Installation of Dr Susan Lim as a Fellow of Trinity College
Welcome to the Chapel
Professor Robert Chambers
given at the
Installation of Dr Susan Lim as a Fellow of Trinity College
Sunday 22 May, 2005
On behalf of the Warden of the College, Professor Donald Markwell,I am delighted to
welcome you all to this Choral Evensong to celebrate Trinity Sunday, at which we
have—as one of the highlights of the College's year—the installation of Dr Susan Lim
as a Fellow of the College. It is a particular pleasure to welcome many people who
have come from overseas to be here tonight. You are all most welcome!
The Warden, Professor Markwell, is deeply sorry not to be able to be here. He is, as
many of you know, in Brisbane, where his mother lies gravely ill. Our thoughts and
our prayers are with him, with his family, and especially with his mother.
Trinity Sunday is a day in the church year in which, after the great festivals of Easter
and Pentecost, Christians celebrate the revelation of god as triune—Father, Son, and
This College bears the name of God the Holy Trinity, and so for us at the College
Trinity Sunday is a day of special significance. The Christian worship of God as
Trinity reflects belief in God as a community of persons, and so it is fitting that on
Trinity Sunday we in this College celebrate the life of our own community.
And it is fitting, as well, that we celebrate the special position of Susan Lim in this
community, along with the remarkable contributions she has made to serve the
community of her native Singapore and elsewhere as a medical pioneer. A surgeon,
and a researcher of international distinction.
A Fellowship to the College is the highest honour Trinity can bestow. And yet no one
who reads the biographical sketch of Susan on the back of the order of service booklet
could miss the fact that the rite of honouring in this case goes two ways—Susan Lim
honours her College in accepting this Fellowship to honour her.
Trinity College has, since its earliest days, been closely connected with medical
education and medical research in Melbourne. Innumerable Trinity students since the
1870's have studied medicine, and in the process the College has helped to shape
many of those who have gone on to assume leadership positions in the medical
profession, including several Deans of Medicine in this very University. One of those
Deans is Professor Richard Larkins, now Vice-Chancellor of Monash University,
Susan's alma mater, and—like Susan—a Fellow of Trinity College, who will deliver
the chief address later in this service; it is a great pleasure to welcome Richard and
Caroline Larkins back to the College they know so well and which they support so
Although Trinity is a College of the University of Melbourne, in 1977 the then
Warden, the late Revd Dr Evan Burge, recognised in the young Monash student Susan
Lim an individual of outstanding quality and character…and promptly admitted her to
Trinity as a resident. Thank God he did!
Trinity College has deep links with Monash University which go back to the service
of Warden Cowan, who was on the inaugural Council that brought Monash into being.
Moreover, two of Monash's earliest Professors, Kevin Westfold and AGL Shaw, were
Trinity alumni who later became Fellows of the College. I am delighted that Professor
and Mrs Shaw are here with us tonight, along with Warden Burge's spouse, Barbara,
and Warden Cowan's son, Bill.
Given all these, as it were, familial connections, we are obviously delighted that
Trinity's contributions to cooperation between the two Universities is again vividly
reflected in tonight's service.
Susan Lim came into residence at Trinity in 1977, just three years after the College
had become fully co-residential. Yet, Trinity has, in fact, had a long and proud history
of pioneering educational opportunities for women, including creation in 1886 of a
women's section of the College which, a few decades later, became our neighbour
Janet Clarke Hall. Interestingly, the first woman admitted as a non-resident student of
Trinity in 1883, Lilian Alexander, was later also the first woman admitted to study in
the medical faculty of the University of Melbourne; she, too—like Susan Lim—went
on to forge a distinguished career as a surgeon and medical researcher.
The election of Susan Lim as a Fellow of the College recognises not only her stellar
work and leadership in medicine, but also her commitment to community service, to
charity, and to philanthropy. This institution has always encouraged its students to
pursue lives of service to wider communities…and many have done so in a multitude
of different ways. One such person is our presiding Bishop tonight, Dr Peter
Hollingworth, a former Trinity resident who has devoted his entire career to helping
people in need, to promoting social justice, and to providing leadership in both the
Church and in public service, including as Bishop of Brisbane and Governor-General
of Australia. We are honoured, therefore, to welcome Dr Hollingsworth and Mrs Ann
Hollingworth back home to the Chapel and the College.
Susan Lim has been singularly recognised in Singapore as embodying "the spirit of
the 21st century." and so she does! Her election as a Fellow reflects many things, not
least the extraordinarily close and important links between this College, this country,
and Singapore itself. Susan is one of many Singaporean students to reside at Trinity
while undertaking their University studies. Trinity has also, of course, assisted many
hundreds of students from Singapore to prepare for University entry through our
remarkable Foundation Studies program. Thus it is good—very good—that we can
celebrate these bonds between Australia and Singapore so warmly and enthusiastically
So whether you have come for this special evening from Singapore, from even further
afield, or from close by…please know that you are most welcome. Tonight, on this
Trinity Sunday, we worship God the Holy Trinity in this service, even as we honour
one of the most remarkable citizens of Singapore and one of the outstanding members
of this College, Dr Susan Lim.