11/06/2009 - 00:00

Universities draw the state’s heavy hitters into their fold

11/06/2009 - 00:00

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WHEN Celebrate WA announced Western Australia's Citizen of Year awards for 2009 two weekends ago the presence of the University of Western Australia would not have escaped the attention of many.

Universities draw the state’s heavy hitters into their fold

WHEN Celebrate WA announced Western Australia's Citizen of Year awards for 2009 two weekends ago the presence of the University of Western Australia would not have escaped the attention of many.

Several of the award winners were among the university's alumni, while two remain strongly connected to the institution.

UWA vice-chancellor Professor Alan Robson won The Professions Award category and Azure Capital founding managing director and UWA Business School chair Mark Barnaba was recognised with the Industry and Commerce Award.

Apart from being head of WA's oldest and most prestigious educational institution, Professor Robson is currently chair of the Group of Eight, a body that represents the so-called sandstone universities of Australia.

He also has a senate leadership and business school board many corporate leaders would envy.

UWA's chancellor is one of Australia's leading businessmen, NAB and Woodside chairman Michael Chaney, while other influential senate members, at least in business circles, are: former banker Tony Howarth; Brightwater Group CEO Penny Flett; Australian Capital Equity CEO John Langoulant; and Economic Regulation Authority chairman Lyndon Rowe.

The latter two are both previous heads of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry WA, while Mrs Flett was recently its president.

The UWA business board, initially established to drive the development of the new school, is equally high powered.

Led by Mr Barnaba, who is also West Coast Eagles chairman, the board includes Mr Howarth, former Alinta chairman and ex-Woodside CEO John Akehurst, property developer Adrian Fini, Wesfarmers CEO Richard Goyder, Woodside CEO Don Voelte, BHP Billiton stainless steel materials president Jimmy Wilson, and burns specialist Fiona Wood, not to mention the business school dean Tracey Horton.

As can be seen from the list on the facing page, most of these people are already viewed as among the state's most influential people in their own right.

This formidable group has helped raise about $25 million to go towards the $50 million building and development of the business school.

Curtin University of Technology also has serious links with influential people in business and government. Headed by vice-chancellor Jeanette Hacket, the Curtin council includes chancellor and Coogee Chemicals chairman Gordon Martin, GESB CEO Michele Dolin, BHP Billiton government relations expert Ian Fletcher, former Woodside executive Keith Spence, St Mary's Anglican Girls School principal Lyne Thomson, property developer Luke Saraceni, Carey Mining founder Dan Tuck,er, former Wesfarmers finance director Gene Tilbrook, and corporate lawyer Zelinda Bafile.

At Murdoch University, headed by vice-chancellor John Yovich, the senate is led by chancellor and former BankWest CEO Terry Budge.

He's joined by PKF chairman Brian Aitken, former Public Sector Standards commissioner Maxine Murray, Hawaiian CEO Russell Gibbs, City of Joondalup CEO Garry Hunt, professional director Eva Skira, former Western Power CEO Tony Iannello, PPR founder Paul Niardone, and Xceed executive director Stewart Washer.

Edith Cowan University vice-chancellor Kerry Cox has a senate headed by chancellor and former deputy premier Hendy Cowan. Other senators include business consultant Steve Abbott, consultant Leslie Chalmers, Bookcaffe founder Karen Macdonald, Joondalup Health Campus CEO Kempton Cowan, consultant Dr Norman Ashton, Supreme Court Justice Rene Le Miere, lawyer Neil Douglas, planning consultant Simon Holthouse, and KPMG partner Denise McComish.

Among Notre Dame vice-chancellor Celia Hammond's trustees, directors and governors are chancellor Michael Quinlan, Supreme Court Justice Neville Owen, professional director Michael Perrott, Sandalford Wines chairman Peter Prendiville, immediate past president of Australian Medical Association Rosanna Capolingua, business women and scientist Patricia Kailis, indigenous leader Cedric Wyatt, lawyer Frank Wilson, businessman Victor Paino, PricewaterhouseCoopers partner Justin Carroll, and former Supreme Court chief Justice David Malcolm.

STANDING BY BUSINESS. TRUSTED BY BUSINESS.

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