Professor Darvall is a civil engineering graduate of the University of Melbourne and gained higher degrees from Ohio State University and Princeton University. After a period of professional engineering practice in Australian and overseas, Professor Darvall commenced his career with Monash University, progressing from Lecturer to Dean, then to Deputy Vice-Chancellor for Research and finally to Vice-Chancellor and President. He was awarded an Honorary Doctor of Laws by Monash University in 2005 and was made an Officer in the Order of Australia in 2007. Professor Darvall has served as a board member at various corporations, research centres, school councils and philanthropic foundations. He has been a director at Holmesglen since May 2011 and is the chair of the board's Higher Education Academic Committee and a member of the Audit Committee.