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Speech Night 2018: Raymond Spencer

News

12 December 2018

Speech Night 2018: Raymond Spencer

Speech Night 2018: Raymond Spencer

The following is Raymond Spencer's speech, delivered at Speech Night 2018.

Dr. Newton, Members of Council, Scotch Legends and their families, parents and friends, Staff and Students, and most especially, students of the graduating class of 2018. 

Welcome to the Speech Night on the eve of the College’s centenary. Scotch crosses that threshold next year when we celebrate 100 years at Torrens Park. It is a worthy and historic milestone. 

A centennial can be a strategic inflection point. 

An inflection point is a decisive moment in the course of some entity, event or situation that marks the start of significant change. The term comes from math, and was popularised in the early 90s by then Intel CEO, Andy Grove. It is a time period when an organization must respond effectively to disruptive change in the environment or face deterioration. 

These inflection points can be caused by economic trends, environmental factors, competitive activities and disruptive technologies, or, as is the case today, all of the above!

The College’s centennial comes at such and inflection point. 

Many of you have already experienced or heard me talk about not just the disruption in politics, economics, technology and lifestyle caused by automation, but also the unprecedented rate of change. While this disruption is uncomfortable, and the rate of change unparalleled, Scotch College Adelaide is no stranger to change and disruption. In fact, we have an enviable history of innovation. Inspired by the Scottish Enlightenment tradition, a philanthropic group of Presbyterian families who founded Scotch in 1919 to honour those that fell in the Great War. 

Today, Scotch College aims to prepare our students to make a positive impact in this new world. We plan and deliver consistent, outstanding innovation in our people, programmes and infrastructure on a sustainable basis, in order to provide opportunities for young people to thrive and develop the awareness, boldness and versatility to make a difference in any part of the world. We are a forward-looking, externally focused, nurturing and ambitious community driven by a powerful sense of the wellbeing of our stakeholders, so that the wellbeing of others may be enhanced.  

Even as we celebrate a hundred years, we are also executing on a new immediate strategic plan with a three year horizon. 

The core theme of this strategic plan is embedding wellbeing deeply into every key part of the organisation. Like other Scotch initiatives, it is not lacking in ambition. It will influence how we utilize our resources, and lay the groundwork for radical developments in information and innovation to support an enhanced learning provision and educational experience. It seeks to launch the College into its second century with strength and confidence and leverages our existing strengths in people, culture and our community.

At the heart of community is our exceptional staff. Thank you for what you do for every Scotch student on Mitcham and Torrens Park Campus’s. You help children climb as high as possible their own mountains. No one can do more. 

Thank you also to the Senior Leadership Team for your continued commitment to excellence and innovation. We all are grateful for your leadership and disciplined professional management of the College.

I also want to thank my fellow Council members for their governance and service. Ours is a strong, effective and strategic Council, ably supported by highly skilledvolunteer committees, all of whom take their responsibility extremely seriously and give generously of their time.

I wish to especially recognise the contribution of retiring Council member, Keith Maynard.  Keith has served on Council since 2007, most recently as the Chair of the Education Committee. 

I am delighted to also like to welcome two members of our community who have been appointed to the Council from next year. They are Jody Burton and Angus Jaffrey. Both Jody and Angus are current parents and have already served in a number of governance capacities and bring a wealth of knowledge, skill, experience and wisdom. 

My final words of appreciation are to our most important stakeholders –our year 12 graduands. As you sit here tonight, I urge you to not think of this as a graduation, but rather as a commencement. We are sending you out into the world because you have a job to do. 

It comes back to that inflection point I was talking about. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., once said, “The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends towards justice.”   I believe that.  But I also believe that it does not bend towards justice, or freedom, or equality, or prosperity on its own.  It depends on us, on the choices we make, particularly at certain inflection points in history; particularly when big changes are happening and everything seems up for grabs.

Fortunately, Class of 2018, your generation has everything it takes to lead this country toward a brighter future. I’m confident because, on average, you’re smarter and better educated than my generation -- although arguably we were certainly better spellers.  You’ve also been more exposed to the world, more exposed to other cultures.  You’re more diverse.  You’re more environmentally conscious.  You have a healthy scepticism for conventional wisdom.  

You have the tools to lead us.  

One of the things we teach at Scotch is that as you embrace the future, don’t forget where you came from. 

A 100 years ago, 283 individuals came together to raise the money to purchase Torrens Park Estate to house this School. Notable amongst them were 10 families, who showed tremendous leadership through their sacrificial and generous giving. Their action founded the College in 2019 and led to the formal establishment of Scotch College Adelaide by an Act of Parliament in 1922. All of the names of the founders and a copy of the Act of Parliament hangs in the foyer of Torrens Park House to remind us of our heritage and our history. 

The centenary sets a profound context for the transformation that the College is moving through. This is best embodied in our Centenary building project: the proposed Wellbeing & Sports Centre. 

The proposed Wellbeing & Sports Centre will replace and succeed our McBean Gymnasium and the Roy Taylor pool. It will also be the hub for our ground breaking Wellbeing offerings to equip our students with the tools they will need to thrive in the disruptive world we are leaving them.  It will bring the six pillars of the Live Well program to life. It will amplify the correlation between physical wellbeing, mental wellbeing, social wellbeing and intellectual wellbeing and be designed to benefit students from both Mitcham and Torrens Park Campus, thanks to our Campus Linkage project. 

The Wellbeing & Sports Centre is the first off the blocks in our 30-year Infrastructure Master Plan, which has also identified two other major Tier I projects: The Chapel & Performance Centre and Scotch Central, a dynamic multipurpose teaching and learning precinct for 21st Century teaching and learning. 

Finding the resources to make all of this happen brings us back to the inflection point that I spoke of, earlier. 

The Wellbeing and Sports Centre and the other tier 1 projects will be funded through a combination of sacrificial philanthropic giving by our community, borrowing and possible grant funding. It will be supported by a growing scholarships and grants program that provides access to a diverse group of students that can benefit from a Scotch education.

All of this is going to cost money.  Thankfully, we have a very healthy financial situation and are also essentially at full enrolment and do not want to grow larger.  As the old saying goes, the best time to repair the roof is when the sun is shining.  

The fact is that as we look to Scotch’s second century, the scale of our challenge is no less than what confronted the individuals who came together to raise the money to purchase Torrens Park Estate. 

Today we are at a point of “re-founding” the College and are calling on the current Scotch community to invest as the 10 families did 100 years ago to make sure we have in place the critical elements of success for the next 100 years for Scotch College tothrive.

I am extremely proud of my association with Scotch College Adelaide and grateful for its incredible and distinctive education and nurturing community. I am even more excited that in our centennial – a milestone that only a handful of Australian institutions have crossed - the College is choosing to take the aspirational and ambitious road and establish itself as a beacon, in Adelaide, South Australia and the nation. 

It is a great time to be a Scotchie.

Raymond Spencer
Chair of Council

Earlier this week children in the Scotch ELC were treated to a reading of 'Where is the Green Sheep?' by Mem Fox an… twitter.com/i/web/status/1…