Professor Francis Campbell begins as Vice Chancellor at The University of Notre Dame Australia

10 February 2020

Professor Francis Campbell today commenced as The University of Notre Dame’s fourth Vice-Chancellor, since its inception in 1989, beginning his first full day on campus in Fremantle, Western Australia.

He was appointed to the position in March 2019 and spent the rest of the year concluding his appointment as Vice-Chancellor of St Mary’s University in London.

Professor Campbell brings a wealth of experience to Notre Dame, drawing on his deep understanding of higher education, and a practical knowledge of the value and importance of holistic education.

His extensive tertiary qualifications include Master of International Relations from the University of Pennsylvania in the USA, where he held a Thouron Fellowship, and Master of European Integration from the Katholieke Universiteit of Leuven in Belgium.  He has received honorary doctorates from five universities worldwide and is an Honorary Fellow at St Edmund’s College, Cambridge University.

Apart from academia, Professor Campbell has an immense diversity of experience, which includes serving as Ambassador of the United Kingdom to the Holy See, and as Private Secretary and Adviser to former Prime Minister Tony Blair.

“This is the day the Directors and Trustees of Notre Dame, our dedicated staff and students have been looking towards since March last year when we announced Professor Campbell’s appointment,” said University of Notre Dame Chancellor, the Hon. Chris Ellison.

“He has an outstanding reputation as an academic and diplomat and brings considerable wisdom, leadership and international relationships to Notre Dame.

Over the past year, Professor Campbell has been putting considerable thought and effort into initiatives to establish valuable academic partnerships with international universities to provide our students with incredible opportunities to study locally and overseas.

Professor Campbell said he, too, had been looking forward to joining Notre Dame:

“It is a huge privilege and honour to join The University of Notre Dame Australia as the University's fourth Vice-Chancellor.  I am excited at the opportunity, and to be joining such a wonderful team of highly committed and talented people.  Notre Dame Australia is a vibrant, modern and growing University which draws on centuries of tradition of learning and wisdom.

“Notre Dame’s reputation among Australian universities is exemplary and I’m committed to protecting and nurturing its outstanding achievements.

“As a University, Notre Dame shares deep and rich teaching, scholarship and research, foundations it shares with over two thousand Catholic universities and colleges across the world. Its great name nationally and internationally is testament to the way its Boards and previous Vice-Chancellors have been careful custodians of that unique heritage and role.

“Universities such as Notre Dame are incredibly successful in balancing their commitment to academic excellence with a strong pastoral care program for students and staff.

At Notre Dame, we place as much emphasis on our students’ personal growth as their academic development, because the two are uniquely intertwined.

“I’m also excited to be joining a highly experienced and qualified team of professional staff who can be duly proud of what they are achieving for Notre Dame’s students across its three campuses, Fremantle, Sydney and Broome. I look forward to meeting students, staff and the community across all our campuses in the coming weeks.

“I am also looking forward to living in Australia, a country where my family put down roots from Ireland in previous generations.”

Media Contact: Breyon Gibbs : +61 8 9433 0569 |