January 1971

The Griffith Council

Interim Council (January 1971 - October 1971) | Griffith Council (October 1971 - )

The Griffith University Interim Council, chaired by Theodor Bray, was appointed by the Queensland Government in December of 1970 and was charged with establishing South-East Queensland's second university. Theodor Bray was given extensive control over the Council including the right to hand-pick its members. The only condition the Queensland Government placed upon Theodor Bray and this fledgling authority was that this new university was to be named 'Griffith University' in honour of great Queenslander Sir Samuel Griffith. The Interim Council had its first meeting on 22 January 1971 and work began immediately on establishing organisational structure, legislation, site development, and academic philosophy. From the beginning, Theodor Bray directed the Council to develop policies and practices that were inclusive, non-elitist, and engaged in different ways with the Brisbane and wider community. He believed that this pioneering approach would ensure that Griffith University would be seen as a people's university.

The Interim Council of 13 members first met in January of 1971, chaired by Theodor Bray. The original Council members were:

  • Mr T C Bray (Chairman)
  • Mr L W Butts (Vice-Chairman)
  • Mrs G M Budtz-Olsen
  • Mr N M Gow
  • Mr A Petfield
  • Mr S Schubert
  • Mr A Sewell
  • Mr W Wood
  • Professor W J Campbell
  • Professor S Lipton
  • Professor C F Presley
  • Professor G E Roberts
  • Professor P Mason

As planning across all areas gained momentum, the Griffith University Interim Council was replaced by the Griffith University First Council (now the Griffith University Council), taking office in September 1971. The make-up of members for the First Council remained unchanged from the original Interim Council representatives listed above. After his appointment in March of 1972, founding Vice Chancellor Professor John Willett was added to the Griffith University First Council. At the first meeting of the fully-constituted Council in July 1975, the now Sir Theodor Bray (receiving a knighthood for services to journalism and education in the 1975 New Year Honours List) was elected Chancellor of the University and Mr L W H Butts was elected Deputy Chancellor. Mr Butts sadly passed away (October), shortly after this appointment.

The Griffith Council (today)

The Griffith University Council has changed since its inception in 1971. Whilst external member numbers have remained relatively static, the overall Council representative numbers has doubled since it originated, with staff and students now represented as full members and with senior executive staff having rights of audience and debate. Despite an increase in member numbers and administrative responsibility, the Council today has some of the same responsibilities including managing the affairs of Griffith University, growing and promoting the organisation, appointing University staff, improving and amending governance procedures as necessary, and managing and controlling the organisation's finances.