The University of Queensland Art Museum stands as one of the many transformative legacies conferred on The University of Queensland by the late Emeritus Professor John Hay AC, Vice-Chancellor and President from 1996 to 2007. Writing of his tenure, he recalled that ‘for as long as I can remember, literature, the arts and the challenge of new ideas have compelled my imagination, just as the aspiration to teach and undertake research shaped my life.’
A visionary and enthusiastic advocate for the Art Museum, Professor Hay was instrumental in securing philanthropic support from Charles “Chuck” Feeney and The Atlantic Philanthropies, which enabled Mayne Hall to be transformed from the University’s graduation hall into the dynamic gallery space it is today. Speaking of the repurposed building in 2004, Professor Hay said it was fitting that it ‘continues to be used as a cultural venue and that it honours early University benefactors James O’Neil Mayne and his sister, Mary Emelia Mayne, who donated the land for the University’s St Lucia campus’. Painted in 2005, shortly after the refurbishment, Peter Churcher’s portrait of Professor Hay captures the Vice-Chancellor’s steadiness and his strength of purpose.
The Hay family is hosting a memorial to celebrate his life on Wednesday 16 November, 11am, at The Great Hall, NGV International in Melbourne. All are welcome, but registrations are encouraged. The family has requested that in lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Queensland Brain Institute. If you would like to submit a condolence message or a tribute, please complete this form. Alternatively, Emeritus Professor Hay’s portrait is on display in the UQ Art Museum, where you can leave a handwritten message or your signature. All digital and written messages will be compiled into a book of tributes and presented to the Hay family.