UQ to welcome new Chancellor

30 November 2015

The current Secretary of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Mr Peter Varghese AO, will join The University of Queensland in July 2016 as UQ’s new Chancellor, following an election by the university’s Senate.

University of Queensland, Australia
Mr Peter Varghese AO, will join The University of Queensland in July 2016 as UQ’s new Chancellor (Photo credit: UQ)

In statements issued Nov. 24, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and Minister for Foreign Affairs Julie Bishop paid tribute to Mr Varghese.
Ms Bishop said Mr Varghese had had a distinguished career in Australia’s diplomatic service.
“Mr Varghese is one of Australia’s most esteemed public servants and diplomats, having served as Secretary since 2012, High Commissioner to India from 2009–2012 and Director-General of the Office of National Assessments from 2004–2009,” she said.
“Importantly, Mr Varghese has been a constant source of sage advice during a time of significant international challenges. I have personally benefited from his calm, competent and insightful counsel.”
University of Queensland Vice-Chancellor and President Professor Peter Høj said Mr Varghese had a reputation as an outstanding leader of large and complex entities, combined with an outstanding international diplomatic record and proven thought leadership in the Australian community.
“Mr Varghese, a UQ alumnus, University medallist in history, and 2013 recipient of an Honorary Doctorate of Letters, is an excellent choice for this position as he embodies the UQ ideal of knowledge leadership for a better world,” Professor Høj said.
“He has served as Australia’s High Commissioner to both India and Malaysia, and worked in Tokyo, Washington and Vienna.
“His well-rounded global perspective and diplomatic and managerial experience will be of great benefit to UQ and the broader community.”
Mr Varghese will take over from Mr John Story AO, who has served as UQ’s Chancellor since 2009.
“It has been a privilege to serve as UQ’s Chancellor, and I am proud of the wonderful progress that the university has achieved during my time,” Mr Story said.
“The position of Chancellor is both demanding and satisfying. With his outstanding background and broad range of experience, I am confident that Mr Varghese will serve with distinction, and that his leadership will be for the great benefit of the University.
“I wish him all the very best in the position, and I look forward to welcoming him to the UQ community.”
Mr Varghese said he was honoured to be appointed to the position.
“The University of Queensland is a great institution,” he said. “I look forward to working with the Vice-Chancellor and the University Senate to ensure that the university is in the best possible position to meet the exciting opportunities and challenges facing the higher education sector.
“I am also excited to be returning to Brisbane and to be renewing my connections to a university which has played a large part in my family’s Australian journey.”
Mr Varghese will be UQ’s 14th Chancellor. The role is an honorary position with strategic, governance and ceremonial responsibilities and wide engagement with a range of internal and external stakeholders.
Mr Story will retire at the end of this year. Deputy Chancellor Dr Jane Wilson will act as Chancellor until Mr Varghese joins the university in July.

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