Mr James Harris

Chancellor of the University of New England

Mr James Harris is a recognised local business owner and has been a Grazier in the New England since 1979. He owns and manages the ‘Abington’ estate and established Forster of Abington Pty Ltd in 1990.

In 2007, Mr Harris was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of the University, University of New England. Mr Harris was first appointed to the University of New England Council in 1994 and has served on numerous UNE Council Committees to date including:

  • Chair, Buildings & Grounds Committee;

  • Member, Audit & Compliance Committee;

  • Member, Finance Committee;

  • Member, Standing Committee;

  • Member, Honorary Degrees, Titles & Tributes Committee; and

  • Chair, Audit & Compliance Committee.

Mr Harris served as Deputy Chancellor of the University from 2001 to 2007 and played a distinguished role on various Selection Committees for various academic appointments.

Mr Harris’ community involvement is also extensive and he has served on a number of community boards and committees including:

  • President of the Bundarra Jockey Club;

  • Chair of the Wool Expo;

  • Chair of the Fund-Raising Committee of NERAM; and

  • Trustee of NERAM.

Mr Harris is a Fellow of the Royal Society of NSW.

In 2019, Mr James Harris was reappointed as Chancellor of the University of New England by UNE Council for a second term of five years.


University Profile

The University of New England is a regional university with its primary campus located in Armidale on the Northern Tablelands of NSW. Established as an independent organisation in February 1954 under the stewardship of Sir Earle Page as Chancellor and Sir Robert Madgwick as Vice-Chancellor, the University of New England was the first Australian University established outside of a capital city.

UNE has a well-earned reputation as one of Australia’s oldest non-metropolitan universities offering great teaching, training and research opportunities and is known particularly for its leading role in the provision of quality distance education and service to rural and regional communities across Australia.

More than 100,000 people have graduated from UNE, with many of them going on to hold senior positions around Australia — and abroad — in business, government, education, research, and community development.

UNE has a reputation for quality research particularly in its five thematic research priority areas: Australia’s future food and water security; Climate change and environmental sustainability; Health and wellbeing in rural communities; Our communities, our neighbours; and Our past, present and future.

The University’s Strategic Plan aspiration is that UNE will strive to be the ‘University of Choice’ for students and researchers who desire to transform their lives and help to build resilient communities.

To find out more, visit the University of New England website www.une.edu.au 



University of New England Council

The overriding function of the University of New England Council is to provide strategic leadership to the University. Council should have regard to the community it represents and ensure that the decisions that it makes reflect the values and expectations of its stakeholders and the community at large.

For further information, refer to the University of New England’s Governance Framework document .

Membership of the University of New England’s Council is as follows:

Ex-Officio Members

Mr James Harris – Chancellor
Professor Annabelle Duncan – Vice-Chancellor
Professor Mark Perry – Chair of Academic Board

Appointed Members – Ministerial

Ms Meredith Symons
Mr David van Aanholt

Appointed Members – Council

Ms Anne Myers
Ms Jan McClelland – Deputy Chancellor
Ms Rosemary Leamon
Mr Robert Finch
Mr Russel Evans

Elected Members

Associate Professor Richard Scully – Academic Staff
Mr Charles Hebblewhite – Professional Staff
Ms Louisa Quiddington – Student


Other Governing Bodies

Other Governing bodies within the University include:

Audit & Risk Committee

Chair – Ms Jan McClelland, Deputy Chancellor

Finance & Infrastructure Committee

Chair – Mr Robert Finch

Honorary Degrees, Titles and Tributes Committee

Chair – Mr James Harris, Chancellor

Innovation & Development Committee

Interim Chair – Mr James Harris, Chancellor

Nominations Committee

Chair – Mr James Harris, Chancellor

Remuneration Committee

Chair – Mr James Harris, Chancellor

Standing Committee of Council

Chair – Mr James Harris, Chancellor