Current Issue #488

Vale Denise Bradley


Former Vice Chancellor of The University of South Australia, Denise Bradley AC, died this morning after a long illness.

In a statement from UniSA, Bradley was described as “one of the most influential leaders in the history of the University and in higher education in Australia”.

A formidable intellect and advocate for the role of education in transforming lives, Bradley campaigned for equality within the university and led by example.

Bradley began her career as a high school teacher and faced the challenges typical of her era for a married woman with children aspiring to leadership roles. Ultimately she became a respected leader in higher education in Australia and authored the Bradley Review of Higher Education for the Australian government in 2008.

According to current UniSA Vice Chancellor Professor David Lloyd, Bradley had one of best understandings of higher education in the nation and dedicated her career to making changes that would see more women, Aboriginal people and people from diverse social and economic backgrounds have the transformational opportunity of a good education.

“She understood very clearly that education not only empowers individuals but transforms whole societies,” Lloyd said.

“Her influence on university sector governance and policy leadership has been extraordinary.

“The Bradley Review of Higher Education set vital benchmarks for higher education participation, designed to ensure Australia could justify its claim as ‘the clever country’.

“At this University, she set the tone for what it was to be one of the new Dawkins universities – places unshackled by tradition, where optimism, industry connectivity and inclusion were foundational values and where more Australians, from more diverse backgrounds would start to build their careers.

“As Vice Chancellor, Denise grew UniSA and changed the outlook of the University to one that was internationally focussed and engaged, and a trusted leader in international education in the region.”

Bradley was an Officer of the Order of Australia in 1995; a recipient of a Centenary Medal in 2003; named South Australian of the Year in 2005; made a Companion of the Order of Australia in 2008; and was conferred the prestigious College Medal by the Australian College of Educators in 2011. She was awarded an Honorary Doctorate from UniSA in 2007.

“The University of South Australia would not be the institution it is today without the insightful and determined leadership Denise provided more than a decade ago,” Lloyd said.

“Her passion, her willingness to challenge the status quo, her understanding that change and adaptability, or as she would say, being “fleet of foot” is a tool for success – these qualities are now part of UniSA – part of our shared DNA…our enterprising spirit.”

The Adelaide Review extends our sympathies to Denise Bradley’s family, particularly her son Dave Bradley, who has been a long-standing contributor to our pages.

Amanda Pepe

Publishing Director/Editor
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Amanda is a journalist, editor and publisher who has dedicated much of her career to independent media in South Australia. She is currently editor and publisher of The Adelaide Review.

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