Uniting Church minister, ethicist and theologian Professor Rufus Black has been appointed the Vice-Chancellor and President of the University of Tasmania.
It will be the latest addition to a breathtakingly varied and accomplished CV in academia, law, the private and public sectors.
Prof Black, a Rhodes Scholar who studied moral theology at Oxford University and also has degrees in law and politics, revealed in a Melbourne University alumni profile that he had dyslexia.
“I’ve been really lucky, along the way, to have had inspiring teachers and mentors who believed in me and encouraged me. [dyslexia] never got in the way,” he said.
Prof Black will relinquish his current role as master of the University of Melbourne’s Ormond College and a number of other appointments to take up the new job in March.
He was previously chaplain at the college and taught ethics in the University of Divinity’s United Faculty of Theology.
Prof Black told the Fairfax press in 2011 that as a student he had become dissatisfied with areas of study, such as economics, that didn’t address societal moral concerns.
”How do we organise ourselves to enhance our sense of community, to provide support and care for one another that we couldn’t provide if we were only atomised individuals,” he said.
During the period of Julia Gillard’s prime ministership Prof Black authored two high profile reviews in Australia’s defence and intelligence communities.
He has also worked as a partner in global business consultancy McKinsey and is a director of a director of law firm Corr Chambers Westgarth.
University Chancellor Michael Field said Prof Black stood out among a quality international field for the position.
“He demonstrated a rare mix of high intellect, academic standing and commercial experience that we feel will be necessary to lead a period of cultural transformation here,” Mr Field said.
A co-founder of the university’s Wade Institute for Entrepreneurship, Prof Black is also a director of the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute for Medical Research and president of the Museums Board of Victoria.
Prof Black said he was excited by the promise which lay within the relationship between the university and its island state.
“There is an emerging vision of the future and I’m very keen to explore how we harness the collective energy and insight of those within our university – along with the broader community – in bringing that vision to reality,” he said.
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