Patrons are our champions advancing the CU cause through all that they do

Meet our Head Patron The Honourable Hieu Van Le AC

Mr Le was born in Central Vietnam, where he attended school before studying Economics at the Dalat University in the Highlands. Mr Le, and his wife, Lan, arrived in Australia in 1977 and settled in Adelaide, starting with three months at the Pennington Migrant Hostel.

Mr Le returned to study at the University of Adelaide, where he earned a degree in Economics and Accounting.  In 2001, Mr Le’s further study earned him a Master of Business Administration (MBA) from the same university. Mr Le gained Certified Practising Accountant accreditation, and from 1991 worked at the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC). Upon his retirement from ASIC in March 2009, he held the position of Senior Manager – Financial Services Regulation.

Mr Le has served on many community boards and committees, in particular those relating to cultural and linguistic diversity, the arts and education. In 1995 Mr Le was appointed a member of the SA Multicultural and Ethnic Affairs Commission (SAMEAC), and was appointed Deputy Chairman in 2001.  When Mr Le became Chair of SAMEAC in 2007, he was the first person of Asian background to be Chair of this organisation in South Australia.

In August 2007, Mr Le was sworn in as the Lieutenant Governor of South Australia.  Over the next seven years in this role, Mr Le served as the Patron or Honorary member of many organisations. On 1st September 2014, Mr Le was sworn in as Governor of South Australia.  He concluded his term on 31st August 2021. It is understood that Mr Le is the first Vietnamese-born person who has ever been appointed to a Vice-Regal position in the world.

Mr Le was awarded the Australia Day Medal in 1996 for outstanding service to Australian Securities and Investment Commission, and has been awarded the Centenary of Federation Medal for service to the advancement of multiculturalism.

In 2010 Mr Le was appointed an Officer of the Order of Australia (AO) for outstanding service to community, social inclusion and international engagements. In June 2016, Mr Le was appointed a Companion of the Order of Australia (AC) for service to the community in South Australia.  He has also been awarded an Honorary Doctorate from both Adelaide University and Flinders University.

Mr Le is married to Mrs Lan Le, with whom he has two adult sons, Don and Kim.

Meet our Ambassadors


Professor James McWha – Ambassador (Higher Education) 

Devoting his professional career to teaching, research and educational administration, Professor McWha brings a wealth of global knowledge to the team as an ambassador for Children’s University. A recipient of The Centenary Medal and appointed an Officer of the Order of Australia for services to education, McWha’s dedication to the improvement, growth and learning of young people is immense.




Ms Elaine Bensted – Ambassador for Conservation and Wildlife

Elaine is Chief Executive, Zoos South Australia commencing in 2012. Since being in the role Elaine has led an improvement in the financial position of this conservation charity and an increase in Zoos SA membership base from 26,000 to over 50,000. She also led the work that culminated in the release of a 20 year Master Plan for Adelaide Zoo and Monarto Safari Park. This has recently seen the opening of new Visitor Centre at Monarto and exciting plans for new accommodation and safari experiences. Elaine is President of the Zoo and Aquarium Association and Board member on a number of local and international Boards.




Dr Richard Harris, SC, OAM – Ambassador (Health and Wellbeing)

Dr Richard “Harry” Harris has worked in anaesthesia, diving and aeromedical medicine around the world. His passion for cave diving goes back to the 1980’s and has taken him to the corners of the globe in search of new adventures. Harry has a professional and voluntary interest in search and rescue operations, establishing the first flooded cave rescue capability in Australasia. The 2018 Thailand cave rescue was an opportunity to put this training to work. In 2018 he received the Star of Courage, Australia’s second highest civilian award for bravery, and the medal of the Order of Australia for his role in the Thailand cave rescue. Harry was the joint 2019 Australian of the Year with his dive partner Craig Challen. He is now primarily working as a speaker, author and film maker. Harry is an advocate for sensible risk taking in young people, encouraging youth to get off their screens and outside to build independence, resilience and improved mental health.

Mr Bruce Djité – Ambassador (Sports)

Bruce is the Executive Director of the SA Division of the Property Council of Australia. He is currently the Deputy Chair of the West Beach Trust and sits on the boards of the South Australian Multicultural Commission, Children’s University Advocacy Board and is a South Australian Regional Committee Member of the Winston Churchill Trust. Bruce is also a Football Analyst on Paramount+ and Network 10 and a Beyond Greatness Champion for the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup.

Prior to taking the Executive Director role at the Property Council, he was the CEO of the Committee for Adelaide and Adelaide United Football Club’s Director of Football.


Mayor Leon Stephens – Ambassador 

My family and I own and operate a marine and motorcycle business, Boats ‘n’ Bikes, in Port Pirie that we established 25 years ago.  During the course of that period both of our son in-laws have been trained as Marine Technicians and both of our daughters have been trained in Retail.

I am very much a family man choosing to spend as much time with them as possible going camping, fishing and motorcycle riding.  My wife Debra and I are very proud grandparents and love spending time with our grandchildren.

During my business life I have been involved with marketing, sales and management; dabbled in Occupational Health & Safety, Project Implementation and Small Business courses; accredited assessor and electronic media presenting.

I am a third term Port Pirie Regional Council Representative and currently hold the position of Mayor. I thoroughly enjoy the involvement with our region that this brings.

Practical skills I would be known for are that of an analytical facilitator with apathy and respect for whom I am dealing with and that I enjoy helping people. Prior to establishing our very successful business Boats ‘n’ Bikes my employment history included; Area Marketing Manager, Murray Pest Control, Area Marketing Manager, Philip Morris International and Sales and Site Manager for Rural Press Newspapers, The Recorder and Flinders News.

Mr Eddie Hughes MP – Ambassador 

Eddie came to Australia as a ten year old to live in Whyalla with his parents. He left school in Year 12 and worked in various labouring jobs for ten years before going to university as a mature age student. After graduating Eddie worked as a rehabilitation counsellor/consultant with a focus on work based injuries. He also worked as a university tutor, a pre-sentence and parole report writer plus working part time for a local member of parliament. 

He was elected to the Whyalla City Council in 1991 and served for 23 years as an elected member before being elected to state parliament for the Labor Party in 2014 in the seat of Giles. He has a strong interest in regional economic development and the transition to an environmentally sustainable future. He is motivated by a strong sense of a fair go and how that strong sense of a fair go is put into practice. 

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