Fellows of Senate
Professor Gavin Brown AO
Professor Gavin Brown AO was Vice-Chancellor and Fellow of Senate of the University of Sydney from 1996 to 2008.
(1942 - 2010)
AO, MA StAnd PhD Newcastle(UK) HonLLD StAnd & Dundee, FAA CorrFRSE
Vice-Chancellor and ex-officio Fellow of Senate 1996 - 2008
Professor Gavin Brown AO FAA CorrFRSE, Vice-Chancellor and Principal of the University of Sydney, was born on 27 February 1942 in Lundin Links, Fife, Scotland. Dux of Madras College, St Andrews, he was awarded a Harkness Scholarship for study at the University of St Andrews, where he graduated with a Master of Arts degree (1st Class Honours and the Duncan Medal) in 1963. Professor Brown was then awarded a Carnegie Scholarship, which enabled him to undertake postgraduate study at the University of Newcastle-upon-Tyne where he was awarded a PhD in 1966. Professor Brown also spent a year as a Junior Research Fellow at the University of Edinburgh.
Professor Brown commenced his academic career at the University of Liverpool, where he rose to the rank of Senior Lecturer in Mathematics. After accepting the Chair of Pure Mathematics at the University of New South Wales in 1975, Professor Brown and his family emigrated to Australia. At the University of New South Wales, Professor Brown held a number of academic administrative posts, including Head of the Department of Pure Mathematics, Head of the School of Mathematics and, from 1989 - 1992, Dean of the Faculty of Science.
During his time at UNSW, Professor Brown's mathematical research and, in particular, his work involving Fourier analysis, led to the award of the Sir Edmund Whittaker Memorial Prize and the Australian Mathematical Society Medal. He was also elected as a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Science and later became a member of its Council (1992-1995) and Vice-President (1993-1994). Professor Brown also held Visiting Professorships at the University of Paris, the University of Cambridge and the University of Washington.
From 1988-1993, Professor Brown was also actively involved in the work of the Australian Research Council. He chaired several of its funding committees and, during 1992-1993, was a member of its Council.
Professor Brown moved to Adelaide in 1992 when he was appointed Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research) at the University of Adelaide. In January 1994, he became Vice-Chancellor and held this post until he resigned on 30 June 1996. Features of Professor Brown's period as Vice-Chancellor included a major restructuring of University management, a strong focus on links with industry and a programmed return of the University's budget to surplus. Professor Brown was also very active in national and regional committees during his time at the University. The most notable of these was his service as Chair of the National Advisory Group on Science and Technology Awareness and Promotion.
Professor Brown held the position of Vice-Chancellor and Principal of the University of Sydney from 1 July 1996 to 10 July 2008. During his tenure the University of Sydney reasserted its leadership role in Australia dominating each of the major Australian Research Council funding categories and obtaining outstanding National Health and Medical Research Council results. The University's reputation for quality learning and teaching was demonstrated by its increasing percentage share of first preference applications for admission over the last several years in which it has drawn even further ahead of all its competitors. Professor Brown was also active in supporting the overall student experience and encouraging extra-curricular activity such as sport and debating. Sydney University won the Australian Student Games for the last five years, provided many Olympian and Paralympian athletes and won the World Student Debating Championships as well as the Australasian competition.
Author of more than 100 research papers, Professor Brown continued active mathematical research and was on the board of several international journals. He was a regular commentator on higher education policy and has given invited presentations to international meetings, most recently in China, Japan, Korea, Thailand, Hong Kong, Germany, US and Britain.
As Vice-Chancellor, he was President of the international group of universities, Academic Consortium 21, Vice-Chair of the Association of Pacific Rim Universities and Foundation Chairman of the Go8 universities. He was on the executive of the Business Higher Education Round Table and the Global Foundation and served on the Australian government's Business, Industry and Higher Education Collaboration Council.
