ACU Welcomes Ramsay Scholars

ACU celebrated the success of the first year of its Western Civilisation program and welcomed the 2022 ACU Ramsay Scholars in a special event last week.

After launching the program with 14 students last year, the Bachelor of Western Civilisation this year has 26 Ramsay scholars enrolled, plus one non-scholarship student.

The Bachelor of Arts (Western Civilisation), also available in combination with a Bachelor of Laws, offers ambitious students a broad understanding of Western literature, philosophy, art, politics, religion, science and history, and a deep appreciation of the ways in which these traditions (in dialogue with other cultures) have helped to shape the modern world.

The Ramsay Centre funds scholarships valued at up to $150,000 for up to five years to support students enrolled in the course.

Vice-Chancellor Professor Zlatko Skrbis said Ramsay Scholars are future leaders.

“They are bright minds, committed to the enrichment of society, and the promotion of the common good. In their pursuit of these endeavours, they demonstrate a passion for a deep engagement with the ideas and questions that have shaped Western civilisation. 

“We wish them well as they embark upon their respective journeys through the past, present and future of Western intellectual life.”

Ramsay Centre CEO Professor Simon Haines noted ACU was one of only three Australian universities offering the Western Civilisation course, where students can “experience 2500 years of profound thinking about the human condition laid out in front of you in just three or four.”

“We hope this unique degree will bring much-needed reform to the whole humanities sector, but we especially hope it will be transformative for this University and its teaching and learning profile. Above all we think it will be life-changing for you the scholars,” he said.

“By slowly reading and absorbing and discussing the Iliad or Frankenstein, Machiavelli or Shakespeare, Picasso or Caravaggio, Austen or Sappho, and doing this over a sustained period in the company of a small group of fellow scholars and teachers, you will learn to speak up confidently, to be argumentative in the best sense, above all not to accept the present era’s frighteningly complacent and conformist view of itself, but to push back, to become your own person. In a nutshell, this degree is not meant to make you smart: it’s meant to make you wise.”

Director of Ramsay Program in Western Civilisation Professor Robert Carver welcomed the new students, as well as all those who have worked to make the program possible. 

“It is wonderful to see that so many of you have made it safely here today – undaunted by Pestilence, undeterred by Tempest. The fact that we find ourselves here, now, in the same place, at the same time (dampened, perhaps, but undimmed), is the consequence, I suggest, of the intersection of two of the most powerful forces in the Cosmos: Love and Truth: Love of family; love of learning; a belief in (or desire for), some kind of transcendence (some plane of being, beyond the mundane and the quotidian); and an awareness that our future, both as a society and as a species, depends upon a sustained, and open-minded engagement with the distant and global past, in particular, with its textual artefacts and monuments, the Especially Significant Books that form our focus of study in the BA (Western Civilisation).”

Learn more about enrolling in the Bachelor of Arts (Western Civilisation).

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