Retiring Chancellor Michael Mann AO said he was very pleased with the Board’s decision.
"On behalf of the University Board, I am delighted to announce Mr Varghese as the University’s new chancellor."
"Jim is a highly effective, respected, and successful leader in both the private sector and public institutions. His reputation in the Higher Education sector is impeccable, with a commitment to the highest standards of governance, transparency, equity, and stakeholder management."
"Torrens University was founded with the vision to be Australia's international university, and very few Australians better embody the ethos of Torrens’ vision to connect the world for good.”
"He is highly regarded for his commitment to global citizenship, social justice, equality, and his belief that business has a role to play in ensuring greater public good."
"I have every confidence Jim will continue the extraordinary outreach that defines Torrens University. I'm proud to be handing over the reins to such a distinguished individual with his many accomplishments."
Image: Retiring Chancellor Michael Mann AO (right) pictured with former US President Bill Clinton
Education is a fundamental human right
Jim Varghese had a distinguished career in the Australian Public Service. He was the Director-General of the Department of Primary Industries in Queensland after having also been Director-General of Education. He has also headed Government departments in Victoria.
More recently, Jim has delivered significant success in private enterprise. He was CEO of the Springfield Land Corporation and remains as Chair. He is also the Chair of the Australia India Business Council.
"My family came to Australia in the 1960s, and education was a core family value. I believe education is a fundamental human right, and I also believe that innovation is crucial to ensure greater access to education. Torrens University balances both considerations and also manages to run a highly successful business."
"If we are to maximise technology to ensure a globally oriented university for the future with acute relevance to industry, and if we are going to properly maximise technology to ensure a university for the future, Australia needs institutions like Torrens to flourish."
"I'm also motivated by Torrens University's public good, its role as a Certified B Corporation, and the values of Torrens, particularly to Begin and End with People. This can be seen in Torrens’ approach to the global pandemic, where 270k people have completed free short courses and online digital initiatives from Torrens at a time of career uncertainty for many."
"I take the reins of Chancellor from Michael Mann AO, a humble and distinguished individual, who ten years ago had the vision to establish a new Australian University and has contributed so much to designing and building it from scratch. Torrens has always thought 'outside the box' and has built on the trust given to it from the Australian institutions to ensure extraordinary outcomes. This is Michael’s legacy.”
“From 164 students, to 20k+ today. Torrens University is a hothouse for innovation, industry partnerships, high quality research. It’s a global movement I am proud to say I am to be part of.”
Building the university of the future
Torrens University President and CEO Linda Brown also reflected on the announcement.
“Michael Mann has contributed so much to not just Torrens University, but to higher education globally. Michael has never tolerated the ‘status quo,’ he helped instil a challenger mindset at Torrens, and quite rightly identified the need for more innovation and a different approach in Australian Higher Education. Jim Varghese is the perfect individual to continue this legacy forward.”
“During the global pandemic, we have focused truly on what matters – our values and our vision. Our vision to connect the world for good, is underpinned by a belief that student happiness should be the ultimate measure of success. For us success is in our partnerships with industry and graduates getting the jobs they love. Success is in ensuring an education without borders in everything we do. Success is truly being a university for the future.”
“In all of this, Jim Varghese is perfectly placed to work with our distinguished board, our students, our staff, our alumni, our industry partners and the community.”
Strategic Education Inc, the owner of Torrens University, also expressed their delight at the announcement.
“We are thrilled to welcome Jim to Torrens University. Jim has an impeccable record in both the public service in Australia, in commercial enterprise, and he also has a strong track record working globally. His deep background in education, and his commitment to ensuring greater access to education for all, means he is the ideal choice of Chancellor," said Robert S. Silberman, Chairman of the Board of Strategic Education Inc.
Main image: Incoming Chancellor Mr Jim Varghese AM