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.


University Profile

The University of Queensland (UQ) is one of Australia’s leading teaching and research universities. For more than a century, UQ has educated and worked with outstanding people to deliver knowledge leadership for a better world.

Across our three campuses, UQ’s 6600 staff and 52,000+ students – including more than 16,600 postgraduates and approximately 15,400 international students from 135 countries – study, research and teach to create positive change globally.

UQ consistently ranks among the world’s top universities as measured by several key independent rankings, including the CWTS Leiden Ranking (32)*, U.S. News Best Global Universities Rankings (42), Performance Ranking of Scientific Papers for World Universities (43), QS World University Rankings (48), Academic Ranking of World Universities (55), and Times Higher Education World University Rankings (69).

With a strong focus on teaching excellence, UQ has won more national teaching awards than any other Australian university, and attracts the majority of Queensland’s high achievers, as well as top interstate and overseas students.

UQ’s 264,000 graduates form a connected, global alumni network, which includes approximately 14,000 PhDs and spans more than 170 countries.

Our 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 continue UQ’s tradition of research leadership. This is reflected in UQ being the number one recipient of Australian Research Council Fellowships and Awards nationally across all scheme years (364 awards worth $257 million).

UQ is an undisputed leader in research commercialisation. To date, UQ discoveries have produced US$16 billion in gross product sales, and UQ intellectual property has founded more than 100 startups – a milestone unsurpassed by any other Australian university.

UQ is also 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 three Australian charter members of the prestigious edX consortium, the global consortium of massive open online courses (MOOCs).

* This ranking is measured by the Impact indicator P(top 10%), ordered by P(top 10%) with fractional counting.

To find out more, visit The University of Queensland website www.uq.edu.au 



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 AO
Dr Zelle Hodge AM
Mr Jamie Merrick
Mr Grant Murdoch
Dr Sally Pitkin
Ms Cecile Wake

Appointed Members – Senate

Ms Anne Cross AM
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


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 Inclusion Committee

Chair – Dr Zelle Hodge AM

Finance Committee

Chair – Mr Phil Hennessy AO

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