Blainey awarded University of Melbourne top honour

November 13 / 123

Distinguished Australian historian Professor Geoffrey Blainey will be awarded the University’s inaugural Tucker Medal, in recognition of his substantial contributions to the University, the Faculty of Arts and to public life.

The award is named after Thomas George Tucker (1859-1946), a prolific and celebrated scholar and the foundation Dean of the University's Faculty of Arts.

Current Faculty of Arts Dean, Professor Mark Considine said Professor Blainey was the stand-out choice.

"Professor Blainey is the country's most important and respected historian," he said.

"He has made a major contribution to the leadership of the humanities and social sciences while at Melbourne and has an outstanding international reputation. He is widely respected for classic studies of the Australian story such as 'The Tyranny of Distance' and 'Triumph of the Nomads'."

Professor Blainey first came to the University as a student in 1948. He later served in senior leadership roles in both the Faculty of Commerce and the Faculty of Arts. As Dean of the Faculty of Arts in the 1980s he was known for his enthusiastic support of younger colleagues across the disciplines and his passion for teaching.

In 2000 Professor Blainey was made a Companion of the Order of Australia and in 2007 he was awarded an Honorary Doctor of Laws from the University of Melbourne.

Head of the School of Historical and Philosophical Studies Professor Trevor Burnard said Professor Blainey also served the wider community in a number of roles.

"From chairing the Australia Council in the 1970s to the National Council for the Centenary of Federation more recently, Professor Blainey has always been a public intellectual and an historian willing to engage in the big issues of the day," Professor Burnard said.

The award will be officially bestowed on Professor Blainey during one of the University of Melbourne’s graduation ceremonies in December.

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