Former Victorian Premier John Brumby has strong ties to Bendigo.
He started off his career as a teacher at Eaglehawk Secondary College and moved into parliament as the Federal Member for the region during the 1980s.
It was during his time in federal politics that Mr Brumby helped establish La Trobe University in Bendigo when it replaced the old Bendigo College of Advanced Education.
Now 26 years later, Mr Brumby said his new role as chancellor of La Trobe University was a "bit of a homecoming".
"I've taken it on because I'm a great believer in university and the power of education," he said. "La Trobe has got an extraordinary and exciting future.
"We've had a great 52 years but another great 50 still ahead."
Mr Brumby was formally installed as chancellor during a ceremony at Bendigo's Ulumbarra Theatre on Friday. He was lauded for his long and extensive career servicing the community.
"John Brumby has seen first hand how education not only gives people knowledge but empowers and inspires them especially in regional Victoria," La Trobe Vice-Chancellor Professor John Dewar said.
"We warmly welcome the appointment of Mr Brumby to the position of chancellor and we look forward to working with him as the university continues to serve our communities across Victoria."
Mr Brumby was Premier of Victoria from 2007-2010. He was also the Treasurer of the state between 2000-2007.
He has served as the director and chairman on a range of boards and was a joint vice-chancellor of Monash and Melbourne universities.
It was that service that saw him honoured with an Order of Australia in 2017.
He was recognised for distinguished service to the Parliament of Victoria, to economic management and medical biotechnology innovation, to improved rural and regional infrastructure, and to the community.
Mr Brumby said he wanted to continue that service during his tenure as chancellor. He said a key focus would be strengthening La Trobe's strong ties to regional Victoria.
"La Trobe plays such an important role in places like Bendigo, Shepparton, Mildura, and Albury-Wodonga," he said. "We create pathways and real opportunities in the regions.
"Our regional campuses have a high proportion of women, people who are the first in their family to go to university, Indigenous people and mature-age students.
"I would certainly like to see more of those enrolments and growth in the future.
"A large part of that is in federal government funding. We need more support to increase participation."
Mr Brumby said there would also be a focus on expanding the Bundoora campus in Melbourne's north.
"We want to make it the university city of the future," he said. "There's a large parcel of land there that we will be developing over the next 10 years.
"It can be a major driver of economic development in the north."
Mr Brumby is also the chair of the Oliver Newton John Cancer Research Institute and the Fred Hollows Foundation.
He said La Trobe is already a leader in medical and scientific research, but he wanted to ensure that passion remains strong.
"We want to continue to grow that area in the future, whether it's in health or agricultural biology, or the digital economy and cyber security," he said.
"There are so many areas where La Trobe is doing very well but we also want to do better in the future."
Mr Brumby is currently serving as the national president of the Australia China Business Council.
He said he wanted to ensure La Trobe University continued to be a go-to destination for international students.
"La Trobe has many students from overseas," he said. "We want to keep those students coming because those links are important.
"They build networks and friendships. It's a real economic opportunity for Victoria going forward."
Mr Brumby said La Trobe has built its foundations around the community. He said that would be part of the focus going forward.
"La Trobe is very much engaged with the community around it," he said. "I want to be part of those communities, for example I will be coming to Bendigo for the graduations later this year."
"Education is the gateway to opportunity. It can be transformative and it can lift up lives and lift up communities. I certainly want to see more of that in the future."
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