Children's University

Emeritus Professor James A McWha AO.

James McWha


Born in Northern Ireland & graduated PhD in Plant Physiology from The University of Glasgow, Scotland. Professor McWha worked in New Zealand at Canterbury University, before being appointed in 1986 as Professor and Head of Agricultural Botany at The Queen’s University of Belfast in the UK with concurrent appointment as Deputy Chief Scientific Officer in The Department of Agriculture. He returned to New Zealand in 1990 as Director of Fruit & Trees in the Department of Scientific & Industrial Research and became the Foundation CEO of The New Zealand Institute of Horticulture & Food Research Ltd in 1992. In 1996 he was appointed Vice Chancellor and President of Massey University before moving to Australia in 2002 as Vice-Chancellor & President of the University of Adelaide, a position he held for ten years before taking up the appointment of Foundation Vice-Chancellor and Chief Executive of the University of Rwanda in 2013.

He was Secretary General of IAUP from 2002 to 2005 and continues to serve on its Executive Committee as Secretary General Emeritus. He is a member of the Council and Executive Committee of the Association of Commonwealth Universities & has been their Honorary Treasurer since 2007. He is an Honorary Professor of The Shaanxi University of Chinese Traditional Medicine, China, an Emeritus Professor in The University of Adelaide, Australia and the holder of an Honorary Doctor of Science Degree from Massey University, New Zealand.

In 2002, the Government of Australia awarded him The Centenary Medal and in 2012 appointed him an Officer of the Order of Australia for services to education.