Judy passed away on 1 March 2022.
We are incredibly grateful for Judy's extraordinary work and commitment through the 1970s and 1980's building SSNT, one of the true giants upon whose shoulders the success of Torrens University rests.
Judy was driven by her fascination and steadfast belief in the potency of vitamins, minerals and herbs in the treatment of a range of chronic illnesses. Indeed, this is what attracted Judy to her future husband - SSNT founder Alf Jacka, and her studies at SSNT in the 1960s. Judy graduated in 1971 and began teaching not long afterwards.
Judy was the director of SSNT in 1972, principal between 1974 and 1985, and chairperson until 1996. Among her enduring legacies of this time was her battle to reverse perceptions of natural therapies and ensure recognition of SSNT and the industry as a whole. A critical aspect of advancing this was developing formal, scientifically structured education curricula and training modules for naturopathy. She made important contributions to the campaign for a positive regulatory system in Australia.
Judy's advocacy for naturopathy and representation of SSNT occurred during a period of challenges that included government inquiries into naturopathy. Along with her fellow pioneers, Alf Jacka and Marcus Blackmore, her work led to several significant milestones. In the mid-1990s, SSNT obtained the first Victorian government accredited courses in Naturopathy, including the Advanced Diploma in Health Science (Naturopathy) in 1996 and the Bachelor Degree in Health Science (Naturopathy) in 1997.
Since then, SSNT has grown from strength to strength as the first naturopathy college in the southern hemisphere and the longest established school of its kind in Australia, and one of the longest established in the world. Today SSNT is proudly part of Torrens University Australia, Australia's fastest-growing university. The legacy of Judy not only informs our natural therapies programs, but our Health Faculty indeed more broadly, and the spirit of Torrens University.
Judy always remained an essential part of SSNT life even after her professional life continued with the establishment of with the Jacka Foundation of Natural Therapies – ever devoted to raising the standards of natural medicine.
Torrens University will soon be releasing a book celebrating six decades of the Southern School of Natural Therapies. It will be dedicated to Judy Jacka – with gratitude for all that has not just been imparted to students, SSNT and naturopathy in Australia, but which also reverberates through generations of students, teachers, community in Australia and internationally.