Prominent and well-respected businessman Gary Smith has been installed as Murdoch University’s seventh Chancellor.His investiture was attended by around 300 staff, leaders from other universities, government officials and community leaders. Among the dignitaries was His Excellency, The Honourable Kim Beazley, AC, Governor of Western Australia who officiated the ceremony.
Mr Gary Smith succeeds Mr David Flanagan, who stepped down from the role after two terms.
“I am truly honoured and humbled to have the opportunity to serve Murdoch University as its seventh Chancellor and follow in the footsteps of respected Western Australian leaders like Geoffrey Bolton and Fred Chaney,” he said.
“I am a big believer in the benefits of higher education and in creating opportunities for people to pursue their ambitions right here in Western Australia in a way that still has a global impact.”
The investiture included an academic procession of delegates from other universities, as well as Murdoch’s own community. Those in the procession wore the colourful regalia of their institution.
Mr Smith is a highly regarded business leader known for his extensive leadership experience. Through his role as Co-chair of Reconciliation WA, he has forged a reputation for his commitment and advocacy for reconciliation between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal Western Australians. He is also a current Director of the WA Aboriginal Leadership Institute (WAALI), a Founding Director of The Committee for Perth and a participant in the Hawaiian Ride for Youth.
Earlier this year, Mr Smith retired from accounting and advisory firm KPMG, after leading its Western Australian business for the past seven years. With extensive national and global networks, Mr Smith’s strategic focus will help steer Murdoch to deliver its bold and ambitious agenda, which includes world class research projects and new infrastructure projects, as well as innovative teaching and learning initiatives.
Mr Smith told the audience he was in awe of the calibre of Murdoch's teaching and professional staff who have created the University's capability.
Today, we stand on past shoulders who have achieved much, and I know we will all pay it forward in a similar manner," Mr Smith said."In this way, and in this often difficult and complex sector, Murdoch University has forged a pathway that we can be proud of.
"The rapidly developing focus on what I have been calling “the value chain of a life” is seeing us create strong future credentials around our life necessities – food, environment and our health. "
“Mr Smith’s dual passions for education and reconciliation reflect Murdoch’s commitment to providing high quality learning and opportunities to people from all backgrounds.
“His excellent experience in directing strategic development and identifying business opportunities and relationships on a national and global level will complement Murdoch’s vision as it seeks to further build its reach and impact across the world, especially in the build up to the University’s 50th anniversary in 2024.”
Respected elder and friend of Murdoch University Dr Richard Walley, who performed the Welcome to Country, presented Mr Smith with a message stick, telling the audience Mr Smith was the first person to receive the message stick who had not been a recipient of the Western Australian of the Year award.