Professor F J (John) Willett
When times are tough and the future desolate, that is the time to work and sweat at the new ideas that can change the face of the future.
The foundation Vice Chancellor of Griffith University, Professor Emeritus Frederick J (John) Willett (1922-1993), was born in the United Kingdom and served with great distinction as a pilot during the Second World War playing a part in the eventual sinking of the formidable German battleship, the Bismarck. After the war, he established business schools at both Cambridge University in the UK and at Melbourne University in Australia. His successes in establishing these business schools saw Sir Theodor Bray, Griffith University's first Chancellor, persuaded Professor Willett to undertake the immense challenge of helping build Griffith University from the ground up into a fully functioning university.
He was a visionary man who provided Griffith University with the strong leadership required to deliver on the philosophies which included inclusive and equitable access to university education, that had been established by the organisation's Interim Council in 1971. For his innovative and tireless work as Vice Chancellor of Griffith University from 1972 to 1984, he was honoured with the title Professor Emeritus, the honorary degree of Doctor of the University, and later by renaming the Information Services Centre (Library) on the Nathan Campus to the Willett Centre.