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Country Education founder appointed next Chancellor of Southern Cross University


Brigid Veale
7 March 2014

A passionate interest in regional Australia and commitment to providing people who live here with education pathways and career opportunities, has led to the appointment of Mr Nick Burton Taylor AM as Chancellor of Southern Cross University when the current Chancellor retires in September 2014. The Hon John Dowd AO QC has been in the role for the past 12 years.

Mr Burton Taylor is a successful businessman with a strong interest in agriculture, and regional and small business. His longstanding commitment to rural communities includes his role as founding chairman of the Country Education Foundation, a charity supporting further study for school leavers in small rural communities. In 1998 he was named a member of the Order of Australia for services to business through the accountancy profession and to the rural community.

“My wife Julia and I established the Country Education Foundation in 1996 and it now operates in 42 regional communities, helping 700 young rural students each year. I am delighted to extend my interest in regional education through this new role,” Mr Burton Taylor said.

In announcing the outcome of the search, the Deputy Chancellor Mr Trevor Wilson said: "Mr Burton Taylor is an outstanding person whose track record supporting people gain access to educational opportunities reflects a great alignment of values with Southern Cross University."

Mr Burton Taylor is Chairman of Delta Agribusiness and Principal of Hillgrove Pastoral Company which produces beef, wool and grain from properties in New South Wales and North Queensland. He is past chairman of the Australian Agricultural Company Limited and a former director of Rural Press, Graincorp Limited, Sydney Airport Corporation, Hazelton Airlines and the Meat Research Corporation.

The Hon John Dowd AO QC, whose term continues until late September, wished Mr Burton Taylor well, describing it as ‘a role I have immensely enjoyed’.

Vice Chancellor Professor Peter Lee FTSE paid tribute to the outstanding contribution of the Chancellor throughout his 12 years in the role, as a tireless advocate for Southern Cross University and for his keen interest in the regions served by the University. Professor Lee also acknowledged Mrs Jill Dowd for her dedication over many years.

Professor Lee said the University's mission was to enrich its communities through the quality of its graduates, and that Mr Burton Taylor demonstrated an extremely strong commitment to regional Australia and to advancing educational opportunities through the work of the Country Education Foundation.

Mr Burton Taylor started his career with PriceWaterhouse Coopers before founding Hays Personnel Services in 1976, where he remained managing director until 1989.
In 2008 he was awarded the Rabobank ‘Agribusiness Leader of the Year’. He has been involved in the Institute of Chartered Accountants in Australia for many years, and was President and Treasurer of the Institute from 1989 to 1991.

Mr Burton Taylor will be installed as Chancellor during a graduation ceremony at Lismore in September. The University is celebrating its 20th anniversary as an independent university in 2014, and the current Chancellor The Hon John Dowd AO QC continues a program of activities up until he retires in September.

Photo: Mr Nick Burton Taylor.