It is with sadness for our community and joy for Damian and Dieni that we write to inform you that Dr Damian Powell, Janet Clarke Hall's thirteenth Principal, will be leaving the College, after twenty years of service, early in 2022. Damian and Dieni will be moving to Shepparton, where Dieni will become Assistant Principal (Head of Campus) of the Berry Street School, a specialist independent school working with students who have complex, unmet learning needs.
We are so grateful for Damian's leadership over the past two decades. Damian has given much of himself to JCH and the collegiate community at the University of Melbourne. His efforts have helped JCH to become recognised as a leader in collegiate education, and his stewardship of the relationship with the University has benefited the College immeasurably. His contributions to the tertiary education sector through the Australian Human Rights Commission inquiries into the Treatment of Women in the Australian Defence Force, and advocacy for a national response into the prevention of sexual violence on university campuses have been most significant.
Damian has been instrumental in the College's strategic and operational successes, guiding us through the changing higher education landscape, bringing leadership to the academic community, fundamentally re-setting and supporting the culture of the College and providing a supportive residential experience for JCH students making the transition to tertiary study. His warm welcome of alumni has ensured a strong community and vibrant culture honouring the great traditions of the College. Alumni, friends and institutional supporters have endowed the College with a new building, refurbishments and a significant boost to the scholarship endowment over his years as Principal. Even with all his achievements, it has always been Damian's clear dedication to the students and community that sets him apart. In the last two years his leadership in managing the enormous challenges of COVID-19 has kept the College a safe place for students and staff. All of this has been done with Dieni's generous encouragement, and it is fitting that she now takes on an important leadership role herself.
As the Chair of the Council, I am mindful that our most important duty is to ensure that Janet Clarke Hall has strong, capable, and caring leadership that furthers the College's mission and values. We have established a Council Committee to lead the search for a new leader.
The Council looks forward to continuing to work with Damian over the coming months as we make a smooth transition to our next Principal. We also look forward to celebrating Damian's many accomplishments and thanking him for his exceptional service. We wish Damian and Dieni every good fortune in the next step of their journey in country Victoria.
Chair of Council
24 August 2021
Dear alumni and friends of the College,
I write, with some sadness, to let you know that I will be retiring from my role as Principal of the College. In the course of next year I will be moving to rural Victoria, as my wife Dieni has been recently appointed Assistant Principal (Head of Campus) of a specialist independent school for students with complex, unmet learning needs. I am delighted to be able to support Dieni in this way, as she has tirelessly supported me throughout my time at Janet Clarke Hall, but it does mean that my time in Melbourne is coming to an end.
Providing stewardship as Principal of the College has been the greatest and most fulfilling role one could ever hope to have held, made incredibly rich by the friendship and support of generations of past students, friends, staff members, and supporters -and not least by the remarkable young people who have been in my care since 2001.
Their success, as they have progressed through and then beyond the College, is testament to the efforts of all those who have served and supported the College over the years, and to those who continue to help to ensure that Janet Clarke Hall remains a truly gentle, creative place perhaps unlike any other.
To all of you, every best wish for your future endeavours, and thank you for all of your support.
Dr Damian Powell
24 August 2021
Our College is situated on the land of the Wurundjeri people of the Kulin Nation, whose stories, educational practices and connection to Country are part of the world’s oldest living culture. We acknowledge the traditional custodians of this land, and pay our respects to Elders past, present and those emerging in our community.
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