Stuart Piggin Citation
Stuart Piggin Citation ACT ThD (Honoris Causa) 2023
Stuart Piggin is a history-maker.
Starting with his groundbreaking doctoral thesis, “Making Evangelical Missionaries, 1789-1858” (1984), Stuart has focussed on writing evangelical history in Australia. To give one example, consider, Evangelical Christianity in Australia: Spirit, Word and World (1996). More recently, with Robert Linder, Stuart published a monumental masterwork in two volumes: The Fountain of Public Prosperity: Evangelical Christians in Australian History 1740-1914 (2018) and Attending to the National Soul: Evangelical Christians in Australian History 1914-2014 (2020).
Yet Stuart Piggin is no cloistered academic, remote and aloof from the world he observes.
Not satisfied to be merely a detached spectator in the stands, or even a supporter offering encouragement from the sidelines, Stuart is in there, boots and all, playing his part, making history.
At the national level, at Parliament House, he has presented at the National Forum on Australian Christian Heritage. He has served his denomination on synods and committees. He has contributed to higher education, having taught at the Universities of London, Sydney, and Wollongong, and serving as the Director of the Centre for the History of Christian Thought and Experience at Macquarie University from 2005 to 2016. He has served his academic community more widely, such as in his role as founding President of the Evangelical History Association of Australia. He is a Fellow of the Religious History Association and was founding Chairman of the Australian Christian Heritage Foundation. He has served the student teaching and learning community as Master of Robert Menzies College from 1990 to 2004. He has served in his local church. He is mentor, supervisor and advocate. He is a husband and a father and we welcome here his wife, Rosemary, and daughters Marianne and Victoria. He is a man of strong Christian character and conviction.
It would be amiss, in this assembled company, not to mention Stuart’s service to the Australian College of Theology. Stuart has served as a member of the Academic Board and as Head of the Department of Christian Thought. A colleague has said, “he thinks ‘outside the box’ and with sensitivity” and, “along with academic rigour there is a pastoral heart.”
So, Stuart Piggin is a history maker; not only as a critic but also as an actor on the stage of Australian Evangelical Christianity.
To confer the award of Doctor of Theology, the Board must be satisfied that the nominee meets one of four criteria. In brief, the four criteria span scholarship, education, leadership and service. Without accusing Stuart of being an over-achiever, it seems he ticks all the boxes.
So, making history here today, ‘the historian of the Australian soul’: let us congratulate Dr Stuart Piggin.