Former Supreme Court Judge appointed as CDU Chancellor 

The Honourable Sally Thomas AM has been elected as CDU's new Chancellor.

Former Northern Territory Supreme Court Judge, the Honourable Sally Thomas AM has been elected as Chancellor of Charles Darwin University.

Chancellor Thomas, the University’s second Chancellor since its inception in 2003, replaces chartered accountant, company director and entrepreneur, Richard Ryan AO, who retired at the end of 2009 after six years in the top governance post. She had held the position of Deputy Chancellor since 2003 and continues a 24-year association with CDU and its predecessors.

Vice-Chancellor Professor Barney Glover said it was a coup for the university to secure the services of such a prominent Australian.

"We have attracted someone with a wealth of experience and skills in legal practice with excellent networks into the legal and judicial communities,” Professor Glover said.

“Her strong leadership, coupled with her extensive experience as a committed reformer and contributor to social justice both within Australia and beyond will bring a new perspective to CDU.”

The Honourable Sally Thomas was appointed a Stipendiary Magistrate of the Northern Territory in July 1978. Before this she had been a partner and solicitor in a Sydney legal firm.

Appointed Chief Stipendiary Magistrate in April 1986, she was appointed a Judge of the Supreme Court of the Northern Territory on 10 August 1992.

Chancellor Thomas said she was delighted that the Council had shown confidence in her, and that she felt privileged to serve as Chancellor.

“I’m immensely proud of what the Council, academic and administrative staff have been able to achieve over the past six years, and look forward to further exciting initiatives,” she said.

“I’ve learnt a great deal from Richard’s leadership style and have the utmost respect for his integrity and how passionately he felt towards the University to ensure its prosperity.”

Chancellor Thomas also acknowledged the tireless work of former Chancellors, Nancy Giese AO and the Honourable Austin Asche AC QC, in helping the University develop into the fine institution it is today.

“CDU is working very hard at a number of levels to improve the quality of education for its student body. We’re providing new pathways for students, we’re taking new initiatives in Indigenous education and expanding our research capacity and partnerships throughout the community.”

Chancellor Thomas has been Chairperson of the Northern Territory Winston Churchill Fellowship from 1992 to 2004. In 2004, she was appointed Deputy National Chairman (Fellowship) and held the position until her resignation from the Churchill Trust in November 2009.

Chairperson of the Northern Territory Legal Aid Commission from 1990 to 1996 and a patron of numerous organisations, she was also a Honourary Colonel in the NT Cadet Corp of the Australian Army from 1993 to 1997.

Chancellor Thomas has been a long serving member of the Council of the Australian Institute of Judicial Administration and, in June 2000, was appointed as a Member of the Order of Australia.