Meet the Governors

Robert Shenton French (AC)


Robert French was appointed Chief Justice of the High Court of Australia on 1 September 2008 and retired from that office on 29 January 2017.

Robert Shenton French (AC)

He is a graduate of the University of Western Australia in science and law. He was admitted in 1972 and practised as a barrister and solicitor in Western Australia until 1983 when he went to the Independent Bar. He was appointed a Judge of the Federal Court of Australia in November 1986, an office he held until his appointment as Chief Justice on 1 September 2008. From 1994 to 1998 he was the President of the National Native Title Tribunal.

In 2010, he was made a Companion in the Order of Australia and a Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences in Australia. He is a Founding Fellow of the Australian Academy of Law, a member of the American Law Institute, and an Honorary Life Member of the Australasian Law Teachers Association, the Australasian Institute of Judicial Administration, the Australian Bar Association and the West Australian Bar Association.

Mr French was appointed as a Non-Permanent Justice of the Hong Kong Court of Final Appeal in May 2017.

Since August 2016 he has been an Adjunct Professor at the Law School at the University of Western Australia, a Distinguished Honorary Professor at the Australian National University since October 2016 and from 2017 an Adjunct Professor at Monash University Law School.

Mr French is a Board member of the Graham (Polly) Farmer Foundation. He is a member of the Committee on International Freedom of Scientists of the American Physical Society.

Mr French is married to Valerie French and lives in Perth. They have three adult children.


Michael Chaney (AO)

Michael Chaney graduated with Bachelor of Science and Master of Business Administration degrees from the University of Western Australia in 1972 and 1980 respectively. He completed the Advanced Management Program at Harvard Business School in 1992 and has also been awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Laws from the University of Western Australia.

Michael Chaney, Chancellor, UWA

After obtaining his Science degree, Mr Chaney worked for eight years as a petroleum geologist in Australia and the USA. He joined the Australian Industry Development Corporation in 1980 as a corporate finance executive and became Manager for Western Australia in 1981. He joined Wesfarmers in 1983 as Company Secretary and Administration Manager, became Finance Director in 1984 and was appointed Managing Director in July 1992. He retired from that position in July 2005.

Mr Chaney is Chairman of Wesfarmers Limited and Woodside Petroleum Limited. He is Chancellor of the University of Western Australia and a member of the Commonwealth Science Council and the Australia-Germany Advisory Group. He is also a director of the Centre for Independent Studies.

Mr Chaney was appointed an Officer in the Order of Australia in 2004 for services to business and the community.

Professor Paul Johnson

Warden of Forrest Hall

Prior to his appointment as Warden of Forrest Hall in April 2017, Professor Paul Johnson served as Vice-Chancellor and President of the University of Western Australia (2012-17) and of La Trobe University, Melbourne (2007-11). Before moving to Australia, Professor Johnson served as Deputy Director of the London School of Economics (2004-7), where he had been a member of academic staff since 1984. He was an undergraduate and graduate student and post-doctoral fellow at Oxford University, from which he received his doctorate in 1982.

Professor Paul Johnson, Warden of Forrest Hall

Professor Johnson has an international reputation and extensive publications in the fields of economic history and of population ageing. He has been an expert adviser on pension reform and the economics of demographic change to the World Bank, the United Nations Research Institute for Social Development, the British Government and the U.K. House of Lords.

He has served on a number of professional councils, learned societies and professional bodies in the U.K. and Australia, including the Economic and Social Research Council's Research Grants Board, the Council of the Economic History Society, the Governing Board of the Pensions Policy Institute, the Advisory Committee of the Australian Research Council, and the Economic Policy Committee of the Committee for Economic Development of Australia.

He was elected to fellowships of the Royal Historical Society in 1987 and the Academy of Social Sciences in 2001. He holds dual Australian and U.K. citizenship.

Professor Deborah Terry

Vice Chancellor, Curtin University

Professor Deborah Terry was appointed Curtin University’s Vice-Chancellor in February 2014 and is the current President of the Academy of Social Sciences in Australia (ASSA) and member of the Board of Universities Australia. She is also on the Board of AARNET, Australia’s Academic and Research Network and previous Chair of the Australian Council of Learned Academies and the Australian Research Council's College of Experts in the Social, Behavioural and Economic Sciences.

Professor Terry completed her PhD in Social Psychology at the Australian National University. She had a distinguished career at the University of Queensland, initially as an internationally recognised scholar in psychology, before progressing through a number of senior leadership roles, including Senior Deputy Vice-Chancellor.  She was made an Officer in the General Division (AO) in June 2015 for distinguished service to education in the tertiary sector.

Grant Donaldson, SC

Solicitor General of Western Australia

Selection Committee Chair

He graduated in Law at the University of Western Australia before being awarded a Rhodes Scholarship to study at Oxford University. After further study in Law he returned to Western Australia where he was a partner of the firm that is now known as King and Wood Mallesons.

He was, as a barrister, appointed Senior Counsel in 2004 and Solicitor-General in 2012.

He has been a Visiting Fellow at Law School at the University of Western Australia since 1990 and has taught courses in Unjust Enrichment and Restitution, Conflict of Laws, Constitutional Law, Contract and Property Law.

He has served on many occasions as a member of the Western Australian and Australia at Large Selection Committees for award of the Rhodes Scholarship.

He has served as Deputy President of the Equal Opportunity Tribunal (Western Australia), Deputy Chair of the Legal Practice Board of Western Australia and successively as a Council member, Vice President and President of the Western Australian Bar Association.  He has been a member of the Ethics Committee of the Royal Perth Hospital.

