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Curtin honours respected WA businessman

Media release

Curtin University will tonight award respected West Australian businessman and former Chancellor Gordon Martin with an Honorary Doctorate of Technology.

Mr Martin was invested as Chancellor of Curtin in 2006, a position he held until 2009. He has more than 30 years experience as a chemical engineer and as Chair of Coogee Chemicals, one of Western Australia’s most successful companies.

Curtin Vice-Chancellor Professor Jeanette Hacket said Mr Martin, as Chancellor, had significantly strengthened the strategic governance of Curtin, taking the University to a new level of performance.

“His influence and facilitation allowed Curtin to noticeably enhance its engagement with Western Australian industry, particularly in the areas of science and engineering,” Professor Hacket said.

“A number of strategic initiatives he has championed – such as the establishment of the Australian Sustainable Development Institute and several major building projects – will have long-term benefits for the University.

“His endeavours will also help facilitate the growth of the University into a leading university in the South East Asia region.”

Professor Hacket said Mr Martin had been instrumental in the establishment of the Curtin University Foundation, launched in April.

“The Foundation will seek to raise funds on a number of fronts to support key research and teaching initiatives at the University,” she said.

Mr Martin, who holds qualifications in chemical engineering and economics, joined Coogee Chemicals in the 1970s, significantly restructuring it after buying equity in the company.

In the 1980s, he diversified the company by entering joint agreements with Wesfarmers and Nufarm, and he has continued to build on Coogee Chemical’s business success into the new century.

Mr Martin is a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Company Directors (AICD). In 2005, he was awarded the AICD Gold Medal for his exemplary contribution to good governance in the private and community sectors. In 2008, he received Ernst and Young’s Champion of Entrepreneurship award for Western Australia. Mr Martin was awarded Rio Tinto’s award for Excellence in Chemical Engineering in 2000.

Mr Martin has not just confined his considerable skills to the business sector. He has contributed enormously to the community in the non-profit and higher education sectors.

As Chair of the Royal Flying Doctor Service Aircraft Replacement Campaign, he helped raise around $15 million to replace ageing aircraft.

“Mr Martin has been willing to share his abilities in leadership and entrepreneurship with organisations for which he has volunteered his time,” Professor Hacket said.

Mr Martin said he was delighted to accept the Honorary Doctorate of Technology, particularly from a university which was committed to innovation and excellence in both teaching and research.

“Curtin plays an enormous role in shaping the future of our community through its research and graduates and I am very pleased to have had the opportunity to be involved with the University,” Mr Martin said.

Mr Martin will be awarded the Honorary Doctorate at tonight’s graduation ceremony at the Curtin Stadium. The ceremony is for students graduating from the Graduate School of Business Management, Information Systems, Centre for Aboriginal Studies, Centre for Regional Education and the John Curtin Institute of Public Policy


Denise Cahill, Public Relations, Curtin
Tel: 08 9266 1931, Mobile: 0401 103 683, Email:

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