Recent Speeches

Southern Cross University Certificate Presentation at Shanghai TV University for December 2010

Address to Graduating Students on the occasion of presentation of certificates by the Chancellor of Southern Cross University, The Hon John Dowd AO QC

Dear Mr President, may I say what a delight it is to be here to be present again with the Vice-Chancellor of Southern Cross University, Professor Peter Lee, to acknowledge the skill and contribution of our graduating students.

Distinguished guests, graduates, students, ladies and gentlemen,

I want to congratulate each of the students today and indeed Shanghai TV University on the quality of their products and I also want to congratulate the family and friends who have supported the students through their long period of study.

Today’s graduating students are now entering a new stage of their education and career. You have all, as graduates, learned skills in analysing problems, gaining knowledge and learned techniques which you will use in your work, your career, your interests and your life. Some of you will already be continuing studies, some of you will do further studies. Some of you will in fact be working, but whatever you will be doing in life, the gaining of knowledge and skills will enhance your life and the lives of those others around you who employ your skills and benefit from them.

Education is a resource and a tool which develops the skills and abilities with which you were born. That education enhances those abilities and will enable you to contribute greatly towards your society, and indeed, for many of you, your nation and for some, the world.

All societies are built on a series of assumptions. Those assumptions often are based on ancient cultural practices, they are also based on religious precepts, they are built up off practical experience over a long time from the most primitive societies to the most sophisticated societies. All societies are slow to change the assumptions of a society but a rapidly moving and changing world, both in terms of ideas and in terms of technology, requires everyone from time to time to sit down and evaluate each society’s assumptions of culture, of direction and of philosophy. Many societies have failed to develop and failed to prosper because those societies have been locked in by assumptions that are no longer valid.

So at every stage of your life and at every stage of your learning, based on the knowledge and experience that you have acquired, you need to look at the assumptions upon which your society is based and change those assumptions which have last relevance.

All nations, including yours, will develop and grow at a faster rate through the education and the enhancement of the talents of its people. Whether you go into the service of your government or industry or in education, all of you will be significant contributors to the nation’s and world’s development.

President John F Kennedy, in a speech to the American University on 10 June 1963, only a few months before his untimely death, said to the graduating students:-

Professor Woodrow Wilson once said that every man sent out from a university should be a man of his nation as well as a man of his time, and I am confident that the men and women who carry the honour of graduating from this institution will continue to give from their lives, from their talents, a high measure of public service and public support.

He was a creature of change and of service to his country. I wish you all in your careers that you will follow the advice of President Wilson and the advice of President Kennedy and contribute to best of your skill and ability.

I wish you all well in your careers and your life.

Return to Recent Speeches