Dame Roma "one of the great University Chancellors"

Sunday, 5 March 2000

Dame Roma Mitchell will be remembered as one of the greatest Chancellors in Adelaide University's 126-year history, the University's Vice-Chancellor Professor Mary O'Kane said today.

Paying tribute to a woman she called "a truly inspirational figure", Professor O'Kane said Dame Roma had made an enormous contribution to Australian life.

"Her pioneering achievements, her personal integrity and her commitment to public service made her a role model for many Australians.

"She represented change. The memory of her spirit and energy will continue to inspire those working to achieve her vision of a better and fairer society. She cared passionately about education and was a true friend to Adelaide University. I also admired her immensely on a personal level and will always be grateful for the encouragement and advice she gave me.

"Her association with Adelaide University extended over more than 60 years. She contributed significantly as a student, a lecturer, a member of the University Council and as Chancellor (1983-90).

"After she resigned as Chancellor to become Governor, she continued to maintain a deep interest in the University's affairs. She visited frequently for seminars and conferences and, in more recent years, was a founding trustee of the University's Don Dunstan Foundation."

Dame Roma graduated from Adelaide University with a Law degree in 1934. In 1960 she became a part time Lecturer in Matrimonial and Family Law in the Faculty of Law and taught in that capacity for five years. She became a member of the University Council in 1965 and was Senior Deputy Chancellor for 11 years, from 1972 until her appointment as Chancellor in 1983. (She succeeded the Hon. Dr John Bray who had occupied the position for 15 years).

She was the first woman to hold the post of Chancellor in an Australian university. She began a second five year term in 1988 but resigned when she took up her appointment as Governor in January 1991.

In 1985 she was awarded the degree of Doctor of the University for her distinguished service to the University.

 

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