Rear Admiral the Honourable Kevin Scarce AC CSC RAN (Rtd)

Chancellor of The University of Adelaide

Rear Admiral the Honourable Kevin Scarce AC CSC RAN (Rtd), born in Adelaide and educated at Elizabeth East Primary School and Elizabeth High School, was the 34th Governor of South Australia from 2007 to 2014. He served in the Royal Australian Navy from 1968, retiring in 2004. His appointments included service on HMAS Sydney during the Vietnam War, postings in Washington and London, Commanding Officer of HMAS Cerberus and Flag appointments as Naval Training and Naval Support Commander.

Kevin also specialised in military logistics and procurement, rising to the rank of Rear Admiral and Head of Maritime Systems at the Defence Materiel Organisation. After retirement, as Head of the South Australian Defence Unit, he led a government team that contributed to ASC winning the contract to build air warfare destroyers for the Australian Defence Force.

In 2007 Kevin was appointed as the 34th Governor of South Australia, a role which he relinquished in 2014.

Kevin was awarded the Conspicuous Service Cross in 1994, an officer of the Order of Australia (Military division) in 2004, the Knight of Grace in the Venerable Order of Saint John in 2007 and a Companion of the Order of Australia in 2008.

Rear Admiral Scarce completed a Bachelor of Financial Administration from New England, Masters of Management Economics at the University of New South Wales (Australian Defence Force Academy campus), and a Masters Degree in National Security Strategy at the US War College (National Defense University) in Washington, DC. He was awarded an Honorary Doctorate from Flinders University in 2009 for distinguished service to the public of South Australia and an Honorary Doctor of Letters (honoris causa) from the University of New England in 2014.

Kevin was appointed on 29th March 2015 as the Commissioner of the Nuclear Fuel Cycle Royal Commission. The Commission delivered its findings in June 2016.

In addition to his role as 16th Chancellor of the University of Adelaide, Rear Admiral Scarce is Chair of the Adelaide Oval Stadium Management Authority, Chair of Cancer Council SA and President of Novita Children’s Services. He is a Director of a number of public and private companies, a Governor of the Coopers Foundation and joint Patron, with his wife Liz, of Anglicare SA.


University Profile

Established in 1874, the University of Adelaide is Australia’s third oldest university.

With an international reputation for conducting world-leading research across a wide spectrum of areas, the University of Adelaide is consistently ranked in the top 1% of universities worldwide and is a member of the Group of Eight , a coalition of Australia’s foremost research intensive universities.

The University constitutes a vibrant and diverse community with over 25,000 students and over 3,500 members of staff across their three main campuses.


The University of Adelaide was founded with a noble goal: to prepare for South Australia young leaders shaped by education rather than birth or wealth in a settlement free of old world social and religious inequalities.

The University’s first Vice-Chancellor, Dr Augustus Short , had a vision for a university open to investigate new fields such as the sciences, modern literature, art and moral philosophy; subjects other than the narrow classics curriculum offered at Oxford University at the time. This vision would be realised in 1882 when the University became the first in Australia to grant degrees in science.

A progressive institution of many ‘firsts’

Reflecting the values of the state in which it was founded, the University of Adelaide became the first university in Australia, and only the second in the world, to admit women to academic courses (in 1881).

The University’s first science graduate was also its first female graduate, Edith Emily Dornwell who graduated in 1885. It was the first Australian university to establish a Conservatorium of Music, a Chair of Music and a Doctor of Music, and the first to grant that degree to a woman (in 1918).

The University of Adelaide also graduated the remarkable Dame Roma Mitchell  who went on to become the first female: Queen’s Counsel, Supreme Court Judge and Governor of an Australian state (SA).

A reputation for excellence

The University soon established a reputation for excellence in education and research and attracted leading academics of international distinction. An early Professor of Mathematics and Physics, Sir William Bragg , won the prestigious Nobel Prize in Physics (1915) together with his son and University of Adelaide graduate, Sir William Lawrence Bragg.

