As the recipient of the 2008 Sydney Alumni Award for Community Achievement, Steele’s service to the University also extended beyond the academic realm. Over the years, he has volunteered his time and energy to various organizations including the University of Sydney Alumni Council and the Sydney University Arts Association, where he served as Honorary Treasurer.
Steele represented the University internationally by brokering discussions of mutual interests between France and Australia, which earned him numerous prestigious French honours, including the Chevalier de la Légion d’honneur (awarded in 1996) and Officer of the National Order of the Legion. of Honor in 2008.
He also received the Federation Centenary Medal from the Australian Government in 2003 and was made a Member of the Order of Australia in 2006.
Steele continued to contribute to the University of Sydney. More recently, following its public opening in November 2020, Steele has volunteered his time, expertise and pre-eminent status on Sydney’s art scene to foster connections between the Chau Chak Wing Museum and the wider community. His promotion of the collections and the encouragement of the staff undoubtedly contributed to the rapid success of the Museum.
Associate Professor Ross Steele is also well known in Sydney as a patron of the arts, attending numerous theater productions over the years and serving on the board of the Lysicrates Foundation, which supports Sydney playwrights.