From the Vice Chancellor

Professor David Lloyd, Vice Chancellor and President

I know there are some of you who secretly suspect that, in becoming Australia’s University of Enterprise, UniSA was paying overt tribute to the greatest of all sci-fi classics, Star Trek, a genre that informed my early years as I imagined a future of travelling at warp factor 9 exploring the galaxy and going boldly.

But I digress. Apart from roving around the planet as a peripatetic drug researching academic and meeting strange new life forms in the guise of some staff members who march to their own drum, it was really my dream to bring tertiary education and industry together, combining academic and industrial talents and expertise to effect real change. And if that was informed by my early exposure to a well-written and wonderfully balanced storyline (albeit with cutting edge 1960s cardboard sets) that encompassed a serious discussion of contemporary societal issues in a futuristic context, then so be it.

The tone of optimism, endeavour and pervasive humanism in Star Trek resonated with me and how I wanted things to be. To explore. To seek out the new. Going where no one has gone before.

To stretch the analogy to its elastic limit, our starship Enterprise, UniSA, is launching almost 1700 new graduates into their new lives later this month. They’ll be seeking out new life and new civilisations of their own but going where plenty of them have gone before. The day they graduate is one of the greatest days in a student’s life. It’s one of the greatest days of our lives as UniSA staff too, as students and their university cap off years of hard work in a celebration that involves all the people who have cared for and supported them through their studies. From 27 to 29 September, in eight ceremonies, our best academics along with their graduating students and their friends and family, will come together to celebrate their achievements. And because these days are celebrations of achievements and excellence, we like to single out high achievers in different fields to celebrate with them.

If ever you had thought of devoting a day to making a difference, then helping out the graduations team at Student and Academic Services in the September round of graduations may be just the ticket for you. Across those three days we are welcoming to UniSA and honouring the incredible achievements of Australia’s Chief Defence Scientist, Professor Tanya Monro, UniSA’s most generous benefactor Andrew Pridham (who will receive his honorary doctorate in the hall that bears his name), Australian artist Geoffrey Wilson who painted quintessentially South Australian landscapes (and learned and taught at our South Australian School of Art), working class man and one of the most popular and best-selling Australian music artists of all time – one Jimmy Barnes and, to bring us back to where all this started, the inimitable, iconic actor, social justice activist, social media mega-power and New York Times bestselling author, George Takei.

George is of course best known for his portrayal of helmsman Hikaru Sulu in the television and film series of the original Star Trek. Although most famous for his role as Sulu, and for inspiring a then-much-younger future Vice Chancellor of South Australia’s boldest university, George Takei’s acting career has spanned six decades, with more than 40 feature films and hundreds of television guest-starring roles to his credit. Now a community activist, he has been awarded some monumental recognition over the years for his passionate advocacy of social causes. He even has had an asteroid between Mars and Jupiter named in his honour – 7307 Takei – for his role in Star Trek and for his work for the Japanese American Citizens League and the Human Rights Campaign.

George will soon be here to hold a public lecture at the Hawke, hold a master class for students, and attend the official dedication of our new Enterprise Hub. The deliciously sweet irony of the helmsman of the USS Enterprise launching our own Enterprise just tickles me pink.

UniSA. Boldly going once again. Love it.

Professor David Lloyd
Vice Chancellor and President