Outgoing University of Newcastle Vice-Chancellor Caroline McMillen has been honoured with the Key to the City.
Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes, who has worked in lock step with the Vice-Chancellor on Newcastle's transformation over the past seven years, presented her with the Key to the City in a celebratory breakfast at City Hall this morning.
Lord Mayor presenting the Key to the City to Caroline McMillen.
Professor McMillen leaves for Adelaide later today and a new career as South Australia's Chief Scientist but was honoured beforehand at this morning's ceremony.
"It's an honour to the present the Key to the City to Professor McMillen in recognition of her services to Newcastle," the Lord Mayor said.
"Caroline has been instrumental in Newcastle's growing status as a smart, liveable and sustainable global cityand has been a formidable ally in our quest to transform Newcastle into a magnet city.
"She has overseen the expansion of the university into the Newcastle CBD and helped the university gain a rank in the top one per cent of global universities in a prestigious global survey.
"As she departs, I extend to her a profound vote of thanks on behalf of the people of Newcastle and say to her that I will personally miss her wonderful company and counsel."
Professor McMillen and the Lord Mayor have represented Newcastle at UN and smart city forums around the world and were standing shoulder to shoulder in Civic Park in 2016 when the global body's training arm anointed Newcastle a UN City, as host of an International Training Centre for Authorities and Leaders in Australasia.
Professor McMillen joined the University of Newcastle as Vice-Chancellor and President in 2011.
Over 30-plus years in the education sector, she has held leadership roles across research, innovation and teaching.
Her Australian career began in 1983 as a Monash University lecturer; she was appointed Professor, Chair and Head of the Department of Physiology at the University of Adelaide around 10 years later.
Professor McMillen has a Doctor of Philosophy from Oxford University and completed her medical training at the University of Cambridge.
From 2005 she served as Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Vice President: Research and Innovation at the University of South Australia until her move to Newcastle.
As a biomedical researcher, Professor McMillen is internationally recognised for her work on the nutritional environment before birth on the risk of developing cardiovascular disease and obesity in adult life.
She is the current Chair of the Endocrinology, Reproduction and Development Commission of the International Union of Physiological Societies and has served on various state government groups and the Prime Minister's group on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders focusing on maternal and peri-natal health.
She has also served as Chair of the Australian Research Council and National Health and Medical Research Council's grant review panels.