He is a member of the Advisory Board of the Law School at the University of Western Australia and a member of the Advisory Board of the Law School at the University of Notre Dame Australia.
He is a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Law, a council member of the Australian Institute of Judicial Administration, a member of the board of the Constitutional Centre of Western Australia and a board member of the Australian Association of Constitutional Law.

He is a director of the Fremantle Football Club.

Dr Andrew Forrest

Industry and philanthropic leader Andrew Forrest grew up on a remote Australian cattle station, Minderoo, before graduating from university and building a career in investment banking, mining and farming. In his professional life he has created some of the largest raw material exporters and infrastructure companies in the world.

Andrew Forrest, Chairman, Minderoo Foundation

Andrew is Chairman of Fortescue Metals Group and the Minderoo Foundation among other significant charities and companies. Recognised widely as family-orientated and a strong community and arts supporter, the vast majority of his time is now invested locally and internationally in ventures to protect and support the under-privileged and communities.

Nicola Forrest

Nicola has been instrumental in building and diversifying the Minderoo Foundation, particularly through education and the arts. In 2014 she was awarded the University of Canberra's Chancellor's Award for Services and Philanthropy, became the Western Australian of the Year in the Community category, and received an honorary Doctor of Letters from the University of Western Australia.

Nicola Forrest, CEO, Minderoo Foundation

Nicola is Patron for Sculpture by the Sea, the Kimberley Rock Art Foundation and Impact100 WA. She is also a Director of the Black Swan Theatre Company and a member of the Prime Minister's Community Business Partnership. Along with Nicola's philanthropic work she is also a director of the Minderoo Group and Managing Director of Minderoo Station. Nicola’s priorities remain her family and supporting the wonderful team that manages the Minderoo Foundation.

Professor Dawn Freshwater

Dawn became Vice-Chancellor of the University of Western Australia in January 2017. She had served previously for three years as The University of Western Australia (UWA)’s Senior Deputy Vice-Chancellor (SDVC) and Registrar, and as Acting Vice-Chancellor in late 2016.  In the role of SDVC, she led UWA through its most significant transformation in over two decades, with the aim of optimising UWA’s world class research, and further cultivating its exceptional educational outcomes and student experience.  She is committed not only to academic excellence, but also to the blend of social enterprise and industry engagement required of a contemporary research intensive university.

Professor Dawn Freshwater, Vice-Chancellor, UWA

A health professional by training and an academic of international repute in her own field, that of mental health, Dawn was Pro-Vice-Chancellor and Head of the School of Healthcare at the University of Leeds.  During this period she worked as a member of the Vice-Chancellor’s Executive Group, building a strategy that positioned Leeds to deliver innovative and leading edge solutions to global societal challenges.  Academically, Professor Freshwater’s work has focussed on forensic mental health, with a particular interest in marginalised groups impacted by severe, long term mental health issues.

A strong advocate for inclusion and diversity, and a values-led leader, Dawn has supported a number of initiatives in this area.  In the UK she achieved a University wide Athena SWAN award at the University of Leeds, and worked towards implementing the Equality Charter Mark, ensuring all staff and students with protected characteristics were represented at all levels.  As SVDC at UWA she delivered an Inclusion and Diversity Strategy, and continues to champion a culture of equal opportunity in her current role. As VC she sits on the NHMRC women in science committee, and continues to contribute to the knowledge base of research in leadership.

Professor Freshwater continues to give back to society, never forgetting her roots, and happily volunteers her expertise and time to support the development of better services for young people, experiencing psychological distress, at home, in care and in custodial settings.


Professor Mark Cassidy

Professor Mark Cassidy is the Deputy Director of the ARC Centre of Excellence for Geotechnical Science and Engineering, an ARC Laureate Fellow, the Lloyd’s Register Foundation Chair in Offshore Foundations, and Director of UWA’s Centre for Offshore Foundation Systems (COFS).

Professor Mark Cassidy

Mark graduated in Civil Engineering with a University medal from the University of Queensland in 1994, and as a Rhodes Scholar, attained a doctorate in Engineering Science from the University of Oxford in 1999. His research interests are in offshore geotechnics and engineering, predominantly in developing models for the analysis of oil and gas platforms, mobile drilling rigs, anchors and pipelines. Mark has published over 245 refereed journal and conference papers and jointly holds two international patents with Singaporean mobile jack-up builders Keppel Offshore and Marine. He is a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering and Engineers Australia. He was named Western Australia’s Scientist of the Year in 2015.

Professor Eeva Leinonen

Professor Eeva Leinonen joined Murdoch University as Vice Chancellor and President in April 2016, after three years of service as Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic) at the University of Wollongong.

Professor Eeva Leinonen

Professor Leinonen has an academic background in linguistics and psychology and has extensive experience in higher education in the United Kingdom, Europe and internationally. Her academic research focuses on pragmatic deficits of children with autistic spectrum disorders as well as higher education topics relating to curriculum and use of technology in learning.

Prior to moving to Australia in 2012, Professor Leinonen held the position of Vice-President (Education) and Professor of Clinical Linguistics at King’s College, University of London.

Professor Leinonen has been actively involved in national and international higher education debates and advisory groups.  Which have included: Chair of the UK Higher Education Funding Council/Quality Assurance Agency advisory group into Employer Engagement in Learning, Trustee of IntoUni Charitable Trust, Member of the Teacher Education Ministerial Advisory Group in Australia; Director and Board Member of Future Directions International; Forrest Research Foundation Governors Committee Member.