ACU (Australian Catholic University)


Issue 8, Autumn 2013


General Cosgrove awarded Papal Knighthood

The Chancellor of ACU, General Peter Cosgrove, has been bestowed with the honour of the Knight of the Grand Cross in the Order of St Gregory the Great, by His Holiness Pope Emeritus, Pope Benedict XVI.

General Cosgrove was especially selected to receive The Honour of Knight of the Grand Cross in the Order of St Gregory the Great for his distinguished services to the Church in the Archdiocese of Sydney.

His Eminence Cardinal George Pell bestowed the honour upon General Cosgrove at a formal ceremony at Cathedral House in Sydney.

He was invested with the insignia of the Knight of the Grand Cross in the Order of St Gregory the Great and presented with the formal citation.

General Cosgrove said that to receive the honour was a great privilege and, “I could not be more pleased and humbled by this”.
The Papal Order of Saint Gregory is one of five orders of knighthood of the Holy See, with four classes in military and civilian divisions.

It was originally founded by Pope Gregory XVI in 1831 and is awarded to acknowledge an individual’s meritorious services to the church. The Grand Cross is the highest papal rank awarded to an Australian. General Cosgrove is the first Australian to receive the honour since Arthur Calwell.

From Latino heart-throb to Hollywood missionary

Actor, singer, model and film producer, Eduardo Verástegui, visited Australia recently to tell his story and to launch his latest film. Visiting each of ACU’s campuses, Eduardo shared his journey from fame to faith.

Born and raised in northern Mexico, Eduardo left home for Mexico City when he was 18-years-old to pursue a career in entertainment.

Modelling for Versace and Calvin Klein, he began acting in Mexican soap operas and appeared in several Spanish speaking movies and music videos including Jennifer Lopez’s Ain’t It Funny. In 2003 he landing the lead role of Thomas Fuentes in Twentieth Century Fox’s film Chasing Papi.

After Chasing Papi, Eduardo made the conscious decision to move away from his heart-throb image and concentrate on film roles which respect both men and women.

“I had 12 years of a successful career under my belt, but I only experienced emptiness, lies and illusions until now,” he said.

Turning down roles in movies which conflicted with his beliefs he co-founded the production company Metanoia Films. His first feature film, Bella, which he produced and starred in, won the 2006 Toronto International Film Festival’s People’s Choice Award. The following year, the Smithsonian Museum honoured Eduardo with the Legacy Award in recognition of his positive contributions toward the Latin community within the United States.

Eduardo’s next project as producer Little Boy is a World War II drama, starring David Henrie, Emily Watson, Tom Wilkinson and Kevin James. 

New literature prize to support Australian poetry

ACU will support the inaugural ACU Prize for Literature in 2013.

The ACU Prize for Literature aims to support writers and to continue the tradition of the Catholic Church as a key patron of the arts. The prize, which will open in late April, will award $7000 to the poet who best conveys the nominated theme.

As explained by Richard Kearney, the poetic imagination seeks to draw out the “sacramental in the sensible”, to retrieve “the divine at the very heart of the least of things”. In this spirit the theme for the prize in 2013 is everyday immanence.

Poet, author and academic Professor Kevin Hart will judge the competition. Renowned for his books on philosophy, theology, literary criticism, and several acclaimed collections of poetry, Professor Hart is at present the Edwin B. Kyle Chair of Christian Studies in the Department of Religious Studies at the University of Virginia, holds the Eric D’Arcy Chair of Philosophy, and is Director of the Centre for Philosophy and Phenomenology of Religion at ACU. As a poet of international reputation, his latest collection is entitled Morning Knowledge.
The poetry competition is seeking entries from Australian poets, including any international student currently studying at an Australian university. Entered poems must be unpublished (including on any website or blog), must not have won any other competition, and must not be under consideration by any publisher, literary journal or for any other prize. The closing date for entries is Monday 30 June and the winning, commended and shortlisted poems will be announced in August 2013.

It is made possible by the support of the University, particularly the department of Identity and Mission and the Faculty of Arts and Sciences.

For more information contact Carmel Taffa,


Dr Stephen Weller

Dr Stephen Weller has been appointed Chief Operating Officer (COO) and Deputy Vice‐ Chancellor (Administration) at Australian Catholic University (ACU).

Dr Weller joins ACU from James Cook University where he was Deputy Vice‐ Chancellor (University Services) and Head of the Cairns Campus.

With more than 20 years’ experience in tertiary education across five universities in three states, Dr Weller brings a wealth of experience to ACU. He holds a PhD in Organisational Justice from Victoria University, a Master of Business Administration from the University of Technology, Sydney, a Master of Commerce, Employment Relations from the University of Western Sydney, and a Bachelor of Arts, Government and Public Administration from the University of Sydney.

He replaces outgoing COO John Cameron, who is retiring after almost 40 years in higher education administration.

Professor Claire Wyatt-Smith

Professor Claire Wyatt-Smith has been appointed to the position of Executive Dean, Faculty of Education. Professor Wyatt-Smith comes to ACU with a distinguished scholarly background and publication track record in education, most recently at Griffith University.

Widely recognised for her expertise in education – particularly in regard to literacy and assessment – Professor Wyatt-Smith has attracted substantial national competitive grant funding and government-funded research consultancies. Through research studies and partnerships she has generated new conceptual and applied knowledge that has influenced literacy education assessment and related curriculum policy directions, including provision for students with learning difficulties.

She replaces Professor Marie Emmitt who will be Executive Dean of the Faculty until 2 September 2013. Professor Emmitt will continue as a Professor of the University until 31 December 2014. In this time she will re-engage with her academic discipline of language and literacy education by revising her language and learning textbook. Professor Emmitt will also explore research in Catholic identity and teacher education. 

Professor Wayne McKenna

Professor Wayne McKenna has been appointed Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research) at ACU.

He joins ACU from the University of Western Sydney where he was the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic and Research).
Professor McKenna holds a Bachelor of Arts (Honours) in English and a PhD from the University of Leeds, UK. His recent research interests include the impact of the digital age on the humanities.

He replaces Professor Thomas Martin who retired at the end of 2012.

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