PROUD: Chancellor of Southern Cross University John Dowd will retire on September 25.
PROUD: Chancellor of Southern Cross University John Dowd will retire on September 25.

SCU chancellor steps down

AFTER 12 years in office, Southern Cross University Chancellor John Dowd delivered his final graduation ceremony on Saturday, and will retire on September 25.

The Officer of the Order of Australia and Queen's Counsel was a NSW Attorney-General in the Greiner Liberal government.

After retiring from politics, he spent a decade in the 1990s and early 2000s as a Supreme Court judge before becoming SCU Chancellor in 2002.

Southern Cross University, Mr Dowd said, was a crucial institution to the Northern Rivers.

"Two-thirds of locals come here; as well as having an international profile, it's the university of choice for most of the people in our footprint, from the Gold Coast to Coffs Harbour," he said.

"Universities are big businesses, and you need to be across a lot of different areas - marketing, IT, finance, quality education, where the demands are - and engaging with people overseas.

"It's a pretty heavy load and I have been fairly involved over all of that time."

"I've seen a massive growth in the university, I've seen it adapt to changes."

Mr Dowd said a highlight of his tenure was seeing the long-planned Gold Coast campus come to fruition.

"The decision to develop the Tweed Heads campus into the Gold Coast campus has been a magnet for students," he said, citing the increase from 900 to 2900 students there over three years.

Mr Dowd hoped the university would continue to adapt to rapid changes in the sector, including developing its post-graduate offerings and online learning capabilities.

"At the moment we've got a lot of projects on foot to help the university grow and adjust to new technology," he said.

"The biggest challenge is to adjust to a very tough competitive international atmosphere; where people from all over the world want to come into this market.

"We're competing with new technology all the time, methods of delivery, and we need to be on top of that."

Mr Dowd's successor is Nick Burton Taylor, founder and chief executive officer of Hays recruitment agency.



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