The importance of tertiary education in Bendigo was highlighted on Thursday when Ulumbarra hosted the installation of La Trobe University’s new chancellor.
Professor Richard Larkins was installed in a the ceremony presided over by Governor of Victoria Linda Dessau.
In its 50-year history, professor Larkins is the seventh chancellor at La Trobe.
I wanted to have the ceremony at a regional campus to show that La Trobe values the regional campuses as something very special.Richard Larkins
He has long believed in providing tertiary education to regional and rural areas and to people who “might otherwise not be able to attend university”.
“It is something I have believed in for a long time and one of the reasons I am pleased to be coming to La Trobe,” he said.
“I wanted to have the ceremony at a regional campus to show that La Trobe values the regional campuses as something very special.
“I think it is clear La Trobe provides opportunities for students that wouldn't otherwise be able to go to university.”
Sitting on the stage and hearing other academics speak so highly of him, professor Larkins said it was a very humbling process.
“It is a very great privilege obviously but you are sitting there thinking ‘how unreal is this?’ It is all a bit strange,” he said.
Professor Larkins was selected by the La Troby university council.
“It’s a wonderful job but one that is very complex,” he said.
“One role is chairing the council with all the financial and fiduciary responsibilities. The second is more ceremonial where you preside over events that are relevant to the university.
“Universities are big operations now. La Trobe has a budget of about $800 million as well as 3000 staff and 36,000 students.
“It's big business that needs to be working properly.”
Professor Larkins took over the role of chancellor from Adrienne Clarke.
Chancellor believes La Trobe can get stronger
New La Trobe University chancellor Richard Larkins believes the 50-year educational institution will continue to strengthen.
“La Trobe is going to get stronger and stronger – the research trajectory is amazing,” he said.
“It has an opportunity to carve out a special area as one of the best research universities in the world.”
During his speech at the installation ceremony, professor Larkins highlighted the research being undertaken by La Trobe students in the field of agricultural bio-technology.
“That is one area where there is an opportunity but there are many others that have outstanding credentials,” he said.
“La Trobe has improved its research performance dramatically. It will go from strength to strength.
“I hope everyone feels the excitement that I do in La Trobe’s 50th year.”
Professor Larkins is the university’s seventh chancellor. His 95-year-old mother Peg Lusink, who was Victoria’s first female judge on the Family Court of Australia, also attended the ceremony.