From Dougal Doubtfire

The Chancellor remarked that the VC has had more farewells than Nellie Melba or Johnny Farnham. But then, as he also said, this is Jan’s University. So, to celebrate her impending departure, we were bidden to be fed and watered in the new Pavilion restaurant.  Apparently, however, they had some difficulty in rounding up the troops. First the invitation went to the Professors and Senior Managers, then to the Associate Professors, then to spouses and partners, and finally on the night there were tables of students to make up the numbers. But it must be said that the new Pavilion scrubs up well, the food and service was excellent, as long as you can fend off the attacks from mosquitoes, and Scott Christensen was a capable Master of Ceremonies. Many, I’m sure, would have hoped that Andrew Cheetham would have been given that role. Andrew’s MC approach of ‘opening mouth and inserting foot’ has enlivened many an otherwise dull UWS event. We wish him all the very best for his retirement next year. The speeches of course were the highlight. I am not sure it was wise to give the Chancellor two speaking slots given his ribald and colourful remarks to an earlier professoriate dinner (that raised ire and eyebrows). So the organizers took a risk in wheeling him out again. True to form, instead of amplifying the V.C’s virtues, he spruiked the official history of UWS ($40 paperback, $55 hard cover). The VC had earlier noted that it is beautifully illustrated and ‘most of the photos are about me!’. The second part of the Chancellor’s speech again departed from the script and focused on his own achievements rather than those of the VC. Apparently he was once a member of a little-known pop band alleged to have drawn larger crowds than a rival band by the name of the Moody Blues. While there are no extant recordings of the Chancellor’s band, there was an an appropriate Moody Blues song  “Go Now” that was then played for the audience. Not sure what the VC made of all this. I am sure she was even more puzzled with the gift the Chancellor gave her – a photo of his former band. Her speech was puzzling, with tongue in cheek claims that she taught the CFO about balance sheets and ledgers, the media unit about brand and ….. . Like most UWS events there was plenty to gossip about at the end.

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