As it grew, the University continued to be a place where its alumni could forge new ground and lead the way in research and discovery. Renowned Antarctic explorer, Sir Douglas Mawson , had a long association with the University that included 31 years as Professor of Geology and Mineralogy. Graduate, Lord Howard Florey , was honoured with a Nobel Prize in 1945 for his ground breaking work in the application and manufacture of penicillin.

The University’s mission

The University is an international institution that distinctively embraces the ideal of the research university, where the excitement, vitality and passion of the search for new knowledge is one in which all students participate; as an enlightened and tolerant community where able students can find support, whatever their background or circumstances; and as a place where the Kaurna people, original custodians of the land on which the campuses now rest, are acknowledged and their culture respected.

Our distinctive features:

  • A student body of democratic breadth

  • A staff of international distinction

  • A spirit of freedom to investigate new fields

  • A sense of importance to the community

  • A goal to prepare educated leaders.

To find out more, visit the University of Adelaide website www.adelaide.edu.au 



University of Adelaide Council

In accordance with s.9 of The University of Adelaide Act 1971 (SA)the Council  is the governing body of the University and has the following as its primary responsibilities:

  1. appointing the Vice-Chancellor & President as the chief executive officer of the University and monitoring his or her performance

  2. approving the mission and strategic direction  of the University, as well as the annual budget and business plan

  3. overseeing and reviewing the management of the University and its performance

  4. establishing policy and procedural principles, consistent with legal requirements and community expectations

  5. approving and monitoring systems of control and accountability, including general overview of any entities controlled by the University [within the meaning of section 50AA of the Corporations Act 2001 (Cth)]

  6. overseeing and monitoring the assessment and management of risk across the University, including commercial undertakings

  7. overseeing and monitoring the academic activities of the University

  8. approving significant commercial activities of the University.

Membership of the University of Adelaide’s Council is as follows:

Ex-Officio Members

Rear Admiral the Honourable Kevin Scarce – Chancellor (to 30 November 2020)
Professor Peter Rathjen – Vice-Chancellor and President (to 7 January 2023)
Professor John Williams – Presiding Member and Chair of the Academic Board (to 31 December 2019)

Appointed Members

The Honourable Catherine (Cathy) Branson AC QC (to 31 December 2018)
Mr David Hill (to 31 December 2020)
Ms Christine Locher (to 30 April 2019)
Ms Kathryn Presser (to 31 May 2019)
Mr Peter Siebels (to 31 December 2018)

Co-opted Member

Vacant position

Elected Members

Professor Andrew Abell – Academic Staff (to 5 March 2021)
Mr Lachlan Coleman – Professional Staff (to 5 March 2021)
Mr Richard Matthews – Postgraduate Student (to 5 March 2020)
Mr Michael Reschke – Undergraduate Student (to 5 March 2020)
Dr Martin Andrew – Graduate (to 5 September 2020)


Other Governing Bodies

Other Governing bodies within the University include:

Academic Board

Chair – Professor John Williams

Audit, Compliance and Risk Committee

Chair – The Honourable Catherine Branson AC QC

Convenors’ Committee

Chair – Rear Admiral the Honourable Kevin Scarce AC CSC RAN (Rtd) – Chancellor

Council Selection Committee

Chair – Rear Admiral the Honourable Kevin Scarce AC CSC RAN (Rtd) – Chancellor

Finance and Infrastructure Committee

Chair – Mr Peter Siebels

People and Culture Committee

Chair – Ms Christine Locher

Senior Executive Review Committee

Chair – Rear Admiral the Honourable Kevin Scarce AC CSC RAN (Rtd) – Chancellor

Special Degrees Committee

Chair – Rear Admiral the Honourable Kevin Scarce AC CSC RAN (Rtd) – Chancellor

Council Selection Committee

Chair – Rear Admiral the Honourable Kevin Scarce AC CSC RAN (Rtd) – Chancellor