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Vice-Chancellor Dewar enlightening for Keith Jones Oration
Published: Thursday, 21 June 2012
This year’s Keith Jones Oration was delivered by the Vice-Chancellor of La Trobe University, Professor John Dewar. In an enlightening presentation to senior students, and in the presence of several VIP's, Professor Dewar began by focusing his message towards Year 12’s, advising them they are currently living the best days of their lives.
He paid credit to Keith Jones, who for 27 years as Headmaster showed stability and loyalty and noted that his influence has left a mark.
Professor Dewar said that passion stimulates intense study and stimulation of knowledge -a mathematician sees the beauty in numbers; a novelist sees the beauty in literature; lawyers have a passion for justice.
He said a great amount of focus is put on getting the perfect score - challenging our Year 12s to rethink their definition of perfection.
He encouraged students to ask themselves – ‘how lasting is your input for our society and community?’. “It’s important to be a success but it is also important to stand for something and have ideas, be interesting. An important question all educated people need to be asked is ‘what do you have to say?’”
Professor Dewar observed that we create intense pressure and it is under this pressure that students make their course choices. Have we got it wrong?
He advised students to think carefully about course choices - don’t allow yourself to take on a romantic view when making your choice. Is it the career you really want? Follow your passion. What do you really want?
He reflected that we are creating too much pressure, too much competition - choices are being made out of obligation rather than choice. He said perfection is impossible. Our flaws are what make us who we really are. Don’t worry and allow yourself to enjoy your education!
Professor Dewar also spoke about the University at which he is Vice Chancellor – La Trobe. It remains a university which values more than rankings with other criteria considered important. He noted past La Trobe graduates, such as Tim Flannery and Don Watson, who had something to say.
He said that students at La Trobe must address and think about the world, how it is changing and equip themselves to make a difference. Hallmark areas La Trobe is going to be focusing on include food security, human health and disease, water and sustainability and work readiness.
La Trobe have announced some exciting scholarships and students were encouraged to visit the website for more details.
Finally, students were encouraged to:
- Cast a wider net when considering their future.
- Not allow distance to discourage them.
- Think deeply about what they want to study.
- Don’t base your course selections on how much money you may make.
- If the course interests you, it will lead to exciting new paths and give you something to say.
Mentone Grammar is most grateful to Professor Dewar for his time in preparing and presenting a thought provoking message for our students.
The Keith Jones Oration is held annually to commemorate this former Mentone Grammar Headmaster from 1961-1987, who had a passion for public speaking, and to recognise his enormous contribution to the School and education in general.