Flinders pays tribute to its first Vice-Chancellor

Flinders University’s flags are flying at half-mast in a tribute to the University’s founding visionary and first Vice-Chancellor, Professor Peter Karmel AC, CBE.

Professor Karmel, who died in Canberra on December 30 at the age of 86, was a 39-year old professor of economics when he was put in charge of a project to set up a southern suburbs campus of the University of Adelaide at Bedford Park in 1961. Professor Karmel oversaw the planning and establishment of both the physical and academic structures of the new campus. When Flinders was made an independent institution in 1966, he became the University’s first Vice-Chancellor, a post he held until 1971.

The University’s Chancellor, Sir Eric Neal, said Professor Karmel excelled in the role, blending incisiveness and energy with consultation.

“His driving idea was to broaden student experience and opportunities,” Sir Eric said.

“His self-proclaimed vision – to experiment bravely – set the University on a path which we are still travelling today.

“As Vice-Chancellor of Flinders, the Australian National University and in leading roles on national tertiary education bodies, Professor Karmel exerted a major influence on the development of education in Australia.

“The development of public policy in Australia in areas including education, health and the social sciences benefited greatly from his acumen and enthusiasm. Professor Karmel has left an enduring legacy.”

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