Vice-Chancellor’s Address

I am personally very proud of what we are achieving at Sunway University. We have invested in excellent facilities, hired outstanding academics, and built enduring relationships with some of the world’s most elite higher education institutions. All of this is with the aim of creating a great university and offering a world class education and student experience with employment focused academic programmes. Even though we are a very young university in global terms, we are already ranked in the top few percent of universities in the world. We also have a deeply embedded culture of continuous improvement and always work hard at constantly getting better at what we do. I am also proud of our inclusiveness and we welcome students and staff regardless of background from all segments of our society, including many from overseas. We celebrate the diversity of our university community; it is one of our key strengths as it is for all good universities.

Two Vice-Chancellors (Sunway and Cambridge). On the occasion of the visit by Professor Stephen Toope (on the left), Vice-Chancellor of the University of Cambridge, to Sunway University.

I am delighted to say that we are very committed to the idea of sustainability and to supporting the United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals. Sustainability matters a great deal to young people and to our university community. Universities are concerned with building the future through education and research, but the world’s future is under threat from climate change, environmental degradation, over-population, and growing inequalities. We are proud therefore to play our part in creating awareness of these serious issues by championing sustainability initiatives on campus and through researching and teaching about sustainability in our Jeffrey Sachs Center on Sustainable Development. I am absolutely delighted by the way our young students engage so enthusiastically with the sustainability agenda. This gives great hope for the future.

Although I am a scientist by background, I am also extremely proud of the fact that we are a very broad based university with an increasing range of activities in the arts. We are now bringing some exciting cultural and artistic experiences to campus which engage our students as well as the wider community. Ranging from dramatic performances to stunning musical concerts, the arts are very much a core part of a vibrant university experience.

Bringing together the themes of hope and the arts, let me share with you a painting that I am proud to have in my office. It’s an oil painting by the outstanding Malaysian artist Amirudin Ariffin, some of whose works also feature in the permanent collection of the National Gallery of Arts of Malaysia. It shows the moment when a young woman in a rural village receives her university offer letter.

The Offer Letter, painting by Amirudin Ariffin, oil on canvas. Copyright the artist, reproduced by permission.

It beautifully encapsulates a life changing moment. There is great hope, but also a hint of both delight and anxiety on the part of her male friend. Will she be gone forever, to the university, to the city, and a long way from him? Universities change lives for the better and at Sunway we are passionate about helping everyone become who they want to be and to achieve their ambitions whatever they are. Universities are engines of hope and future prosperity. I wouldn’t swap being leader of a university for any other job in the world. Welcome to my world - welcome to Sunway University!

Professor Graeme Wilkinson




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