Murdoch Chancellor named Western Australian of the Year

June 4, 2014

Murdoch Chancellor David Flanagan's outstanding and continuing contribution to the State and its citizens has received the recognition it deserves, with him being named 2014 Western Australian of the Year on Friday May 30.

Murdoch Vice Chancellor Professor Richard Higgott said the award highlighted Mr Flanagan’s exceptional achievements as an inspirational Western Australian.

“We are proud to have as our Chancellor such a highly respected businessman, philanthropist and entrepreneur," Professor Higgott said.

"Mr Flanagan's outstanding contribution to the State has been additionally recognised by the conferral on him of the 2014 Business Award.

"Murdoch University is extremely fortunate to have David as Chancellor, a role to which he brings enormous energy, knowledge, leadership and commercial expertise.

"It is a measure of his commitment to the State that amongst his very wide range of demanding business, charity, community and indigenous interests he pledges valuable time to assist this young University in its development as it approaches its 40th year.”

Professor Higgott said Mr Flanagan was a dynamic, enthusiastic, community-minded leader who built Atlas Iron Ltd over a decade into a major iron ore exporter who deserved to win Western Australian of the Year.

Mr Flanagan who attended the award event on May 30 said he was delighted and honoured to receive the award.

“It feels great. It's terrific recognition and endorsement of the organisations I get to work with and Murdoch is a big one,” Mr Flanagan said.

“I'm not sure what the year will bring specifically as part of the role but I think I'll have plenty of opportunity to shape that myself.

“I will definitely be shining the light on the value of tertiary education, research and of course laying out the facts on occasion as to why Murdoch University is so important to the State and nation.

Professor Higgott said Mr Flanagan's award mirrored that of another notable Murdoch Chancellor, Fred Chaney AO, who occupied that role from 1995 to 2002 and was awarded Senior Australian of the Year 2014 for his tireless work supporting Aboriginal people.

Additionally, Professor Higgott said he was also delighted that one of Murdoch University's committed supporters – Nicola Forrest – won the 2014 Western Australian of the Year, Community Award.

“In 2011, Nicola and husband Andrew (Chairman of Fortescue Metals Group), donated $1.3 million to Murdoch’s Institute for Immunology and Infectious Diseases (IID), the largest personal contribution in the University’s history,” he said.

“Then last year, the couple announced one of the biggest philanthropic donations in Australia's history, a cash gift of $65 million to fund research at Perth’s five universities.”

"Their wonderful generosity to Murdoch and higher education in WA is a truly excellent example of the partnership of philanthropy and research.

"It is very fitting that Nicola’s wide-ranging contribution to Western Australia has been recognised in this year's awards."

Professor Higgott said that it was particularly pleasing that such notable Western Australians were so strongly identified with the work and development of the University.

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