Western alumni donate $4-million to support coaching and academic exchanges

Western University students and varsity student-athletes will benefit from a $4-million gift from alumni Jack and Sharon Cowin.

 June 14, 2013

 June 14, 2013

Western University students and varsity student-athletes will benefit from a $4-million gift from alumni Jack and Sharon Cowin supporting two new initiatives designed to develop leaders and provide international learning opportunities at Western and Australia’s Bond University.

A $1-million gift will establish the Jack Cowin/Lone Star Coaching Excellence Fund designed to support Western’s efforts to retain and recruit top-level head or assistant coaches for its varsity teams.

“Coaches play an enormous role in developing student-athletes into leaders, both in and outside the classroom,” said Thérèse Quigley, Western’s Director of Sports and Recreation Services. “By helping us fund top-tier coaching at Western, Jack and Sharon Cowin are helping our student-athletes receive the support they need to train at an elite level and bring their personal best to their sport, their future careers and their communities.”

A $3-million gift through Bond University in Australia will create the Jack and Sharon Cowin Scholars Award, a partnership between Bond and Western that will encourage student mobility and academic exchange opportunities between the two universities beginning this fall.

“Western is committed to providing opportunities to help students become well-rounded, global-minded citizens,” said Western’s President and Vice-Chancellor Amit Chakma. “We’re grateful that this generous gift will allow more Western students and faculty members to gain international experience and perspectives, further enhancing their education and enriching their research.”

“This partnership between Bond and Western will enable students from other sides of the globe to interact, exchange ideas and share knowledge as they study together,” said Bond University’s Vice-Chancellor and President, Professor Tim Brailsford. “Our world is getting smaller and the opportunity afforded by this program will be truly life changing for those involved – made possible through the Cowins’ generosity and their vision for global education.”

A recent survey by Western’s Student Success Centre shows that 80 per cent of students are interested in gaining international learning experiences during their pursuit of undergraduate and graduate degrees.

“My time as a student and athlete at Western taught me valuable lessons in leadership, perseverance, and commitment to excellence,” said Jack Cowin. “My coaches and my experiences around the world have played a significant role in developing the values and skills that have taken me through my life both personally and professionally. Sharon and I are proud to be helping future students, athletes and faculty at Western gain the same opportunities.”

Jack Cowin is the Founder and Chairman of Competitive Foods Australia Ltd, Australia’s largest private company and the largest franchisor of restaurants in Australia whose units include Hungry Jack’s and Domino’s Pizza.  He is also a director and majority shareholder of Lone Star Texas Grill.

Jack and Sharon Cowin each graduated with a BA from Western in 1964. Jack Cowin, who was conferred with an honorary degree in 2000, was a member of the Mustangs football and wrestling teams as a student. Sharon Cowin was on the varsity swim team. Through the years, they have supported various athletic awards, facilities and student projects. Jack Cowin was awarded the Alumni Award of Merit in 2011 and is currently Chair of the President’s International Advisory Board. He also sits on Bond University’s Board of Trustees.

This gift is part of Western’s $750-million Be Extraordinary fundraising campaign, which has surpassed $400 million to date.


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