Australia’s former High Commissioner to New Zealand Patricia Forsythe AM is preparing for a new challenge in the Hunter.
The ex-Sydney Business Chamber executive director will take over from fourth generation Novocastrian Paul Jeans as the Chancellor at the University of Newcastle (UoN).
A graduate of the UoN herself, she’ll begin her role on 1 January following her predecessor’s retirement, after 10 years in the position, on 31 December.
Her appointment came after a rigorous search process, according to the Chancellor Selection Committee chair Kevin Young.
“We are delighted to announce Patricia as the University of Newcastle’s next Chancellor,” the Deputy Chancellor said.
“She possesses the right mix of skills, business acumen and breadth of professional and board experience to successfully perform this important role.
“Patricia has demonstrated her passion and unwavering commitment to the Hunter region, the education sector, the UoN and our community time and time again.”
Ms Forsythe was the nation’s High Commissioner to New Zealand from 2019 to 2022.
Previously, she was a member of the NSW Legislative Council.
She’s also served on numerous boards in both government and the not-for-profit sector, including 11 years on the Macquarie University Council and chair of the International Education Advisory Board NSW.
In 2020, Ms Forsythe was presented with a Key to the City of Newcastle and appointed to the role of City Ambassador.
Twelve months earlier, she was awarded a Member Order of Australia for significant service to business and to the people and Parliament of NSW.
“As someone with a lifelong commitment to education and having been born, raised and educated in Newcastle, it is a special honour to have been appointed Chancellor of the University of Newcastle,” she said.
“The community aspect of universities, and particularly my direct linkages to and appreciation of the UoN, is meaningful to me.
“I believe this will enable me to lead the university effectively with my heart in the right place.
“The role of universities in today’s society – to promote learning, research and the discovery and development of new ideas – continues to be the foundation for the betterment of individuals and society.
“In our region, the UoN’s role is as vital today as it was in the 1990s, when Newcastle embraced a new vision and path forward following the closure of many steel manufacturing plants.
“The Hunter is currently undergoing a period of transition.
“Once the engine room of the state’s economy through mining and energy, the region now must take advantage of emerging opportunities in industries such as renewable energy, technology and defence.
“I’m also eager to continue the university’s enduring commitment to the Central Coast, with our new Mann Street Gosford campus serving as both an economic boost and an anchor for the revitalisation of Gosford’s CBD and wider Central Coast.
“The University of Newcastle is highly-regarded globally and ranked in the QS World University Rankings among the top 175 universities in the world.
“So, I look forward to working with the council and all of our constituents to deliver world-class educational outcomes for our students, our community, the region, and the nation.”
Mr Jeans welcomed Ms Forsythe’s appointment.
“Patricia’s expert knowledge of the domestic and international education landscape including the importance of equity and increased participation, her passion for our region and its development, including the potential for research-driven economic and social impact, make her a great choice as the university’s next Chancellor,” he said.
“Australia’s Higher Education sector is undergoing significant transformation.
“I am confident that under Patricia’s leadership, our university will continue to build on its very solid position.”
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