The University of Wollongong Chancellor, Christine McLoughlin AM, has announced she will be stepping down from her responsibilities later this year to focus on other professional endeavours.

Ms McLoughlin informed the University Council of her decision on Friday, and in her statement spoke fondly of her two and a half years as Chancellor during the 2020 and 2021 Covid-19 pandemics.

“My appointment as Chancellor was announced in April 2020, which we now know marked the start of a period of global turbulence that no one could have foreshadowed,” she said.

“To be the Chancellor of UOW as we worked our way through the challenges posed by the global pandemic has been a privilege.”

Ms McLoughlin described her increasing responsibilities in other professional business and not-for-profit roles was a significant factor in making this decision.

“My other roles equally require a high level of stakeholder and government interaction, which I don’t see abating in the future,” she explained.

“I am extremely grateful for the opportunity to be Chancellor at UOW and will continue to wish only the best for the ongoing success of our University.”

Ms McLoughlin juggles many other responsibilities including being chair of Suncorp bank and women-in-sport support body the Minerva Network, and is director of hearing aid maker Cochlear.

A University Council sub-committee will be formed to search for a fifth Chancellor, chaired by longest standing council member, Deputy Chancellor Robert Ryan.

Vice Chancellor and President, Professor Patricia M. Davidson, spoke highly of Ms McLoughlin’s efforts and said she will work with Mr Ryan’s sub-committee and the outgoing Chancellor to ensure a smooth transition for the University.

“Throughout what has been an incredibly challenging time for the University sector, Ms McLoughlin has been a trusted and respected Chancellor, helping UOW navigate turbulent economic and social challenges,” Professor Davidson said.

“The recently released interim report of the Universities Accord highlights the importance of the role of University Council, and Ms McLoughlin has fulfilled her role as Chancellor with tireless dedication and distinction.”

The final report from the Australian Universities Accord will be completed later this year, and Chancellor McLoughlin said she is confident it will reflect the robust plans and re-invigorated campus ideas she will continue to implement.