Statement by Professor Mary O'Kane

Monday, 6 August 2001

It is with considerable sadness that I have decided to tender my resignation as Vice-Chancellor of Adelaide University.

As the Chancellor indicated in his statement, this decision is my own and is, I believe, consistent with my determination over the period that I was Vice-Chancellor to see the University flourish and grow strongly.

Adelaide is one of Australia's great universities and it has the potential to become an even more significant university within the region of which Australia is part. Being part of realising that potential over the past five years has been both a challenge and a privilege. The challenge has been to bring about the change necessary to position the University for growth at a time of reduced funding and consequent pressure to generate significant new sources of income. The privilege has been the opportunity to work closely with a number of outstanding individuals within the University community, and to be part of assisting young Australians to achieve their goals and ambitions.

Inevitably the challenge of change brings with it the requirement to see through often difficult and unpopular decisions. This is a situation which I have always accepted, in line with my responsibility to work with the University's Council to implement the strategic and operational plans which had been agreed. It is in the interests of the University that this process of change does not stop. Indeed, if Adelaide is fully to achieve its potential it is more likely that the pace of change will need to increase. I accept that I have moved the process as far as I am able and that it will need a new Vice-Chancellor to win support for the next step. I would like to thank all within the University who have supported me over the past seven and a half years at Adelaide. I also want to thank all of those in the wider community of South Australia, in Australian and international higher education, and in the Australian and international research and development networks with whom I have been associated.

I am proud of what has been achieved during my time at Adelaide. The Chancellor has referred to our record in research and our education capacity, the Santos sponsorship of the Petroleum Engineering School, the successful commercial floats and the development of new fiscal and administrative structures. For my own part I believe that the range of partnerships which were developed over the past five years provide a framework which will return significant dividends in years to come. I am also confident that I leave the University financially and administratively sound, well placed to face the task ahead. I wish all within the University well.


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