University of Melbourne Magazine

From Horace to the digital age

  • In perhaps the most famous of his poems, Tu ne quaesieris, Horace cautions his young companion to “carpe diem” — seize the day. He warns that the future is unknown. One should not leave tomorrow to chance, but rather take action for the future today.

    The University of Melbourne has been following Horace for 160 years, and his advice seems more pertinent than ever. The future may be difficult to predict, but we can plan on the basis of reasonable assumptions.

    Firstly, this public-spirited research-intensive institution will continue to generate knowledge that addresses the greatest challenges of our time. We will do so by balancing research strengths against the need to demonstrate the s
    ocial, economic, environmental and cultural outcomes of investment in new ideas.

    Secondly, we will embrace the possibilities of the digital evolution, yet ensure there remains a place for campus-based education. A great student experience will combine the best of blended learning with time spent alongside teachers and peers. As lively places of innovation, international diversity and the latest thinking, our campuses will model the attributes we look for in each graduate.

    Finally, all the University’s activities will seek to engage with our city, our peers, fellow researchers and the community that we serve.

    As Woodrow Wilson declared in a famous commemorative address at Princeton more than a century ago, universities should not “stand aloof ” but should be intimately bound to the practical world.

    Hearing Wilson’s advice on this score, the next few years will see the University of Melbourne continue to “enlighten, strengthen and make fit” its research, teaching and engagement offerings in the service of the nation.

    – Professor Glyn Davis AC, Vice-Chancellor

    This article is based on Growing Esteem 2014, a discussion paper for the University community. A full-text version of the discussion paper can be found at the University of Melbourne website: