Remembering Robyn

Robyn Kemmis planting a tree

Pictured: Robyn Kemmis

UTS will carry on Robyn Kemmis’s commitment to social change

UTS was saddened to learn of the sudden death of former Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Administration, Robyn Kemmis, in December 2015. Robyn joined UTS in 1991 as Executive Director, University Administration, a new position created when the university became a single entity after several educational bodies were amalgamated the previous year. She quickly became known as a leader, mentor and champion of women seeking to forge rewarding and influential careers. After leaving UTS in 2002, she served the City of Sydney as Deputy Lord Mayor until her untimely passing.

Robyn oversaw the university's finances, human resources, property development, maintenance, supply, operations and student administration. She brought a fresh strategic focus to the University's financial and capital planning and was instrumental in promoting and implementing long-term campus development planning.

"It was her contribution to the UTS culture that truly changed UTS for the better."

In recognition of her contribution to UTS, she was conferred by the university with an honorary doctorate in 2002 and was described by then Vice-Chancellor Professor Ross Milbourne as a “great builder for UTS” and a mentor to women and staff generally for growing their professional capabilities.

Current Vice-Chancellor Professor Attila Brungs said Robyn had also made a tremendous contribution to the Glebe and Sydney communities and since joining the City of Sydney, and had maintained a strong and productive connection with the university.

“Robyn was a founder of the physical connectedness of UTS with its surrounding community, helping establish the Ultimo precinct, bringing together UTS, the ABC, the Powerhouse Museum, Sydney Harbour Foreshore Authority and more," Professor Brungs said. "The existing thriving cultural and economic hub here is in no small measure due to Robyn’s vision and leadership.

“It was her contribution to the UTS culture that truly changed UTS for the better; she instilled a focus on professional development for all staff here. Robyn was a renowned mentor and advocate for female colleagues at UTS and beyond, pioneering the development of the Women’s Executive Development Program across the Australian Technology Network of Universities.

“Robyn embodied the UTS values of social justice, equity and collegiality – the values that make UTS such a great place to be – and will be a lasting aspect of Robyn’s legacy at UTS.

“She will be greatly missed by her UTS colleagues past and present and be fondly remembered for her warmth, humour and significant contribution to UTS and Sydney.”

Family and friends of Robyn have decided to honour Robyn’s commitment to social change by establishing a scholarship in her name.

The Robyn Kemmis Indigenous Student Scholarship will enable an Indigenous woman to complete a three-year UTS undergraduate degree. The scholarship will be administered by the Jumbunna Indigenous House of Learning at UTS.

With a goal of raising $15,000 per year for three years, the scholarship funds will be used to contribute to student fees and academic expenses and to assist with the costs of transport and accommodation.

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