Richard Read – Retirement Speech 2014

Guest Posts

One of our guest bloggers Richard Read retired yesterday after 25 years of teaching at The University of Western Australia. His farewell was held last night at the University’s Cullity gallery where it was announced there will forever be a prize in art history in his name. Here is Richard’s speech from the night; this isn’t one of those mundane retirement speeches – instead it’s one worth reading! 

It’s all true. No thank you very much for those ludicrously kind lies, Simon. It’s a long time now since I first met you looking a bit like Hamlet and at that time keeping plans for a stellar career close to your chest. It’s really kind of you to put on such a wonderful spread for me.

Good speeches should be short and sharp. This is a bad speech that will last well over twenty five minutes so charge your glasses. At last a subject dear to my heart that some say I have always lectured on: MYSELF. 

There is good news from UK. Finally the craze for playing Monty Python’s ‘look on the bright side of life’ at funerals is over. But now there’s something far worse. The deceased are employing actors to impersonate themselves at funerals. Now I am full of admiration and gratitude for those elegantly designed programme cards – thanks to Roger Garwood for the unacknowledged photograph on the back – but I cannot help noticing their uncanny resemblance to a funeral programme. ‘Having reached the venerable age of twenty five, Richard Read, 1990 to 2015, died peacefully in the bosom of his Faculty.’ If I hadn’t been an academic I would probably have trod the boards as a thespian. Now I can combine both professions by playing myself at my own last rites – hence the macabre t-shirt.

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Due to the wonders of technology the voice of Dr Georgina Downey was beamed into the room of listeners from a galaxy far away (or possibly the University of Adelaide).  You can read Georgina’s contribution here.