Professor Fr Philip Gibbs SVD and Professor Pamela Norman cutting the cake to mark
the occassion and looking on is DWU President Professor Cecilia Nembou. Photo by Dr Kevin Pamba.
Divine Word University has a new Deputy President.
He is Professor Father Philip Gibbs SVD, a long-serving Catholic priest and researcher originally from New Zealand who has served in Papua New Guinea for many years.
Prof Gibbs served DWU as the Vice President for Research and Higher degrees until his appointment to the second highest post in the Madang-headquartered University. Prof Gibbs officially took office on Monday 2nd September 2019 and will serve for three years.
Professor Gibbs takes over from Professor Pamela Norman who served in the office for the last three and half years. Professor Norman, who has been with DWU since 2004, continues in her substantive role as the Vice President for Academic Affairs responsible for all academic programs and she is also the Professor of Education in the University.
A formal handover take-over ceremony between Prof Gibbs and Prof Norman took place in a “traditional” DWU morning tea in front of three members of the University Council and DWU staff at the staff mess in the Madang campus last Wednesday 28 August 2019.
Three members of the University Council were the DWU President Professor Cecilia Nembou, Sir Peter Barter and Fr Josef Maciolek SVD who is the Provincial Superior or head of the PNG Province of Societi Verbi Divini (SVD), which is Latin for Society of the Divine Word.
The University Council chairperson Archbishop Douglas Young SVD announced the appointment of Prof Gibbs’ appointment during the last Council Meeting in July to be effective on 1st September 2019.
Professor Gibbs will be based in the main campus in Madang while the President Prof Nembou is based at the Port Moresby campus of DWU.
Professor Nembou offered her utmost appreciation to Prof Norman for her outstanding service as the Deputy President for three and half years and welcomed Prof Gibbs to the role.
Prof Nembou said her outgoing deputy is one of the most professional and astute academic leaders and administrators she has worked with and would miss her.
“She is an amazing person.”
“We all know the kind of work she does.”
“How many people 10 years, 20 years younger than her can do the kind of work she does?” Prof Nembou asked.
“She does three jobs (and) she does them all very well,” said Prof Nembou.
“This morning I want to acknowledge the support she has given me as (my) Deputy President,” Prof Nembou said.
“And on behalf of the Council, I would like to welcome Fr Philip Gibbs as the Deputy President for the next three years.
“You all know Fr Philip Gibbs.
“He has been the Vice President for Research and Higher Degrees. “He is a former member of the University Council. “He is a member of the Society of the Divine Word Missionaries PNG Province and he came to the University as a member of staff starting as head of the Department of Governance and Leadership.
“We gave him the responsibilities as Vice President of Research and Higher Degrees and last July (2019) he was appointed as Deputy President.
“So I ask all of you (staff), all of us, to work together with Fr Philip,” said Prof Nembou.
The President in welcoming her new deputy also said Prof Gibbs brings with him a wealth of experience as a researcher involved in various capacities in the country besides his pastoral duties.
Sir Peter also congratulated the two professors for being outstanding professional academics for whom the DWU Council has in high regard.
Prof Norman said she was very proud to serve DWU in her role as Deputy President was also keen to be relieved of the role and concentrate on her substantive position.
Prof Norman said she is proud to have worked with many wonderful people in DWU and elsewhere after arriving in PNG from Australia during the colonial times as a teacher in 1964.
Prof Gibbs said he was pleased to take up the new role and work with the President and everyone to take the University forward.
“I will do my best,” said Prof Gibbs.
Prof Gibbs also said as a graduate of DWU, having graduated with a Master of Business Administration (MBA) several years ago, he was keen to make a contribution as an alumnus besides his other academic, research, administration and pastoral credentials.
Photos in the image gallery below are from Dr Kevin Pamba