Fast-food magnate Jack Cowin has dished Bond University a generous donation to start a Canadian exchange program, reports Liz Henderson.

A BRW Rich 200 list member who founded the Burger King franchise Hungry Jack’s in Australia, Jack Cowin has made a $3 million donation to Bond University to launch a student exchange program at his alma mater, Western University in Canada.

The program will be named the Jack and Sharon Cowin Scholars Award in honour of its benefactor and his wife. Every year it will enable 10 students from the universities to switch places for about a semester.

The scheme aims to open up life-changing exchange experiences between the universities and will give students international perspective. “You cannot be successful and understand the potential of what is going on in the world when you just do business in your own backyard,” said Cowin.

Both Cowin and his wife Sharon graduated with a bachelor of arts from Western University in 1964 and he has fond memories of his days there.”My time as a student and an athlete at Western taught me lessons in leadership, perseverance and commitment to excellence,” he said.

Bond University vice-chancellor Professor Tim Brailsford said the partnership between Bond University and Western University will allow students from other sides of the globe to interact, exchange ideas and share knowledge as they study together.

Brailsford also praised Cowin and linked his generous grant to a wider trend of philanthropy towards education by Australia’s corporate leaders.

“We are seeing increasing examples where astute visionary business people recognise the value in a better educated society and are actively contributing their own funds to further that goal,” he said. “It is pleasing to see such thinking now emerging in this country.”

Liz Henderson is the editor of Fundraising & Philanthropy Magazine.

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