Our Patrons

//Our Patrons
Our Patrons 2023-11-14T23:15:53+00:00

Professor Margaret Gardner

Bendigo Youth Choir – Patron in Chief

Professor Margaret Gardner was the 9th and first woman President and Vice-Chancellor of Monash University from 1 September 2014 until 4 August 2023.

Prior to joining Monash, Professor Gardner was Vice-Chancellor and President of RMIT from April 2005 until August 2014. She has extensive academic experience, having held various leadership positions in Australian universities throughout her career, including at the University of Queensland and Griffith University.

She attained a first-class honours degree in Economics and a PhD from the University of Sydney. In 1988, she was a Fulbright Postdoctoral Fellow, spending time at MIT, Cornell and Berkley. In 2018, she was elected a Fellow of the Academy of the Social Sciences in Australia.

Professor Gardner was Chair of the Group of Eight Universities in Australia from 2020 to 2023. She was also a Director of Infrastructure Victoria from 2015 to 2023, the Australia and New Zealand School of Government (ANZSOG) from 2015 to 2023 and Chair of CASE Asia-Pacific Regional Council from 2019 to 2023.

Professor Gardner was Chair of Universities Australia from 2017 to 2019 and Museum Victoria from 2008 to 2016 and chaired the Strategic Advisory Committee and the Expert Panel of the Office of Learning and Teaching (Federal Government Department of Education and Training). She has also been a member of various other boards and committees, including the Australian-American Fulbright Commission, the ANZAC Centenary Advisory Board and the International Education Advisory Committee, which led to the Chaney Report.

In 2007, Professor Gardner was made an Officer of the Order of Australia in recognition of service to tertiary education, particularly in the areas of university governance and gender equity, and to industrial relations in Queensland. Subsequently in January 2020, Professor Gardner was appointed a Companion of the Order of Australia (AC) for her eminent service to tertiary education through leadership and innovation in teaching and learning, research and financial sustainability.

Her Excellency Professor the Honourable Margaret Gardner AC was inaugurated as the 30th Governor of Victoria on 9 August 2023.

Merlyn Quaife

Merlyn Quaife AM


A performer of great versatility, the distinguished soprano Merlyn Quaife has performed opera, oratorio, Lieder, chamber music and contemporary music to great acclaim throughout Australia, Europe and the USA. She has also performed as soloist with the Singapore Symphony and the Voronesz Philharmonic (Russia). She has appeared with all the State Opera Companies in roles ranging from the bel canto Lucia (Lucia di Lammermoor) to the minimalist Chiang Ch’ing (Nixon in China). She has performed with all the Symphony Australia orchestras, featured in repertoire of every conceivable style from Handel to Ligeti. She has recorded a number of CDs including ‘Aria for John Edward Eyre’ by David Lumsdaine which won her a Sounds Australia Award, she also appears on Naxos, Move, Tall Poppies and ABC Classics.

Merlyn is a regular soloist at St. Francis, a role she has enjoyed for many years. She has had the privilege of performing twice under the baton of Vladimir Ashkenazy and the SSO. In 2004 she combined her two loves, horses and singing, performing the fiendishly difficult Queen of the Night on horseback.
In 2013 Merlyn sang Ortlinde in ‘Die Walküre’ in Opera Australia’s acclaimed RING CYCLE. In the same year she was awarded an AM for ‘services to music’.
From 1995-2007 she headed the Vocal Department at the Faculty of Music, the University of Melbourne. In 2014, Merlyn has been appointed Associate Professor at Monash University, in charge of the classical voice program. She is currently introducing an innovative program unique to Monash but inspired by programs in Europe and the USA linked with her considerable experience as an educator.
Since 2009, with her associate artist, Andrea Katz, Merlyn has been doing recitals to raise funds and awareness for ACRATH (www.acrath.org.au).
For more information on Merlyn Quaife see www.merlynquaife.com