According to Wikipedia, Ron McCallum is the first totally blind person to be appointed to a full professorship in any subject at any university in Australia or New Zealand as well as the first to become a Dean of Law in these countries. I had the enormous privilege of attending the University of Sydney law school during Ron McCallum’s tenure as a professor of labour law, prior to his appointment as Dean of the Law school.
Ron is a phenomenal man with a huge generosity of spirit, brilliant sense of humour and incredible, varied talents which extend well beyond law, jurisprudence and human rights. I twice heard Ron play the flute; he might have been a concert flautist.
Ron was born several months premature, in the 1940’s. The treatment Ron received in order to be kept alive meant that he was left completely blind and has never seen. Medical developments have been such that some children born today in the same or similar circumstances as Ron’s birth are able to be effectively treated without any major disabling effects (as I have witnessed first hand within my family), however Ron has recently published a book – on the same subject as this video talk – the title of which is ‘Born at the Right Time’.
This video is Ron’s account of the way in which technology has transformed his life. It is not only informative, it is inspiring.
Ron was the envy of all the other lecturers when I was at university because, as a student, essays and homework for Ron’s review needed to be handed in as a recording on cassette tape. Ron would listen to the tapes at high speed (such that it often sounded as though he was entertaining Donald Duck in his office) and complete his marking in a small fraction of the time of any other lecturer. This video gives some taste of the ‘glass half full’ and ‘where there’s a will there’s a way, and perhaps it might be an even better way’ attitude which Ron spread liberally around law school.
The way in which technology has transformed the lives of people such as Ron is, dare I say, ‘eye opening’ to begin to understand. And the world is a better, and more enriched, place for everyone as a result.
The talk itself is inspiring as well – unlike every other TED talk I’ve seen, Ron of course has no notes and no cues. He delivers a flawless, and utterly inspiring performance. It’s seven minutes you’ll definitely remember.