University of Adelaide reappoints Chancellor

The University of Adelaide Council has announced the reappointment of former Federal Court Judge and Crown Solicitor of South Australia, The Honourable Catherine Branson AC QC, as Chancellor for a further two years.

The Honourable Catherine Branson AC KC, Chancellor, the University of Adelaide

The University of Adelaide Council has announced the Honourable Catherine Branson AC KC will serve a third term as Chancellor.

Ms Branson, a Law and Arts graduate of the University of Adelaide, joined the University Council in 2013, became Deputy Chancellor in 2017 and Chancellor in 2020.

“I feel honoured and privileged to have been entrusted with this role for a further term,” Ms Branson said after the Council voted unanimously to reappoint her yesterday.

“I thank my fellow Council members for their ongoing support and look forward to what we can achieve together at this time of transition. This year we celebrate the University of Adelaide’s 150th anniversary, having last year announced our intention to amalgamate with the University of South Australia to become something new – Adelaide University.

Both of these things, our past and our future, deserve to be celebrated. As Chancellor, I will work to protect our values, our people, our students and our goals as we move forward.”

Ms Branson is the University of Adelaide’s 17th Chancellor. The transition to the new Adelaide University means she is likely to be the last. She is a former Federal Court Judge and Crown Solicitor of South Australia.

“I feel honoured and privileged to have been entrusted with this role for a further term."The Honourable Catherine Branson AC KC, Chancellor, the University of Adelaide

University of Adelaide Vice-Chancellor and President, Professor Peter Hoj AC, said: “Through a very principled approach to the role, deep dedication and enormous personal effort through some challenging times, Chancellor Branson has been, and will remain, an unrelenting supporter of this University in her continuing role as the Chair of our dedicated Council.

Our broad community should rest assured, that our university’s ambition to be an exemplary institution which values integrity, respect, collegiality, excellence and discovery will be pursued further and with determination by Chancellor Branson for the benefit of South Australia.”

Deputy Chancellor Mr Kenneth Williams paid tribute to the skills and experience that the Chancellor will continue to provide to the University of Adelaide in her final term.

“I congratulate Chancellor Branson on being re-elected for unanimously another term,” he said.

“For more than ten years Chancellor Branson has been one of the key people who has guided the University of Adelaide and helped maintain its position as one of the top one per cent of universities globally.”

The Chancellor’s term will conclude on 12 July 2026.

Biographical facts

The Hon. Catherine Branson was raised on a farm near Hallett in the mid-north of South Australia, graduated from the University of Adelaide in both Law (1970) and Arts (1977), and went on to have a distinguished career in law.

At just 35, Ms Branson became Crown Solicitor of South Australia – and Chief Executive Officer of the Attorney-General's Department – the first female Crown Solicitor in Australia and first female permanent head of a Government department in South Australia.

Ms Branson served for more than 14 years as a judge of the Federal Court of Australia.

As President of the Australian Human Rights Commission for four years, she was a determined advocate for the disadvantaged.

Prior to her appointment as a judge, she practised as a barrister at the Adelaide Bar in South Australia, principally in the areas of administrative law, including discrimination law and commercial law. She was appointed Queen's Counsel in 1992.

Throughout her career Ms Branson has been active in the community, holding senior board positions in numerous organisations involved in human rights as well as her other interests in areas such as the law, health, education and the arts.

She received a Distinguished Alumni Award from the University of Adelaide in 2011 in recognition of her outstanding contribution to Australian law and human rights, and is a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Law. Ms Branson received a Doctor of Laws (honoris causa) from Flinders University in 2012, and a Doctor of Letters (honoris causa) from Macquarie University in 2014.

In 2018 she was awarded the Companion of the Order of Australia (AC) for eminent service to the judiciary and to the law as an advocate for human rights and civil liberties, to judicial administration and professional development, and to governance roles in tertiary education.

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