AALD Board Member and James Cook University Vice Chancellor, Professor Sandra Harding has been appointed an Officer in the General Division of the Order of Australia in the Australia Day 2019 honours list.
Professor Harding has been recognised for her distinguished service to education at the national and international level, and to the community of Queensland.
JCU Chancellor Bill Tweddell has congratulated Professor Harding, and said she is an exceptional leader and role model whose many achievements are an inspiration, particularly for women but for all Australians.
“To all that she undertakes, Professor Harding brings not just professional skills of the very highest order but also outstanding personal attributes: exemplary ethical standards and integrity, and highly developed leadership and management skills.
“For these reasons, she has been chosen to fill numerous high-level positions at regional, state, and federal levels.”
“Professor Harding has been a consistent and emphatic advocate of the importance and great potential of northern Australia in the Tropics and beyond. Perhaps her most eminent achievement was her initiative to establish the State of the Tropics project, which has resulted in the United Nations declaring an International Day of the Tropics.
“Under Professor Harding’s stewardship, JCU has risen to be in the top 2 per cent of universities worldwide. She carries her erudition and achievements lightly: a modest person, as the saying goes, with little to be modest about,” Bill Tweddell said.
Former JCU Chancellor John Grey, who hand-picked Professor Harding for the role, says her reputation for integrity, calm demeanour, management skills, and academic achievements has led to a wide range of appointments beyond her role as a Vice Chancellor.
“Her leadership and finely-honed management of the University is inspirational, combining her passion for the region and the betterment of its people through reconciliation and education.”
Professor Harding said she is most grateful to have received the award. “It’s testimony to the good fortune I have had working with so many outstanding colleagues and friends over the years and the work they do.”
“I’d highlight John Grey in particular who, with the University Council, gave me the opportunity to take up the appointment as JCU’s Vice Chancellor.
“I’d also like to sincerely thank all those at JCU – past and present – as well as the broader northern Queensland community, colleagues in the higher education community in Australia and abroad, the business community more broadly with whom I have had the privilege to interact over many years, and successive Queensland and Australian Governments, all of whom have played an important part in assisting the University and me professionally and personally.
“JCU is a fantastic University, its remit is unique and important to our communities, and it is an honour and privilege to work with others, playing my part in our development.”
“I also pay tribute to my family – my husband, Kevin, and our daughters, Annika and Michaela – each of whom have selflessly given me the love and support, space and opportunity to do what I have had the privilege of doing over the years, both here and abroad.
“No words can express my deep gratitude to them, and my love for each of them. I also recognise the inspiration my parents provided, too – just wonderful people, who never suggested to me that there were limits to what the future might hold,” Professor Harding said.
On her contributions to the Australian American Leadership Dialogue (AALD), Professor Harding added:
“These things are always a team effort and what an honour and privilege it is to work with my AALD colleagues to play our part in maintaining and strengthening people to people links between Australia and the United States.”