Jillian Broadbent

Honorary Doctor of Laws

Citation delivered by Dr Elizabeth Magassy, Deputy Chancellor at the University of Wollongong on the occasion of the admission of Jillian Rosemary Broadbent as a Doctor of Laws

Chancellor, I present Jillian Rosemary Broadbent AC.

Since her appointment as Chancellor in 2009 and as Chair of University Council, Jillian provided outstanding governance of the University. Her strong belief in higher education and the mix of pragmatism and warmth in her approach were well suited to UOW. She combined well with Vice-Chancellor Paul Wellings and through their individual strengths, mutual respect and friendship, they formed an effective team. Under their leadership the University expanded its global research impact, deepened its ties to the worlds of humanities and the arts, and strengthened its reputation for providing a positive student experience that produces career-ready graduates who are highly sought after by employers.

Over the eleven years of her Chancellorship, the University greatly benefitted from Jillian’s exceptional skills and experience in finance and investment, innovation and governance evidenced through her guidance of the UOW Council and in her contribution to the development of the University to ensure its continued success.

As the University’s highest official, Jillian chaired over 125 Council and Committees of Council meetings and led numerous engagement activities with the University’s students and staff, and local, national and international communities. Under her leadership and with her extreme generosity, dedication and commitment, the University flourished while retaining its commitment to and interest in the individuals that make the institution so successful and distinctive.

Presiding at over 100 graduation ceremonies, Jillian could be seen to enjoy her participation in celebrating the achievements of thousands of students who had accomplished their own personal success in completing their study.

Jillian encouraged Council support of the strategic direction, growth and development of the University having contributed to the implementation and vigilant oversight of successive university strategies covering 2011 to 2030 and beyond. Over her term as Chancellor, the University has become one of the world’s most respected modern universities where it is now ranked among the world’s top one percent, and of this she remains justifiably proud.

Jillian oversaw the University as it expanded its footprint both offshore and onshore including the University’s expansion of its operations with the establishment of the UOW South Western Sydney Campus at Liverpool and, in order to achieve the UOW health and wellbeing vision, the development of a purpose built healthcare facility at the Innovation Campus Health and Wellbeing Precinct.

During her tenure, Jillian helped guide many innovative University projects, including research, teaching and community engagement facilities such as the Sustainability Building Research Centre, the SMART Infrastructure Facility, the Global Challenges Program; the Early Start Discovery Space; Student Accommodation residences; the iAccelerate and Molecular Horizons facilities; the NUW Alliance; the University’s Campus Master Plan; the transformative new Bachelor of Arts in Western Civilisation, and the Arts, Social Sciences and Humanities Building – which has been aptly named in her honour. She was always ready to firmly battle any resistance which might arise.

However, Jillian’s achievements extend far beyond her role as Chancellor of the University. As one of Australia’s most respected businesswomen Jillian has held numerous Board positions on some of Australia’s most prestigious companies, including the Reserve Bank of Australia, Macquarie Bank, Woolworths, Woodside Petroleum, SBS, Coca-Cola Amatil and Qantas. Jillian was President of Chief Executive Women and served on the Sydney Advisory Board for the Salvation Army Eastern Territory. She has also served on the selection committees for the Churchill Fellowship and Rhodes Scholarship.

Maintaining an active interest in the Arts, Jillian has served on the Board of the Sydney Theatre Company, the Sydney Dance Company, was Chairman of the National Institute of Dramatic Art, founding director and Trustee of the Australian Brandenburg Orchestra, and, with the Art Gallery of NSW, was Foundation Vice-Chairman, Vice President and served on the Board of Trustees.

Jillian cares about the well-being of all Australians and the environment. As the inaugural Chairman of the Clean Energy Finance Corporation for five years, her governance experience, business acumen and outstanding leadership skills were employed with great success to guide and manage the Corporation to ensure its survival, despite opposition, and ultimately its development and success.

With so many significant contributions over the years, Jillian has earned a number of national awards including the Qantas/Bulletin Businesswoman of the Year in 1987 and the Australian Centenary Medal in 2001. She was awarded an Honorary Doctor of Letters from the University of Western Sydney in 2000, was made an Officer of the Order of Australia in 2003, and then awarded a Companion of the Order of Australia in 2019. Also in 2019, Jillian was awarded a Fellow of the University of Wollongong in Dubai in recognition for her outstanding global leadership.

For her outstanding contribution to the University, her commitment and dedication to her role as Chancellor and Chair of the University’s governing body, and for her significant services at a national level, I present Ms Jillian Broadbent AC for the award of Doctor of Laws (honoris causa) at the University of Wollongong.