Building dedication ceremony honours former Vice-Chancellor
“I am deeply honoured but also extremely humbled,” former Vice-Chancellor Emeritus Professor Gerard Sutton told guests attending a building dedication ceremony in his honour on Friday evening (August 17).
Emeritus Professor Sutton left an indelible imprint on the University of Wollongong in his 21 years at the University including almost 17 years as Vice-Chancellor from 1995-2011.
Among his significant achievements was championing the development, approval and establishment of the Illawarra Health and Medical Research Institute (IHMRI) which opened in 2010 in a $30 million state-of the-art building.
The University Council decided to recognise Emeritus Professor Sutton’s pivotal role in IHMRI’s development by naming IHMRI’s headquarters the Gerard Sutton Building.
IHMRI is the product of Emeritus Professor Sutton’s vision to improve the health outcomes in the Illawarra community by maximising and growing health and medical research funding in the region and building research capacity at the University, among the region’s clinicians and within the area health service.
During the dedication ceremony there was an unveiling of a portrait of Emeritus Professor Sutton painted by nationally-acclaimed portrait artist Mathew Lynn.
Welcoming guests to the event Vice-Chancellor Professor Paul Wellings said he admired deeply the things that you (Emeritus Professor Sutton) have done at the University referring to the transformation of the main campus and the Innovation Campus as a “monumental achievement”.
Professor Wellings said he could not think of a more fitting tribute than the building dedication ceremony taking place as Emeritus Professor Sutton had a real passion for improving the delivery of health services in the region.
The Chancellor, Ms Jillian Broadbent, performed the official dedication of the building and portrait unveiling saying it was “my absolute pleasure to be here on behalf of Council”.
She acknowledged Emeritus Professor Sutton’s pivotal roles in having IHMRI and the Graduate School of Medicine established.
With his wife, Sylvia, and other members of his family watching on Emeritus Professor Sutton said he had been given a great honour by the University of Wollongong.
“I am deeply honoured but also extremely humbled because once a building is named after you the building remains well past my lifetime,” he said.
“And it’s a great delight to me that it’s the IHMRI building as it is a building that links the University with the entire city.”
Emeritus Professor Sutton said there were a number of people who helped see IHMRI come to fruition and their names could also be on this building. He made particular reference to the foresight of the Pro Vice-Chancellor (Health) Professor Don Iverson.
And he highlighted how the then Minister for the Illawarra and now Director of the Innovation Campus, David Campbell, lobbied the then Premier, Morris Iemma, to gain funding for the building.
Emeritus Professor Sutton also praised the work of the man who painted his portrait saying Mathew Lynn is a true professional and an outstanding artist.
Last December, the University of Wollongong conferred an Honorary Doctorate of Science on the retiring Vice-Chancellor and admitted him as an Emeritus Professor. Professor Sutton has already received national recognition with the awards of Officer of the Order of Australia and the Australian Centenary Medal.
Guests at Friday’s ceremony included the present UOW Chancellor, Ms Jillian Broadbent; former Chancellor, Mr Mike Codd; Vice-Chancellor, Professor Paul Wellings; Federal Member for Throsby, Stephen Jones; State Member for Heathcote, Lee Evans; State Member for Keira, Ryan Park; State Member for Kiama, Gareth Ward; Lord Mayor of Wollongong, Gordon Bradbery; and the Catholic Bishop of Wollongong, Peter Ingham.