Emeritus Professor Ronald Gates AO, a former Vice-Chancellor of UNE, has died on April 26, aged 95.
Prof. Gates was Vice-Chancellor from 1977 to 1985. During this period he had to weather the storm of the Frazer government budget cuts after the fiscal freedom of the Whitlam years. As an economist, he was well-placed to keep the University on track.
A dedicated student, Prof. Gates obtained high distinctions in all his final year subjects and was awarded a Rhodes Scholarship at Oxford University in 1946. He also distinguished himself as a Rockefeller fellow of the Social Sciences Rockefeller Foundation in Britain and Europe in 1955, and as a Carnegie Corporation of New York Travel grantee in 1960. He was also a Fellow of the Academy Social Sciences in Australia, Royal Australian Planning Institute and Australian Institute Urban Studies, and was a member of the Economic Society Australia and New Zealand which he was President of from 1969 to 1972.
Prof. Gates held a number of distinguished appointments including with the Papua New Guinea Administration, Port Moresby from 1970 to 1972, as Senior Economic Adviser for the United Nations Economics Common for Asia and the Far East, Bangkok from 1970 to 1973, and Commissioner Commonwealth Commission of Inquiry into Poverty, Canberra from 1973 to 1977.
While VC at UNE, he was asked to be patron of the Australian celebrations of the centenary of the international language Esperanto. He later became President of the Australian Esperanto Association from 1998 to 2001 and wrote a number of crime novels in Esperanto such as La Septaga Murdenigmo (The Sepaga Killer) 1991 and Murdo en la teatro (Murder in the Theatre) 2017.
Prof. Gates was recognised in the Queen’s Birthday honours in 1978 with an Order of Australia for service to urban and town planning, and became an Emeritus Professor at UNE in July 1999.
Prof. Gates loved the New England region and remained in Armidale after his retirement in 1985 until his passing. Our thoughts are with his wife Barbara and their children. A memorial service is being held at 10am on Wednesday 9 May at Piddingtons Funeral Chapel (10640 Uralla Road, Armidale).