Australian Catholic University welcomes second intake of Ramsay Scholars  

Mar 7, 2022 | Announcements

Sydney, 06 March 2022: The Australian Catholic University (ACU) has officially welcomed 26 high-achieving, students who have been named as ACU Ramsay Scholarship recipients for 2022.

The 2022 ACU Ramsay Scholars were welcomed and celebrated at a special reception on its North Sydney campus. The event was hosted by ACU Vice-Chancellor and President Professor Zlatko Skrbis, Interim Provost Professor Meg Stuart, and Director of the Western Civilisation Program Professor Robert Carver.

The Ramsay Centre for Western Civilisation was represented by CEO Professor Simon Haines, and several Ramsay directors. Director and former Australian Prime Minister, the Hon Tony Abbott AC, together with ACU Vice- Chancellor Professor Skrbis, presented each student with their scholarship award.

This is the second cohort of ACU Ramsay Scholars. Thanks to a partnership agreement between the Ramsay Centre and ACU, the scholars are supported to complete ACU’s Bachelor of Arts in Western Civilisation degree 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 BA in Western Civilisation degree covers a structured and integrated humanities curriculum from antiquity to the present and includes an optional honours year. The degree gives “…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.” The degree is also available in combination with a Bachelor of Laws.

Addressing the students, Ramsay Centre CEO Professor Simon Haines said that the degree represented a rare study opportunity offered at very few universities worldwide, where one could “…experience 2500 years of profound thinking about the human condition laid out in front of you in just three or four.”

He said what sets these works of the critical and creative mind, apart from most others over the centuries, is their power, their dynamic originality.

“They are as fresh today as when they were written, not buried monuments to dead celebrities, they have a kind of hyper-life, a life beyond life as one great poet said, they preserve the essence of the real living minds that produced them.”

“And by reading them together and arguing about them, by letting these minds into your own, being able to articulate for yourself and in front of others, clearly and disinterestedly (without prejudice, preconception or self-interest), what a complex text is saying without imposing contemporary views on it (because often we don’t realise how conformist we are until somebody from another era with a different mindset shows us): that is a real and precious art, an invaluable tool in your life, a benefit to your society.”

ACU Vice-Chancellor Professor Skrbis expressed his ‘deepest gratitude’ to the Ramsay Centre’s benefactor, the late Paul Ramsay AO, “…whose extraordinary endowment made possible the establishment of the Western Civilisation Program.” He said the events in Ukraine, and tensions associated with the rise of authoritarianism in our own region “…remind us just how important it is to understand the canon, the culture and tradition upon which we stand and upon which we build.”

Professor Skrbis also praised the calibre of the 2022 ACU Ramsay Scholars.

“At ACU we are not afraid to cast these Ramsay Scholars as our future leaders. They are bright minds, committed to the enrichment of society, and the promotion of the common good. In their pursuit of these endeavours, they demonstrate a passion for deep engagement with the ideas and questions that have shaped Western civilisation. We wish them well as they embark upon their respective journeys through the past, present and future of Western intellectual life.”

In closing remarks, Mr Abbott paid tribute to Paul Ramsay’s personal traits of gratitude and generosity, saying “…wherever he saw an opportunity to make a difference he would.”   

Mr Abbott said the scholars’ lives would be immeasurably uplifted by the education Paul Ramsay had gifted them, and he implored them to use it to make a difference.

“This is a wonderful opportunity you have been given so please ‘earn’ it, don’t just use it to get yourself a job, use it to make yourself a leader, use it to make yourself someone that makes a difference,” Mr Abbott said.

“That doesn’t mean you have to become CEO of a company, or VC of a university, or go into parliament. Leadership can be exercised wherever you are, in your street, in your family, in whatever organisations you are part of. Leaders are people who make a difference and equipped with what you will learn in this course you will be able to make a difference for good.”  

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.

Media contact: Sarah Switzer 0407 816 098/

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