Griffith welcomes new Chancellor

Griffith University will welcome its sixth Chancellor in October following the retirement of Henry Smerdon DUniv AM.

After an extensive formal search process independently chaired by former Griffith Council Member and former Queensland Premier, The Honourable Rob Borbidge AO, the Deputy Chancellor and Griffith alumnus, The Honourable Andrew Fraser has been elected as incoming Chancellor by a unanimous vote of Council.

Mr Fraser is the first alumnus of the University to serve as Chancellor.

Mr Smerdon’s retirement in September will be the culmination of a long and valued association with Griffith, beginning in 1997 with his appointment to the University Council. Between 2000-2015, he served as Deputy Chancellor to The Honourable Leneen Forde AC and was also Chair of the Finance, Resources and Risk Committee.

Mr Smerdon will leave Griffith University confident about its future. He will also leave the role of Chancellor in excellent hands.

Henry Smerdon AM DUniv will retire as Chancellor in September 2022.

A University Medallist, Andrew Fraser graduated with a Bachelor of Laws/Bachelor of Commerce (First Class Honours) in 1999 and joined the University Council in 2017 before being elected Deputy Chancellor last year.

Currently the Chair of OrangeSky Australia and President of Motorsport Australia, he serves on a range of boards across industries and sectors. As the former Chair of Sunsuper, he oversaw its recent merger with QSuper to form the Australian Retirement Trust, where he now serves as a board director. His previous roles include Head of Strategy and Investment at the National Rugby League, and he was a Member of Parliament in Queensland from 2004-12, serving as Deputy Premier, Treasurer and several other ministerial portfolios.

Mr Fraser says he is proud and humbled to be elected Chancellor at a time when Griffith is making a considerable impact in the communities it serves.

“Education, and higher education in particular, is the key that unlocks human potential. It civilises, it enables, and it liberates. I know this not because I was taught it, but because I have lived it.

“What happens at universities is important for civil society, and it is important economically. Knowledge creation and promulgation is the well-spring of civility and prosperity. Griffith’s role in transforming human lives for the betterment of all is a mission with which I deeply identify.

“More than anyone or anything, Griffith has described the arc of my adult life. Not just what I learnt at Griffith – but how I learned, and from who – created the potential of my professional life.

“With a deep fidelity to the university, I have been determined to give back, and have been honoured to serve Griffith in various capacities since 2016. To be selected by my peers to be the next Chancellor, and the first graduate of the university to serve in this role is the honour of my life,” Mr Fraser said

Mr Fraser also acknowledged the current Chancellor’s outstanding record of service to the University.

“We have been very fortunate to have someone with a deep passion for education and a commitment to Griffith serve as our current Chancellor and equally fortunate that in September this important role will transfer to someone who shares those critical commitments.”

Vice Chancellor and President Professor Carolyn Evans congratulated Mr Fraser on his appointment and Mr Smerdon on his more than 25 years of service during which time Griffith has become entrenched in the top two percent of universities worldwide.  

A staunch supporter of students and staff, Mr Smerdon was in his element at graduation ceremonies where his kind words, firm handshake and ready smile conveyed his admiration of student achievements and his best wishes to come.