New Presidents of Wenzao, Abat Oliba and Notre Dame Universities

June 2019

Three ICUSTA member universities have announced their new Presidents: Dr. Margaret Mei-hua Chen of Wenzao Ursuline University of Languages, Taiwan; Dr. Rafael Rodríguez-Ponga of Universitat Abat Oliba CEU, Spain; and Dr. Francis Campbell of the University of Notre Dame, Australia.

New President of Wenzao Ursuline University of Languages, Taiwan

Dr. Margaret Mei-hua Chen is the new President of Wenzao Ursuline University of Languages, Taiwan, making her the 13th president in its history. She is an alumna of Wenzao and has devoted much of her life to the University. She now serves as its head after having been well acquainted with it through the roles of student, teacher, and administrator. Her distinction at each of these stages is reflected in the awards granted to her, among them numerous awards for excellence in teaching.

She received her doctorate in education from Appalachian State University in North Carolina, U.S. Thereafter she held various leadership positions in academics in Taiwan. In 2005 she established Wenzao’s Foreign Language Diagnostic & Consulting Center (LDCC) and was its Director until 2009. Later she served as the University’s Vice President up until becoming its current President.

In her inaugural speech she spoke of her gratitude to her parents for the Catholic education they were able to give her in her early years, and she also spoke of her formative time as a student at Wenzao and with much gratitude named the Ursuline sisters, her teachers and classmates as being essential to her development. The solidarity born at that time continues to be felt by her.

Dr. Mei-hua Chen stated on that occasion: “Please allow me to remind you of Wenzao’s 3 Ls: Life, Language and Leadership, adopted from the core values of Ursuline education. The first L is ‘life’ referring to life education. We accompany students and care for their wellbeing in their physical, emotional and spiritual growth. The second L means ‘language’, with which we nurture the cultural depth of students in western and eastern traditions and make them the interface for cross-cultural communication. Above all, the final L for ‘leadership’ is modeled after ‘Serviam’ [‘I will serve’] of Ursuline education, a conviction in which we firmly believe, namely, to cultivate true leaders through service.”

New Rector of the Universitat Abat Oliba CEU, Spain

The Universitat Abat Oliba CEU, in Barcelona, has a new Rector. The doctor of Philology, Rafael Rodríguez-Ponga y Salamanca, becomes the fifth rector in the University’s history, succeeding Dr. Eva Perea.

Rodríguez-Ponga leads the university after having served as General Secretary of the Cervantes Institute since 2012. The new Rector has spent an important part of his professional career in institutions dedicated to the dissemination of knowledge and characterized by their international vocation. Accordingly, he has been Secretary General of the Spanish Agency of Cooperation and member of the Board of Directors of the Universal Forum of Cultures in Barcelona, the Council of St. James, the General Emigration Council, the Council for Development Cooperation, and the Academy of Spain in Rome, among others. From 2015 to 2016 he served as President of EUNIC (European Union National Institutes for Culture) and currently is the President of the Spanish Association for Pacific Studies.

He also has experience in State Administration. He has been the General Director of the Ministries of Education and Culture and Foreign Affairs and has been a part of the State’s School Board. His affiliation to the Higher Corps of Civil Administrators of the State and the fact of his having been a representative in the Courts demonstrate his concern for public service.

The inauguration was formalized in an act in which the new Rector received the symbols indicating his office from the hands of the President of the San Pablo CEU University Foundation and the Grand Chancellor of the UAO CEU, Alfonso Bullón de Mendoza. In his inaugural address, Rodríguez-Ponga emphasized the value of belonging to the educational group CEU and his intention to work on the growth of the University beginning with the consolidation of what has already been achieved. Moreover, as central elements of his project he referred to international orientation and the reaffirmation of the University’s Christian spirit.

New Vice Chancellor for the University of Notre Dame, Australia

The University of Notre Dame Australia has announced that Professor Francis Campbell will join that Institution as Vice Chancellor commencing January 2020. He becomes Notre Dame’s fourth Vice Chancellor, succeeding Professor Celia Hammond.

He will bring a wealth of experience to Notre Dame and will draw on a highly successful term as Vice Chancellor of St Mary’s University in London, a deep understanding of higher education, and a practical knowledge of the value and importance of holistic education.

His extensive tertiary qualifications include an MA in International Relations from the University of Pennsylvania in the U.S. and an MA in European Integration from the Katholieke Universiteit in Belgium. He has received honorary doctorates from five universities worldwide and an honorary fellowship from St Edmund’s College at Cambridge University in the U.K. Apart from academia, Professor Campbell has immense diversity of experience, which includes serving as Ambassador of the United Kingdom to the Holy See, and a term as Private Secretary to former Prime Minister Tony Blair.

“The Directors and Trustees of Notre Dame are delighted that a person of Professor Campbell’s impeccable credentials will be leading the University. [He] has an outstanding reputation as an academic and diplomat, and brings considerable leadership and international relationships to his new role at Notre Dame”, said Notre Dame’s Chancellor, the Hon. Chris Ellison.

Professor Campbell is pleased to join Notre Dame. He stated, “The University of Notre Dame Australia’s reputation among Australian universities is exemplary and I am honoured at the opportunity to become its fourth Vice Chancellor”.

He affirmed, “I aim to protect and nurture Notre Dame’s outstanding achievements, in particular, the recognition by its students as the best University in Australia for overall quality of educational experience. Universities such as Notre Dame are incredibly successful in balancing their commitment to academic excellence with a strong pastoral care program for students and staff, which I see as essential. As Vice Chancellor, I’m as interested in our students’ personal growth as much as their academic development, because the two are uniquely intertwined”.