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QUT Professor Peter Coaldrake earns international award for inspirational leadership

26th April 2017

QUT Vice-Chancellor Professor Peter Coaldrake has been honoured with the 2016 CASE Asia-Pacific Leadership Award in recognition of his inspirational guidance and development of a strong culture of advancement at the institution.

Conferred by the Council for Advancement and Support of Education, the award was presented today (April 26) at the 2017 CASE Asia-Pacific Advancement Conference in Singapore.

CASE President and CEO Sue Cunningham said the award was acknowledgement of Professor Coaldrake’s drive and commitment to the higher education sector.

As the longest serving Vice-Chancellor of a single institution in Australia, Professor Coaldrake has led Queensland University of Technology since 2003 and prior to that was Deputy Vice-Chancellor for nine years.

Ms Cunningham said Professor Coaldrake’s tenure was one of outstanding leadership.

“He has steered the university through a rapidly evolving higher education and technology landscape, delivering on QUT’s commitments to excellence, accessibility and innovation as well as its dedication to foster individual achievement and advance society through education and research.

 “Under his direction, QUT has reimagined student courses, opened two major interdisciplinary research institutes, and developed new precincts in the fields of science, engineering and creative industries.

“The university has established one of the largest equity scholarship programs in Australia and grown its philanthropic culture. QUT has also developed a Real World Learning 2020 Vision and a digital roadmap to strengthen its commitment to remaining relevant and connected in a digital age.”

Professor Coaldrake has guided an extensive infrastructure program, including development of the $70 million Institute for Health and Biomedical Innovation, the $230 million Science and Engineering Center and the recently opened $80 million final stage of the Creative Industries Precinct.

His vision, leadership and commitment have helped QUT rise through the university world rankings, and in 2013, the institution was rated Australia’s top university under 50 in the Times Higher Education 150 Under 50.

In 2016, QUT was listed in the top 300 universities globally by both the Academic Ranking of World Universities and Times Higher Education World University Rankings.

QUT Chancellor Tim Fairfax AC said Professor Coaldrake had been instrumental in igniting and advancing QUT’s relationship with Atlantic Philanthropies as well as establishing and maintaining relationships with other philanthropic partners.

“He is the driving force behind, and passionate advocate for, the QUT Learning Potential Fund, a perpetual endowment fund that provides scholarships to students who exhibit academic potential but whose financial circumstances might otherwise preclude them from study,” Mr Fairfax said.

“The Fund is designed to be a sustainable generator of scholarship funds and already it has delivered more than 15,000 student scholarships and bursaries.

“Staff donations to the Fund continue to increase each year and QUT now has one of the largest staff giving programs among any Australian university.

“Professor Coaldrake believes strongly that staff giving inspires students, who as alumni, are motivated to give back.

“This has certainly been the case at QUT, and since 2010, there has been double the growth in both financial donations to the university from alumni and in alumni giving of their time and talent to act as QUT Career Mentors.

“He has championed the alumni program since its inception and actively leads the alumni board that provides significant input into the university’s strategy and engagement with its alumni.”

Professor Coaldrake is a well-regarded authority on higher education in Australia and contributor to national policy development and debate.

He was one of two Vice-Chancellors appointed to the working group to advise the 2015 Australian Government-commissioned Watt Review of Research Policy and Funding Arrangements and served as Chair of the Board of Universities Australia, a peak body of Australia’s universities, from 2009 to 2011.

From 2013 to 2015, Professor Coaldrake chaired the Australian Technology Network of Universities, and from 2011 to 2015, he was Chair of the Governing Board of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development Programme on Institutional Management in Higher Education.

A dual Fulbright Scholarship recipient, Professor Coaldrake is currently Chair of the Australian-American Fulbright Scholarship National Selection Committee of the Australian-American Fulbright Commission.

Accepting the award, Professor Coaldrake acknowledged the tremendous changes that have occurred since he entered the higher education sector and the profound challenges that lay ahead.

“As university leaders, it falls to us to show that universities can and will pursue academic greatness while focusing their efforts on improving society and helping to unleash the creative potential of humanity for the public good,” Professor Coaldrake said.

“I am fundamentally optimistic about the future.

“Humanity’s best hope is that we can tap into the potential of our creativity and intelligence far more deeply and comprehensively than we have ever done in the past.

“Universities will remain as the prime vehicle for this purpose, perhaps in new forms and modes of operation, and it will be the task of this generation of university leaders, working with their academic and other communities, to bring it about.”

About CASE

The Council for Advancement and Support of Education is a professional association serving educational institutions and the advancement professionals who work on their behalf in alumni relations, communications, fundraising, marketing and allied areas.

Founded in 1974, CASE maintains headquarters in Washington, D.C., with offices in London (CASE Europe, 1994), Singapore (CASE Asia-Pacific, 2007) and Mexico City (CASE América Latina, 2011).

Today, CASE’s membership includes more than 3,670 colleges and universities, primary and secondary independent and international schools, and nonprofit organizations in more than 80 countries around the globe. This makes CASE one of the world’s largest nonprofit educational associations in terms of institutional membership. CASE serves more than 85,000 advancement practitioners on the staffs of its member institutions.

To fulfill their missions and to meet both individual and societal needs, colleges, universities and independent schools rely on—and therefore must foster—the good will, active involvement, informed advocacy and enduring support of alumni, donors, prospective students, parents, government officials, community leaders, corporate executives, foundation officers and other external constituencies.

CASE helps its members build stronger relationships with all of these constituencies by providing relevant research, supporting growth in the profession and fostering support of education. CASE also offers a variety of advancement products and services, provides standards and an ethical framework for the profession and works with other organizations to respond to public issues of concern while promoting the importance of education worldwide.

Media inquiries, contacts:

Singapore: Pam Russell, senior director of communications, at or +1-202-478-5680.

Chua Beng Hwee, executive director, Asia-Pacific, at or +65-6778-3285.

Australia: Sandra Hutchinson, QUT media officer, 07 3138 9449 or

Nikki Widdowson, QUT media officer, 07 3138 2999 or

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