The Hon Frank Vincent, AO QC, was awarded an Honorary Degree by Victoria University on Tuesday 29 May 2012.
In recognition of his exceptional contribution to Victoria University, to the legal profession and for his tireless activities in the cause of social justice, he was admitted to the degree of Doctor of Laws, honoris causa.
At the ceremony VU's Vice-Chancellor Professor Peter Dawkins said that Victoria University was proud to honour The Hon Frank Vincent for his outstanding contribution to the growth and development of Victoria University during his almost 10 years as Chancellor, for his achievements and service to the judiciary, and for his contribution to the community through his commitment to social justice.
In January 2001, Mr Vincent became Victoria University's second Chancellor a position he held until his retirement in August 2009. During this time he led and oversaw considerable change in both the governance and strategic direction of the University. He worked tirelessly and demonstrated an on-going commitment to providing an excellent level of tertiary education in the western region of Melbourne and providing increased access to tertiary education for young people of the region.
The Hon Frank Vincent brought his strong sense of commitment to social justice to the University, and strengthened VU's relationship with the communities of the western region of Melbourne, as well as forging a strong relationship with the emerging nation of Timor L'Este. He also played a significant role in positioning the University in international markets, particularly with China.
In his legal career his focus was on criminal law, appearing in approximately 200 murder trials, a record number unlikely to be equalled.
He also worked with several Aboriginal legal aid services, particularly during the years 1975 to 1985 when he spent a substantial part of each year in the Northern Territory working with the Aboriginal community.
He was appointed a Judge of the Supreme Court of Victoria in 1985 and at the time of his retirement in 2009 he had been a Judge of the Court of Appeal for 9 years. He was Deputy Chair and then Chair of the Victorian Adult Parole Board, a position he occupied for 17 years. He has also served as a member of the Victorian Law Reform Commission, consultant to the Australian Law Reform Commission and Chairman of the Victorian Criminal Bar Association and since his retirement he has been appointed by successive Attorneys General to conduct two Inquiries into matters of public importance.
The Hon Frank Vincent is currently Adjunct Professor (International Legal Education), Provost Sir Zelman Cowen Centre and Distinguished University Fellow at Victoria University.