Murdoch to mark Geoffrey Bolton Library dedication with public exhibition

February 7, 2017

Emeritus Professor Geoffrey BoltonMurdoch University will be naming its Library after esteemed historian, the late Emeritus Professor Geoffrey Bolton, in an official dedication ceremony on Tuesday 21 February.

The Governor of Western Australia, Her Excellency the Honourable Kerry Sanderson AC and Murdoch Vice Chancellor Professor Eeva Leinonen, will dedicate the Geoffrey Bolton Library in front of invited guests including members of Professor Bolton’s family, his friends and colleagues.

An exhibition of Professor Bolton’s life will then be open to the public from 1pm on 21 February and will be showcased in the Library foyer until 17 March.

Entitled Geoffrey Bolton: The Legacy of an Eminent Historian and Iconic Murdoch Figure, the exhibition features artworks, pictures, awards and memorabilia relating to his life.

Murdoch librarians have worked closely with Professor Bolton’s family and friends to assemble the collection.

His widow, Carol Bolton, has donated items including his gown and Tudor bonnet worn at graduations, and loaned pictures of Professor Bolton with his grandchildren to reflect his family life.

“Geoffrey would have been surprised and humbled by Murdoch honouring him in this way,” said Mrs Bolton.

“The family is delighted and grateful for this commemoration of him.”

Visitors to the exhibition will have the opportunity to share their memories of Professor Bolton in a Dedication Book which will then become part of the Murdoch University History Collection.

The Geoffrey Bolton Fund will also be launched at the dedication ceremony. A gift from Mrs Bolton has established the Fund which will provide grants to young scholars to pursue historical research and education.

Mrs Bolton said a Hackett scholarship had enabled her husband to study at Oxford early in his career, and she hoped the Fund would provide early career researchers with similar opportunities.

Professor Leinonen said thousands of students had benefitted from Professor Bolton’s wisdom, and the Fund would enable his name to live on in the developing careers of young researchers.

“Geoffrey was a mentor and supporter to many students, scholars and university administrators in his life and we are very grateful to the Bolton family for helping his legacy live on through the Fund,” said Professor Leinonen.

“We are also very proud to be dedicating our Library to Geoffrey. His contribution to Murdoch University is unsurpassed and he is greatly missed around campus. The Geoffrey Bolton Library is a fitting and lasting memorial to a truly wonderful man.”

The dedication ceremony will be hosted by Professor Bolton’s friend and colleague Professor Lenore Layman with speeches by former politician Fred Chaney, Professor Leinonen, Mrs Sanderson and Mrs Bolton.

Immediately after the ceremony, guests will be invited to join a special Living Library event in the foyer of the Geoffrey Bolton Library, which will involve speakers recalling their memories of Professor Bolton. Broadcaster Bill Bunbury, portraitist Mary Moore and teacher Dr Joan Pope will all be speaking at this unique event.

Professor Bolton was the Foundation Professor of History at Murdoch, as well as a former Senate member, Chancellor and academic. He was also regarded as one of Australia’s most eminent historians.

He died in September 2015, at the age of 83.

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