COLLEAGUES described ECU Chancellor Hendy Cowan as “a big man” at a farewell event held in his honour this week.
Dr Cowan will retire from his leadership position at the end of 2018 after 14 years in the role, making him the longest serving chancellor in the university’s history.
Not only physically big in stature, Dr Cowan was likened to the big man on campus for the way he supported colleagues and built consensus throughout the university.
ECU Vice-Chancellor Professor Steve Chapman paid tribute to Dr Cowan and thanked him for his dedication to the role.
“Hendy has led a distinguished career spanning many decades across politics, education and farming,” he said.
“He has made a monumental contribution to ECU and it has been an honour and a privilege to serve with Hendy these past two years.”
Since joining the ECU council in 2004, the grandnephew of Edith Cowan has chaired 83 council meetings, attended more than 100 graduation ceremonies and presented about 70,000 graduands with their testamurs.
Dr Cowan was humble in his address to his colleagues, friends and acquaintances at the event.
“I appreciate tremendously my time here at ECU,” he said.
“It has been a great honour to serve and I am so grateful that I was given the opportunity to take on the role of Chancellor.”
Prior to joining ECU, Dr Cowan led a career in politics holding the seat of Merredin-Yilgarn (later renamed Merredin) for 28 years and leading the National Party of WA for 23 years.
His dedication to regional development in WA was recognised in 2004 when he won the Governor’s Award for Regional Development in the Citizen of the Year Awards and in 2014 he was appointed an Officer of the Order of Australia.
Kerry Sanderson, former Governor of WA, will take over the role of ECU’s Chancellor from January 2019.
Elected as the university’s fourth chancellor, Mrs Sanderson will be the first woman to hold the position.