NEWCASTLE Port Corporation chairman Paul Jeans has been appointed chancellor of the University of Newcastle.
The university announced this morning Mr Jeans would be the seventh chancellor of the institution.
He takes on the role after Dr Ken Moss died last October.
The role of university chancellor is to chair University Council meetings and act as figurehead for the university at graduations and community functions.
Mr Jeans is a fourth-generation Novocastrian who is best known for his role as BHP steelworks manager in 1991 during 40 years with the organisation.
He grew up at Teralba and went to the local primary school before he went to Newcastle Boys High.
He completed a bachelor of engineering degree at the Newcastle University College at Tighes Hill.
Mr Jeans said he had received an "unexpected phone call" inviting him to consider the role of chancellor and he was honoured and humbled by the appointment.
"It's a great opportunity to contribute," he said.
Mr Jeans has been at the helm during some of Newcastle's most tumultuous times at the steelworks during the '90s and the port last month when the state government announced its lease.
"I have fond memories of the way staff at BHP Newcastle put their shoulder to the wall to make us cost competitive," he said.
Mr Jeans said in addition to the university's globalisation agenda he would like to see its achievements touted at a Hunter and national level.
He said he sees his new role as chairman of the board to vice-chancellor Caroline McMillen's chief executive.
"My role will be very much to be leader and to lead the council and make sure it operates efficiently and address values to everything the university does," he said.
"To be there for the vice-chancellor to give her support and advice."
Mr Jeans said he had been involved with the university's engineering department but was looking forward to acquainting himself with the rest of the institution.
He was particularly excited about the university's plans to expand in Newcastle city centre and revitalise the central business district.
"We are part of a very bright future for Newcastle and the Hunter."