Professor Dawn Freshwater, Vice Chancellor of the University of Western Australia, has been appointed Chair of Australia’s elite university body, Group of Eight Universities, seeing her become the first woman to take up the position.
Moving to Australia in 2014 after years of university leadership in England, Freshwater has been Vice Chancellor of the University of Western Australia for 2 years. Previously, she held the position of Senior Deputy Vice Chancellor and Registrar.
Go8 Chief Executive Vicki Thomson said the group is extremely proud to make the appointment. “She was an active deputy Chair of the Go8 in 2018 and her successful development and implementation of a widespread transformation agenda at UWA augurs well for the success of the Go8’s ambitious program of projects and advocacy for 2019,” she said.
Freshwater is a prime example of individual effort as a gateway to success. Leaving school in the UK at the age of 15 after her parents became ill, she worked hard to support her family. A few years later at 18, she returned to the world of education and entered a sub-degree course for nursing.
She did much better than expected and eventually completed a double degree in nursing and education. Years later, Freshwater holds one of the most prestigious positions in higher education.
“I take seriously the commitment of these eight universities to continue as some of the world’s most highly ranked; their ethos of quality education, equity and importantly to above-world-class research to make the world a better place, both economically and socially,” Freshwater said.