In 1997 Professor Brown was awarded an honorary Doctor of Laws by the University of St Andrews and in 2004 an honorary Doctor of Laws by the University of Dundee. In January 2006 Professor Brown was appointed an Officer of the Order of Australia. In March 2007 Professor Brown was elected as a Corresponding Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh.
Professor Brown retired as Vice-Chancellor on 10 July 2008.
The same year, Professor Brown was appointed as the Inaugural Director of The Royal Institution of Australia (RiAus) in Adelaide.
Professor Brown died on 25 December 2010.
Professor Gavin Brown AO was Vice-Chancellor and Fellow of Senate of the University of Sydney from 1 July 1996 to 10 July 2008.
- Vice-Chancellor signs University workplace agreement, 11 December 2003
- Sydney's Vice-Chancellor takes on new international role, 28 July 2004
- Strategic Positioning: Vice-Chancellor talks about partnership with the ANU, 2 March 2005
- Vice-Chancellor Prof Gavin Brown remains at the helm, 2 August 2005
- Vice-Chancellor among those honoured on Australia Day, 26 January 2006
- Gavin Brown to represent Australian universities at UN Global Colloquium, 13 February 2006
- Sydney University Vice-Chancellor appointed Chair of APRU, 28 June 2006
- Gavin Brown and other harmonic analysts, 21 February 2007
- In memory of former Vice-Chancellor Professor Gavin Brown, 4 January 2011.
Retirement as Vice-Chancellor, 10 July 2008
- Presentation by the Chair, Academic Board, 16 April 2008
- The boss with the larrikin streak, UniNews 1 June 2008
- Senate farewell dinner, 2 June 2008
- Alumni Council farewell luncheon, 6 June 2008
- Sydney Uni Sport & Fitness Farewell function, 12 June 2008, at which Sydney University Sport 1852–2007: More than a club by Geoffrey Sherington and Steve Georgakis, was launched by Professor Gavin Brown
- University of Sydney Union farewell reception, 18 June 2008
- Official Farewell to the Vice-Chancellor and Principal, 20 June 2008 and photo gallery
- A final speech from the vice-chancellor, UniNews 23 June 2008
- Professor Brown says farewell, UniNews 24 June 2008
- Gavin Brown farewelled by APRU, UniNews 9 July 2008
- The University's Online Tribute to Professor Brown
Inaugural Director, Royal Institution of Australia 2008 - 2010
Professor Gavin Brown was appointed in 2008 as the Inaugural Director of The Royal Institution of Australia (RiAus) in Adelaide.
- Professor Gavin Brown takes on royal role, UniNews 29 May 2008
On 4 August 2008, Senate's Chair Appointments Committee conferred the title of Emeritus Professor upon Professor Brown.
The degree of Doctor of Science (honoris causa) of the University of Sydney was conferred upon Emeritus Professor Brown by the Chancellor, Her Excellency Professor Marie Bashir, on 15 May 2009. Emeritus Professor Brown also gave the occasional address.
The University of Sydney community was saddened to hear of the death of Professor Brown, who suffered a heart attack at his Adelaide home after a 2010 Christmas Day lunch with his family.
- In memory of former Vice-Chancellor Professor Gavin Brown, 4 January 2011
- Message from the Acting Vice-Chancellor
- Message from the Royal Institution of Australia
- Eulogy by Professor Max Bennett, The Australian, 12 January 2011
- Tribute to Professor Brown by former Fellow of Senate and Pro-Chancellor John McCarthy QC, which had been presented at Senate's farewell dinner in 2008.
Memorial Ceremony, 18 February 2011
A Memorial Ceremony to celebrate the life of Professor Brown was held at 10.00am on Friday 18 February in the Great Hall, the University of Sydney, where tributes were given by Dr Michael Spence, Vice-Chancellor and Principal; Her Excellency Professor Marie Bashir AC CVO, Chancellor; Emeritus Professor Ken Eltis, former Senior Deputy Vice-Chancellor; and Jennifer Doubell.