Former deputy Liberal leader Julie Bishop will become the next chancellor of the Australian National University - the first woman to hold the position in the Canberra university's 73-year history.
The announcement comes just months after Ms Bishop left politics following a long stint as foreign minister and then an unsuccessful tilt at the Liberal leadership.
Ms Bishop will replace outgoing chancellor and a fellow veteran of the foreign affairs portfolio Gareth Evans when he retires on December 31.
In a pre-recorded message released on Thursday, Ms Bishop said the world was facing unprecedented change amid the fourth industrial revolution and a shifting geopolitical landscape.
"ANU is playing a vital role in the research and development to create a better world," she said.
"[Its] strong links globally and in our region make it one of Australia's most important institutions and I look forward to working with it as we continue to support and further our national interest."
Pro Chancellor Naomi Flutter said she was delighted to welcome Ms Bishop, a woman of "many firsts", to the university.
Ms Bishop's credentials for the role were exceptional, she said, and the former lawyer would be a strong advocate for the university, including with the Australian government.
"After a 20-year parliamentary career representing the seat of Curtin in Western Australia, Julie is very well known," Ms Flutter said.
"Over the coming years, our ANU community will get to know her much better, as she leads us through the next phase of our strategic transformation."
Ms Flutter praised the work of the former foreign minister in setting up the New Colombo Plan to help undergraduate students study and intern overseas.
"As Australia's foreign minister, [Julie] always represented our national interests strongly, navigating often sensitive foreign policy issues," she said.
Since leaving parliament, Ms Bishop hasn't let her CV go stale, taking a seat on the board of a US tech company in recent days amid wild speculation of a hosting gig on a new TV talk show.
But she has also copped criticism for joining the board of Palladium, a private aid contractor often awarded government contracts.
ANU's two student associations issued an open letter to the incoming chancellor on Thursday evening, following a vigil to mark two years since the Human Rights Commision released its landmark report into sexual violence on campus.
At the ANU, the rate of assault was double the national average, and the university reacted quickly, setting up a committee to design and implement reforms. But while some progress has been made, students warn reporting pathways are still strangled by bureaucracy.
"We are exhausted, angry and honestly, heartbroken, but today we have a glimmer of hope," students wrote.
"We see your installation as the new chancellor of this university as an opportunity to do more, be more, and to lead the nation in ending sexual violence at Australian universities. The question remains, where will you stand?"
Ms Bishop was not available for further comment on Thursday. She will become the university's 14th chancellor when her three-year term begins on January 1, overseeing high-level operations and its governing council.
Professor Evans will bow out after almost a decade in the top job, having laid the foundations of an ambitious new 20-year master plan for the campus.
Ms Flutter said he still had a lot more to do before he gave up the reins in December.
"Gareth has served ANU...with incredible energy and intellect, always being a source of great encouragement," she said.
Since news of his imminent retirement spread, the ANU has held a series of chancellorship forums with staff to gauge the kind of leader desired.
In a message to staff, Ms Flutter said the feedback had been clear: "You wanted someone who understands our distinctive role as the national university - contributing to matters of great national and international significance - and someone who appreciates the transformative power of universities, through their teaching and research.
"In Julie, we have such a person. [She] has long been a regular visitor to ANU and knows our university well."
ACT Chief Minister Andrew Barr also congratulated Ms Bishop on her new appointment on Thursday.