Australia Day 2019 saw former UniSA Vice Chancellor Professor Peter Høj honoured with a Companion in the General Division of the Order of Australia to mark his broad contribution to higher education, science, research and its commercialisation and to policy development and reform.
He was recognised along with 34 other graduates, staff and friends of the University including graduate, donor and namesake of UniSA great hall – Andrew Pridham, chief executive officer of Moelis Australia and chairman of Sydney Swans Football Club.
Prof Høj, now Vice Chancellor of the University of Queensland, was Vice Chancellor at UniSA from 2007 to 2012 and was made an Honorary Doctor of UniSA in 2017.
Originally from Denmark he graduated from the University of Copenhagen where he was awarded a PhD in plant biochemistry. In 2008 he was made an Honorary Doctor of Science, in the Faculty of Life Sciences at the University of Copenhagen in honour of his own research career in plant biochemistry and his important contribution to building research communities in Australia and internationally.
From 1987, when he arrived in Australia, he forged his career firstly as a teaching academic and researcher in biochemistry and viticulture – a lecturer and senior lecturer in biochemistry at La Trobe University and then Professor of Viticultural Science and Professor of Oenology at the University of Adelaide.
Moving between research and industry, he became a dynamic player in the Australian wine industry as the managing director of the Australian Wine Research Institute, where he helped to pioneer and promote new technologies and advance the industry internationally.
From October 2004 to April 2007 he was CEO of the Australian Research Council – the peak funding body for research in Australia.
An outstanding contributor on a host of industry and government advisory bodies across his career, Prof Høj says this latest accolade is an incredible honour.
A passionate advocate for the transformative power of education, he says the most important thing that universities do is to educate people to go on to do great things which would have been only a dream, had it not been for institutions such as UniSA.
“I’m especially proud to see that UniSA College, which we started when I was VC, has further added to the ambition to strengthen Australia through access to a quality university education, irrespective of your economic circumstances.
“In that respect, I feel that I was privileged to build further on a truly transformative leader – Professor Denise Bradley AC.”
To see the full list of the 2019 Australia Day Honours visit the Governor-General’s website.