of the Australian Greens and the Apostolic Nuncio to Australia.

And recently, my wife Anne and I had the privilege of meeting with Pope Francis while we were in Rome attending meetings of the Holy See and joining senior Catholic Healthcare executives from Australia who were in Rome to take part in an ACU facilitated seminar of leadership in mission in Catholic healthcare.

Our students also continue to be a source of pride and inspiration for all of us at ACU.

Brisbane psychology student Nathan Pitt, was named the inaugural Francis Xavier Conaci Sholar. The Francis Xavier Conaci Scholarship recognises the life of an extraordinary Indigenous seminarian and enables an Australian Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander student to undertake one of their Core Curriclum Units at the ACU Rome Study Centre.

The inspirational Grace Corcoran became ACU’s first student to win a New Colombo Plan scholarship. This award is the most lucrative and prestigious undergraduate scholarship in the country, and is highly sought after. It will see the Applied Public Health and Global Studies student head to overseas to undertake an internship followed by a semester of studies at the College of Micronesia.

On the sporting field two student athletes from ACU’s Strathfield campus won medals at the Summer Universiade (also known as the World University Games) in Taipei. Kyle Cranston took out the gold medal in the Men’s Decathlon while Alysha Burnett claimed silver in the Women’s Heptathlon.

These are just a few of very many highlights during 2017. Now we have the chance to look forward to a successful, productive 2018 where we will continue our commitment to the pursuit of knowledge, the dignity of the human person and the common good.

Wishing you and your families’ blessings, love and peace this Christmas, and a joyous start to 2018.

Professor Greg Craven AO, GCSG
Vice-Chancellor and President

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