ACU Chancellor receives papal honour

A statement from Vice-Chancellor and President Professor Greg Craven.

I am delighted to announce that Pope Francis has appointed the University’s Chancellor the Honourable John Fahey AC, GCSG to the Pontifical Equestrian Order of St Gregory the Great. Mr Fahey was awarded this honour in recognition of his significant and distinguished services to the Catholic Church in Australia including Australian Catholic University.


Mr Fahey has had a long and distinguished career in the public square, first as Premier of NSW, as Finance Minister in the Howard Federal Government, and internationally as president of the World Anti-Doping Agency. All the while, he has publicly spoken about the important role of faith not only for the Church in Australia, but also for the broader Australian community. He has followed these public proclamations with action. 

During his time as Chancellor the university’s reputation as a Catholic university has been enhanced. Much of this has been due to the personal convictions that Mr Fahey has on the critical role that the university plays in the life of the Church in Australia. This was reflected in 2015 when ACU was awarded the Ex Corde Ecclesiae medal, the highest award of the International Federation of Catholic Universities.

Working closely with the ACU Senate, he has made a significant contribution towards embedding the Catholic identity and mission of ACU as a defining feature of our university and has had a substantial impact on the rise in prominence of the mission within its everyday workings. Under his leadership we have established a campus in Rome and successfully fostered greater ties between the university and our Catholic stakeholders – most notably the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference and Catholic health, education and social service providers.

The Archbishop of Sydney Anthony Fisher OP presided over the installation of Mr Fahey in this ancient Order of Knighthood of the Holy See at an investiture ceremony in Sydney on 8 November. 

The Order of St Gregory the Great was established in 1831. It is bestowed upon Catholic men and women in recognition of their personal service to the Holy See and to the Catholic Church through their work, their support of the Holy See, and their exemplary faith in action in their communities.

On behalf of the ACU community, I proudly congratulate Mr Fahey on receiving this esteemed award.

Professor Greg Craven AO GCSG

Vice-Chancellor and President

* Photo by Alphonsus Fok: Catholic Archdiocese of Sydney

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