Renowned academic honoured, residence blessed

Tuesday, 31 May 2011

Archbishop Dennis Hart has blessed Drake House during the official opening of Australian Catholic University’s (ACU) newest building, 24 Brunswick Street, Fitzroy.

The property, which marks the beginning of University redevelopment projects in the precinct, was originally named Mon Sejour. Built in 1883 the double story terrace has been restored to provide an office and residence space for the University’s Vice-Chancellor, Professor Greg Craven and offices for other university staff.

“Let this be a house for work, prayer and refreshment,” said His Grace during the blessing of the building.

Drake HouseArchbishop Dennis Hart blessing Drake House.

Drake House is named after the inaugural Vice-Chancellor of the University, Professor Peter Drake. A respected scholar of economics, Professor Drake’s academic appointments include Professor of Economics at the University of New England and Pro Vice-Chancellor and Deputy Vice-Chancellor at the University of Melbourne. Peter was made a Member of the Order of Australia in 2003 for services to education.

Professor Drake’s expertise lies in international economic development. An expert advisor to the governments of Papua New Guinea and Nauru, the World Bank, and Australia's overseas development agencies, he has contributing much to education both in Australia and internationally.

The founding Vice-Chancellor of ACU, Professor Drake served in the position from 1991 until 1998. Professor Drake saw that academic structures put into place were cohesive and unified and it was under his leadership that on 17 June, 1996 ACU became a fully accredited and independent member of the Unified National System of Higher Education.

Chancellor of ACU, General Peter Cosgrove explained the huge importance of the building.

“It is important for Melbourne, but it is important in the future life of Catholic learning at this higher level here in Australia.”

“It’s got beauty and significance and it is now the centre point of the University activities in Melbourne and I think it is a wonderful addition to the way we think of ACU in Melbourne.”

Professor Drake thanked the University for the recognition of his service.

“In its 21st year Australian Catholic University can justly claim to be a true university of recognised standard. The passage of time has proved that it is indeed a single, integrated, independent, public institution that it one and the same truly Australian, truly Catholic and truly University.”

“It is a great honour that you do to me and I am most pleased and very grateful.”