Paying tribute to Sir Ninian Stephen

30 October 2017

Vale Sir Ninian StephenChair of the Menzies Foundation, Professor Simon Maddocks, has paid tribute to former governor-general, The Right Honourable Sir Ninian Stephen, who helped shaped the Foundation as its Chairman from 1992-1998.

“The Menzies Foundation was lucky to have such a great Australian and preeminent legal mind as its leader in the 90s,” Professor Maddocks said.

“During his period as Chair we marked the Centenary of Sir Robert Menzies’ birth with the establishment of the Menzies Oration on Higher Education in partnership with the University of Melbourne, the development of the documentary ‘Menzies in his time’ and a seminar on the Legacy of Sir Robert Menzies at the National Library in Canberra, featuring prominent speakers who had worked with Sir Robert.”

Sir Ninian was also Chair when the Menzies alumni (Menzies Memorial Scholars' Association) first met with the Menzies Foundation Board. This group continues to this day and ensures ongoing scholar input at Board level.

As in all his professional roles, Sir Ninian left an indelible impression on the people he met and worked with and is remembered extremely fondly by the alumni, board and council members.

“As a leader and a man he brought humility, dignity and a powerful intellect to everything he did. An outstanding Chairman of the Menzies Foundation, he provided thoughtful and decisive leadership, and took a keen interest in each individual and project awarded support by the Foundation. We were indeed privileged to have had him serve the Foundation as its Chairman,” Professor Maddocks said.

His contribution was such that the Foundation has named a scholarship in his honour – the Sir Ninian Stephen Menzies Scholarship in Law – which attracts first class Australian lawyers looking to expand their studies oversees with a focus on complex global issues.

A number of Menzies Scholars in Law served as Associates to Sir Ninian Stephen, including Federal Court Justice Susan Kenny, Melbourne Laureate Professor at Melbourne Law School, Professor Hilary Charlesworth and Sydney Barrister, Justin Hogan-Doran.

Menzies Foundation Director, Peter Jopling AM, QC, was also an Associate to Sir Ninian and a driving force behind the establishment of the Sir Ninian Stephen Menzies Scholarship in Law, which received generous funding from the Federal Government (under Prime Minister Julia Gillard) and several generous private donors from the legal fraternity.

Professor Maddocks extended his sympathies and that of the Foundation’s board members to the family of Sir Ninian, who have also been strong supporters of the Foundation’s work.

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