Charles Darwin University’s award-winning history author Professor Alan Powell has accepted an invitation to be guest speaker at a prestigious graduation ceremony in Brisbane next week (14 Dec).
Guests and graduands of the University of Queensland (UQ) will hear Professor Powell speak of the enduring spirit that surfaced among the people of Darwin in the aftermath of Cyclone Tracy 37 years ago.
“I haven’t finalised what I’ll say, but I’ll draw from my experiences in life and of examples I’ve seen of personal courage and of how the human spirit has risen to overcome great challenges,” he said.
Professor Powell will also reflect on the support that the University of Queensland provided CDU’s precursor, the University College of the NT, in the 1980s.
“They provided governance, guidance and academic support that was fundamental to the University College of the NT’s development into NT University and ultimately CDU.”
The ceremony will recognise graduands from UQ’s Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences, Faculty of Arts and Faculty of Business, Economics and Law.
Professor Powell said the invitation from acting Vice-Chancellor Michael Keniger was “a considerable honour”.
“He asked me to share my wealth of experience and vision and since I’ve worked in factories, small business and in bush survey parties I’ve interpreted that as a signal to speak beyond the usual exhortations to graduands.”
Professor Powell won the Queensland Premier’s literary award this year for Northern Voyagers: Australia’s monsoon coast in maritime history. The $15,000 prize was supported by the University of Queensland’s Faculty of Arts.