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Vale Emeritus Professor Harry Messel AC CBE

With great sadness, the Bond University community mourns the passing of internationally renowned scientist and former Vice-Chancellor, Professor Harry Messel.

Professor Messel passed away peacefully yesterday on the Gold Coast, aged 93.

Bond University's third Vice-Chancellor, Professor Messel was appointed during a tumultuous time for the University and made a significant contribution to the institution that stands today.

After the successful opening of Bond in May 1989, and the wonderful achievement in getting the University off the ground, the institution fell on difficult times following the fortunes of its founding partners.

Professor Messel was appointed as Chancellor on 3 April 1992 and soon assumed executive responsibilities, following the resignation of the second Vice-Chancellor Professor Philip Lader in February 1993. He took on the unusual position of Executive Chancellor and Vice-Chancellor at that time.

Professor Messel faced the difficult task of maintaining the momentum of the University while dealing with major financial challenges and tackled these issues head-on in his trademark exuberant manner.  He made many tough decisions in the best interests of the University’s long-term future.

Professor Messel was recruited to Bond from the University of Sydney, where he built an internationally-renowned School of Physics. He enjoyed a stellar academic career in physics, science  and the environment, including fields as diverse as salt-water crocodiles and nuclear testing.   He was perhaps best known for founding the International Science School, which still runs today after 50 years and has received international acclaim.

After his tenure at Bond finished in December 1997, Professor Messel returned to his academic interests and spent time with his family, moving between his home on the Gold Coast, friends and connections in Sydney, and his academic network across the globe.  

He remained in contact with the University and last year attended Bond University's 25th Anniversary Gala Ball, among other milestone events.

Professor Messel’s achievements were recognised many times over including being awarded the Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in 1979 and Companion of the Order of Australia (AC) in 2006.

He will be remembered for his dogged determination, quick wit, absolute adherence to quality, attention to detail and extraordinary work ethic.  His devotion to academic standards and his contribution to Bond over such a difficult period remain among his many proud legacies.

The thoughts and prayers of the Bond University community are with Professor Messel's wife, Pip, and family at this time.

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