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Tom Calma reappointed as UC Chancellor

Newsroom staff

10 February 2017: Respected human rights campaigner Professor Tom Calma AO will continue in his role as Chancellor of the University of Canberra for another three years.

Professor Calma has held the position since 1 January 2014. He was the first Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander man to become Chancellor of an Australian university.

The 2013 ACT Australian of the Year has been involved with the tertiary education sector since 1980. During this time, he has tirelessly campaigned on health, social justice, inclusion and equality issues.

Vice-Chancellor and President Professor Deep Saini, who shared the announcement with staff and students during Commencement Ceremony this week, said he was thrilled Professor Calma had agreed to continue as Chancellor for a second term.

“Professor Calma is a man of remarkable achievements and his famous words that ‘education is a vaccination against poverty’ ring loud on this campus and beyond,” Professor Saini said.

“He has an amazing commitment to making Australia a healthier, fairer and wealthier nation through education. We are fortunate to have his wisdom at the University of Canberra and I look forward to continue working with him.”

Professor Calma is an Aboriginal elder of the Kungarakan tribal group, a member of the Iwaidja tribal group and a champion for the rights, responsibilities and welfare of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians.

He has been a member of the University Council since October 2008 and was appointed Deputy Chancellor in 2012 before taking over as Chancellor two years later.

Professor Calma was the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner at the Australian Human Rights Commission from 2004 to 2010, and also served as Race Discrimination Commissioner from 2004 until 2009.

His 2005 Social Justice Report laid the foundation for the Close the Gap Campaign; a collaboration of some 40 Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australian health and human rights groups.

On 1 July 2016, he received the Martin Luther King Jr Memorial Flag Award on the 240th anniversary of the United States of America's independence.

Last October, Professor Calma was appointed the inaugural Chair of the Atlantic Fellows for Social Equity program.

Professor Calma’s second term as the University’s Chancellor began on 1 January 2017.