Australian Catholic University welcomes inaugural Ramsay Scholars

Mar 17, 2021 | Announcements, News & Media

Sydney, Wednesday 17 March 2021: The Australian Catholic University (ACU) has officially welcomed its inaugural Ramsay Scholars -a group of high-achieving students who will be supported by the Ramsay Centre to undertake ACU’s newly created BA degree in Western Civilisation.

The 2021 ACU Ramsay Scholars were welcomed at a special reception on its North Sydney campus. The event was hosted by ACU Vice-Chancellor and President Professor Zlatko Skrbis, Deputy Provost Professor Meg Stuart, and Director of the Western Civilisation Program Professor Robert Carver.

Ramsay Centre for Western Civilisation representatives included its Chairman, the Hon John Howard OM, AC, CEO Professor Simon Haines, Deputy CEO Dr Stephen McInerney, and several Ramsay directors. 

Thanks to a partnership agreement between the Ramsay Centre and ACU, the 2021 ACU Ramsay scholars will be supported to complete ACU’s Bachelor of Arts in Western Civilisation through scholarships worth up to $30,000 p.a. for up to five years. The scholars will be taught in small class groups and receive academic mentoring. They will also receive funding to participate in an overseas experience as part of their studies.

ACU’s degree will cover a structured and integrated humanities curriculum from antiquity to the present and include an optional honours year. The degree ‘…will give ambitious students a deep understanding of western literature, philosophy, art, politics, religion, science, and history, and how these help us to understand our world and the dialogue between cultures.’

Welcoming the students, Vice-Chancellor and President Professor Zlatko Skrbis congratulated them on their achievement in becoming ACU Ramsay Scholars and said he looked forward with confidence as well as keen anticipation to their future successes.

Professor Skrbis said as a specifically Catholic institution, ACU was part of an intellectual tradition that goes back almost two thousand years to St Paul and the theologians and philosophers who succeeded him, but “… as an Australian university, we inevitably draw on the intellectual capital of the classics – we are reliving their legacy on a daily basis, even when we are not consciously aware of it.”

Ramsay Centre CEO Professor Simon Haines also addressed the Scholars, saying thanks to Paul Ramsay’s generosity and vision they would have access to generous scholarships, wonderful teachers, and a curriculum ‘unique in this country and rare anywhere else in the world: from Homer to T S Eliot, Machiavelli to the Federalist papers, Burke and de Tocqueville to Mill and Marx, Austen and Dostoevsky to Orwell and Woolf, Michelangelo to Picasso, Newton to Darwin, Plato to Wittgenstein.’

‘There just isn’t any university in the country outside yours and two others where you could encounter such a dazzling galaxy of star thinkers from multiple fields of thought and art, in just one degree over three years.’ Professor Haines said.

‘And the real magic, we hope, for you, is that by meeting these stars in the company of these very gifted teachers and your small group of fellow students, you will have an experience few others can have, of direct contact with the greatest minds of our shared past, not as if they were distant inaccessible mountain peaks or buried monuments or weird dead celebrities, but as real thinking people speaking to you, who have thoughts you can actually understand and work with yourself, that you can respond to, making their thoughts your thoughts.’

The Ramsay Centre and ACU entered a partnership in 2020. Worth approximately $50 million over eight years, the partnership enables ACU to offer at least 150 undergraduate scholarships over that period and to hire world-class educators to teach its Western Civilisation Program. It is the third university partnership for the Centre, following agreements with the University of Wollongong and University of Queensland, who both welcomed their second intake of students this year.

The partnership is made possible through the extraordinary generosity of the late Paul Ramsay AO, founder of Ramsay Health Care.

Media contact: Sarah Switzer 0407 816 098/

For more information on the centre please visit our website: