2022 UOW Ramsay Scholars welcomed to campus
Students study great works of the Western tradition of thought and art in course that is unique in Australia
The University of Wollongong welcomed 30 new UOW Ramsay Scholars into the Bachelor of Arts in Western Civilisation at an event in the University Hall on Thursday evening (17 February).
The 2022 scholars are the third intake into the prestigious program run by UOW’s School of Liberal Arts, and are supported by a scholarship funded by the Ramsay Centre for Western Civilisation.
While a passing storm added a touch of drama to the occasion, the torrential rain and hail failed to dampen the spirits of an audience that included the new scholars and their families, School of Liberal Arts staff, and distinguished guests from the Ramsay Centre and UOW. A number of 2020 and 2021 UOW Ramsay Scholars were also there to welcome the new students.
Ramsay Centre distinguished guests included: Board Members Professor Ann Brewer, Dr Michael Easson AM and Mr Peter Evans, and Chief Executive Officer Professor Simon Haines.
Welcoming the scholars on behalf of UOW were the Chancellor, Ms Christine McLoughlin AM; Deputy Chancellor, Mr Warwick Shanks; Vice-Chancellor, Professor Patricia Davidson; Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic and Student Life), Professor Theo Farrell; Executive Dean of the Faculty of Arts, Social Sciences and Humanities, Senior Professor Sue Bennett; and Head of the School of Liberal Arts, Senior Professor Dan Hutto.
After two years of lockdowns, online learning and other pandemic-related challenges, there was a sense of excitement to be back on campus and to be returning to face-to-face teaching.
The new scholars are all high-achieving students with outstanding academic achievements, a commitment to helping others, and a track record of volunteering within their schools and communities. In other respects, however, they are a diverse group, coming from a variety of backgrounds and schools, and from across metropolitan, regional and rural NSW. Two of this year’s cohort are from the ACT, and another is from Victoria.
The Bachelor of Arts in Western Civilisation and School of Liberal Arts were established in 2019, with the inaugural UOW Ramsay Scholars commencing their studies in 2020. The first degree of its kind in Australia, the Bachelor of Arts in Western Civilisation focuses on the study of great works of the Western tradition of thought and art.
Using the time-honoured Socratic method, it takes students on a series of carefully curated philosophical explorations through great periods and epochs of intellectual and artistic change in the West, all the while challenging them to think for themselves.
UOW Chancellor Ms McLoughlin congratulated the scholars on their selection for the program and noted that students in the School of Liberal Arts were among the most satisfied and highest performing at UOW.
“I was delighted to hear from the selection panel that students spoke of being attracted to the program because they loved the subject matter, the challenge of our core offerings, and that they could find nothing quite like it anywhere else in Australia,” Ms McLoughlin.
“UOW has long been committed to offering a learning environment that supports academic freedom and equips students to become broad-minded, intellectually fearless, and independent thinking graduates.”
Vice-Chancellor Professor Davidson welcomed the scholars and their families to UOW and thanked the Ramsay Centre for its continued generosity and support of the University.
“To our students: special greetings. We know you will do great things and we look forward to watching you grow and prosper in the years ahead. It is so wonderful to see our campus coming to life after such a prolonged period of disruption,” Professor Davidson said.
“Education is essential for fostering equality, equity and understanding. It is a powerful tool, enabling opportunities and financial security. It is critical to good health and personal growth. It is crucial to a successful economy. Moreover, it is fundamental to a safer world.
“This is what we set out to achieve here at the University of Wollongong and thanks to valued partners like the Ramsay Centre, we can achieve these goals for our students and our community.”
Ramsay Centre CEO Professor Haines paid tribute to the late Australian businessman Paul Ramsay AO, whose bequest and desire to invigorate the study of humanities and liberal arts in Australia made the program possible, and applauded the 2022 UOW Ramsay Scholars for their achievement.
“My warmest congratulations to you all in the class of ’22 on winning these scholarships – the competition was pretty stiff but we are sure we picked the best candidates. And for your part you picked the best course: I know you will never regret your choice.
“This model of a liberal arts course is unique in this country: an exposure in small groups to multiple modes or styles of thought, conceptual, imaginative and historical, all within one degree, inside a modern research university.”
The scholarships are valued at $30,000 per annum for the duration of their studies, up to a maximum of five years.
More information about the Bachelor of Arts in Western Civilisation is available at the School of Liberal Arts webpage.