The Honourable Penelope Wensley AC

The Honourable Dr Penelope Wensley AC was born in Toowoomba and completed a Bachelor of Arts degree with First Class Honours at the University of Queensland in 1967. In 1968, Ms Wensley joined the Australian Foreign service and pursued a highly distinguished career as a diplomat, representing Australia in a wide range of overseas posts and senior policy positions until 2008, when she became Queensland’s twenty-fifth Governor.

Among her prestigious diplomatic appointments, she served as Australia’s Ambassador to the United Nations for seven years, in both Geneva and New York, as Ambassador for the Environment, High Commissioner to India and Ambassador to France. She has been awarded honorary Doctorates by The University of Queensland, Griffith University, JCU (James Cook University), and the Queensland University of Technology.

In 1994, The University of Queensland named her as the first woman Alumnus of the Year. In 2001, Penelope was made an Officer of the Order of Australia (AO), for her distinguished contributions to Australia’s international relations. On Australia Day 2011 she was appointed a Companion (AC) in the General Division of the Order of Australia: “For eminent contribution to the people of Queensland, and to Australia’s international relations through senior diplomatic representational roles and as a key contributor to initiatives of the United Nations.”

Penelope is a Fellow of The Women’s College and of Kings College within the University of Queensland, a Fellow of the Australian Institute of International Affairs (FAIIA) and an Honorary Fellow of the Environment Institute of Australia and New Zealand (HFEIANZ). In addition to her role as Patron of Alumni Friends, she is the National Patron of Soil Science Australia. She is Chairman of the Australian Institute of Marine Science Council and of the Reef Advisory Committee, established by the Australian and Queensland Governments to advise on the implementation of Reef 2050-the Long term Sustainability  Plan for the Great Barrier Reef.