The University of Queensland Chancellor Peter Varghese

Mr Peter N Varghese AO

Chancellor of The University of Queensland

Mr Varghese took up his position as the fourteenth Chancellor at The University of Queensland on 11 July 2016.

Prior to this appointment Mr Varghese was Secretary of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade from 3 December 2012 to 1 July 2016. His diplomatic appointments include High Commissioner to India (2009-12), High Commissioner to Malaysia (2000-02) and postings to Tokyo, Washington and Vienna.

From 2004-09, Mr Varghese was Director General of the Office of National Assessments, a statutory office which reports directly to the Prime Minister and also coordinates the Australian intelligence community.  In 2003, Mr Varghese was the senior international adviser in the office of Prime Minister John Howard.  He also headed up the international division of the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet from 1998-99.

In 1996-97, Mr Varghese headed up the secretariat which drafted Australia’s first White Paper on foreign and trade policy.

Mr Varghese was appointed an Officer in the Order of Australia (AO) in 2010 for distinguished service to public administration, particularly in leading reform in the Australian intelligence community and as an adviser in the areas of foreign policy and international security. He was awarded a Doctor of Letters honoris causa by The University of Queensland in July 2013 in recognition of his distinguished service to diplomacy and Australian public service.

Mr Varghese is a graduate and university medalist in history from The University of Queensland.  He is married to Margaret Varghese.  They have one adult son and a grandson.

For more than a century, The University of Queensland (UQ) has maintained a global reputation for creating positive change by delivering knowledge leadership for a better world.

UQ ranks among the world’s top universities, as measured by several key independent rankings, including the CWTS Leiden Ranking 2017 (35)*, the Performance Ranking of Scientific Papers for World Universities (41), US News Best Global Universities Rankings (45), QS World University Rankings (47), Academic Ranking of World Universities (55), and Times Higher Education World University Rankings (65).

At UQ, we’re changing the way higher education is imagined and experienced. Our students enjoy innovative and flexible learning options, diverse and dynamic partnership opportunities, and an integrated digital and campus learning environment.

More than 52,000 students, including the majority of Queensland’s highest academic achievers and top interstate and overseas students, study across UQ’s three beautiful campuses in South-East Queensland at St Lucia, Herston and Gatton. They include more than 16,400 postgraduate and about 15,400 international students who contribute to a diverse, supportive and inclusive campus community.

With a strong focus on teaching excellence, having won more national teaching awards than any other Australian university, UQ is committed to providing students with the best opportunities and practical experiences during their time at university, empowering them with robust knowledge and transferable skills that will prepare them to exceed expectations throughout their careers.

University of Queensland logo.


One of Australia’s leading teaching and research universities.


UQ’s teachers share a passion for excellence in education,
receiving more Australian Awards for University Teaching than
any other Australian university.


Tens of millions of women and girls have been protected against
cervical cancer by the UQ-invented Gardasil® vaccine.


UQ is proud to collaborate with research institutions and
industry in 49 countries around the world.

In December 2017, UQ celebrated its 250,000th graduate joining its global alumni network, which includes approximately 13,300 PhDs and spans more than 170 countries.

UQ’s six faculties, eight globally recognised research institutes and 100+ research centres attract an interdisciplinary community of more than 1500 scientists, social scientists and engineers who champion research excellence and continue UQ’s tradition of research leadership. This is reflected in UQ being awarded more Australian Research Council funding ($25.8 million) for fellowships and awards commencing in 2017 than any other Australian university.

UQ has an outstanding track record in commercialising innovation, with major technologies employed across the globe and gross product sales of more than $15.5 billion.

In 2017, UQ was ranked first in Australia by the prestigious Nature Index for life sciences, and 78th overall in the world.

UQ is one of only three Australian members of the global Universitas 21; a founding member of the Group of Eight (Go8) universities; a member of Universities Australia; and one of only two Australian charter members of the prestigious edX consortium, the world’s leading not-for-profit consortium of massive open online courses (MOOCs).

UQ employs more than 6600 academic and professional staff (full-time equivalent) and has a $1.8 billion annual operating budget.

* This ranking reflects P, P (top 10%) and PP (top 10%) impact indicators using fractional counting.

To find out more, visit The University of Queensland website opens-in-a-new-window

The University of Queensland Senate

Senate is the peak governing body of the University as constituted by The University of Queensland Act 1998. The 34th Senate began its four-year term on 1 January 2018.

The primary role of Senate is to exercise oversight of the University and its affairs. In particular, Senate ensures that the appropriate structures, policies, processes and planning are in place for UQ to effectively manage its activities and achieve its goals. Senate reviews and approves the strategic direction of the University as outlined in The University of Queensland’s Strategic Plan.

Membership of The University of Queensland’s Senate is as follows:

Ex-Officio Members

Mr Peter N Varghese AO – Chancellor
Professor Peter Høj – Vice Chancellor and President
Professor Peter Adams – President of the Academic Board

Appointed Members – Governor-in-Council

Ms Julieanne Alroe
Mr Tim Crommelin
Mr Phil Hennessy
Dr Zelle Hodge AM
Mr Jamie Merrick
Mr Grant Murdoch
Dr Sally Pitkin
Ms Cecile Wake

Appointed Members – Senate

Ms Anne Cross
Ms Tonianne Dwyer
Ms Michelle Tredenick

Elected Members

Professor Greg Hainge – Academic Board
Associate Professor Tony Roberts – Academic Staff
Ms Rebecca Hurst – Professional Staff
Associate Professor Douglas Cavaye – Graduate
Adjunct Associate Professor Dimity Dornan AO – Graduate
Ms Kathy Hirschfeld – Graduate
Mr Thomas Mackay – Postgraduate Student
Mr Zachary Thomas – Undergraduate Student

Other Governing Bodies

Other Governing bodies within the University include:

Academic Board

President – Professor Peter Adams

Campus Infrastructure Committee

Chair – Ms Tonianne Dwyer

Equity, Diversity and the Status of Women Committee

Chair – Dr Zelle Hodge AM

Finance Committee

Chair – Mr Phil Hennessy

Governance Committee

Chair – Mr Peter N Varghese AO, Chancellor

Honorary Awards Committee

Chair – Mr Peter N Varghese AO, Chancellor

Nominations and Remuneration Committee

Chair – Mr Peter N Varghese AO, Chancellor

Risk Committee

Chair – Mr Grant Murdoch

Senate Student Appeals Committee

Chair – Professor Joanne Wright

Senate Discipline Appeals Committee

Chair – Dr Sally Pitkin

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