Honorary awards

The Very Reverend Father Lester Gerard Cashen

At a conferring of degrees ceremony held on 18 December 1991, the honorary degree of Master of Philosophy was conferred upon the Very Reverend Father Lester Gerard Cashen, BA PhC, Hon MPS, Rector of St John's College from 1979 to 1991.

Father Barry Tunks, Father Les Cashen and Sister Mary Shanahan

Father Les Cashen (centre) with Father Barry Tunks, the new rector at St John's College, and Sister Mary Shanahan who retired in February 1991 after 8 years as Principal of Sancta Sophia College, after Father Cashen received the honorary degree, photo, University of Sydney Archives.


The recently retired Rector of St John's College, Father Les Cashen, who is well-known in many circles - the Catholic Church, the University, and the pharmacy profession - has been honoured by the University. At a graduation ceremony in December 1991 Father Cashen Rector of St John's College since 1980, was awarded the degree of Master of Philosophy (honoris causa). He was commended by the Vice-Chancellor Professor Don McNicol for 'fostering good relations between St John's and other colleges' and for his strong commitment to student welfare.

Father Cashen was a Pharmacy student from 1942-45 and for two years was the Pharmacy Representative on the Students'
Representatives Council. From 1943-47 he was active in the Sydney University Pharmaceutical Association (SUPA), holding various posts including that of President. He founded the National Association of Pharmaceutical Students of Australia in 1947, the year he was registered as a pharmacist in NSW.

In 1954, Cashen began training for the priesthood and was ordained in 1958. He undertook parish work for some years and was involved in several important decision-making bodies within the Catholic Church, such as the Archbishop's Senate and the National Council of Priests of Australia. He was Vice-Rector of St John's College from 1969-73 and became Rector in 1980. He is now Emeritus Rector of the College.

For the first few months of his retirement, Father Cashen will study at the American College at the Catholic University, Louvain, Belgium. He hopes to be in Rome for Easter and returns to Sydney in July.

From the University of Sydney 'Gazette', March 1992