James Arnold HANCOCK (1923 - 2018)

Deputy Chancellor (1989 - 1992)

Arnold Hancock

Former Deputy Chancellor, Arnold Hancock, OBE, who has died aged 94, was a man who wove a path through life guided by both his head and his heart.

A distinguished chartered accountant and company director, he was chairman of the State Bank of Victoria from 1983 to 1989 and a former chairman of the accountancy firm, Hungerford Hancock and Offner (which later became part of  KPMG). He was also a philanthropist who supported both the arts and sciences, notably the Howard Florey Institute and the Australian Tapestry Workshop, of which he was a great advocate and friend.

Arnold was elected Deputy Chancellor to the late Sir George Lush for a three-year term in February 1989. It was a time of great change in the tertiary sector which required steadfast leadership and wise counsel to support the university as it expanded and exported its vision.

He also made a valuable contribution as chair of the University Council’s Finance Committee, which he took over following the death of Sir James McNeill in March 1987. Under his stewardship, the committee continued its effective oversight of the financial activities that underpinned the university’s teaching and research programmes. In meetings, he was appreciated for his measured and constructive contributions to discussions, and his politeness and good humour.

James Arnold Hancock was born on June 8, 1923, and educated at Geelong Grammar and the University of Melbourne, where he received a Bachelor of Commerce. Throughout his career, he intertwined his astute business acumen with his passion for the arts, chairing studies into the development of both the Museum of Victoria and the State Library.

In 1988, the State Bank under his leadership, sponsored for the university the printing of the second volume of artist Celia Rosser’s Banksia paintings. Arnold later commissioned a tapestry of one her works which was proudly displayed in his home, alongside one of his beloved corgi, George, a retirement gift from the Australian Tapestry Workshop.

A keen angler, he was a close friend of the late Ken Myer and the two would often venture to Hughes Creek, Central Victoria, spinning for trout on the upper reaches.

Arnold is survived by his wife, Patricia, and their three children and families.

Published in The Insider, 31 May 2018.