University building named after Gerard Sutton

Former vice-chancellor Gerard Sutton’s name will adorn the medical institute he helped found. The role that former University of Wollongong vice-chancellor Gerard Sutton played in establishing a medical school and research institute was recognised yesterday when a building was renamed in his honour.

The headquarters of the Illawarra Health and Medical Research Institute at UOW’s Keiraville campus will now be known as the Gerard Sutton Building.

‘‘I’m deeply honoured but also extremely humbled,’’ Professor Sutton said.

‘‘Once a building is named after you, the building remains for the duration of a university and that’s hundreds of years – not our lifetime.

‘‘And it’s a great delight to me that it’s this particular building, as it is a building that links the university with the entire city.’’

Prof Sutton said the opening of the $30million building in 2010 was one of the highlights of his 21 years at the university, which included 16 years as vice-chancellor until his retirement last year.

‘‘The vision for the medical school and medical research institute originally came from Professor Don Iverson, pro vice-chancellor Health,’’ Prof Sutton said.

‘‘Once we were able to deliver a medical school we decided between us that a medical school without a medical research institute really didn’t work – we had to involve the area health service and the region’s clinicians.

‘‘Together with David Campbell, the Minister for the Illawarra at the time, we lobbied then-NSW Premier Morris Iemma … who delivered $15 million – half the cost of the building.’’

He said the establishment of the institute had major ramifications for the health of the region’s residents.

‘‘We knew that without a medical school and medical research institute we would never be able to raise the quality of healthcare in this region and city to the level people deserved,’’ he said.

‘‘When the Hunter got their medical school and research institute 30 years ago, you could see the difference in the quality of healthcare, and this region is now heading fast to offering that same quality of healthcare.’’

UOW vice-chancellor Paul Wellings, Wollongong Lord Mayor Gordon Bradbery, Catholic Bishop of Wollongong Peter Ingham and Federal Member for Cunningham Sharon Bird were invited to the building dedication ceremony.

During the ceremony a portrait of Prof Sutton painted by acclaimed portrait artist Mathew Lynn was unveiled.

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