Yesterday the University of Sydney community lost one of its strongest advocates with the sad news that Fellow of Senate Robert (Bob) Leece AO RFD (BE(Civil) ’69) had passed away at Royal Prince Alfred Hospital surrounded by his family.
Bob was appointed a Fellow of Senate in March 2011 and was the University’s Pro-Chancellor. He was also the Chair of Senate’s Buildings and Estates Committee, a member of the Investment and Commercialisation Committee and the Chair Appointments Committee.
Speaking on behalf of the University of Sydney, Chancellor Belinda Hutchinson AM extended her deepest sympathies to Bob’s wife Colleen and family.
“This is incredibly sad news for Bob’s family, and for the University community more broadly,” said Ms Hutchinson. “I have deeply valued his counsel as a Fellow of Senate, and his expertise in guiding our work to transform the University’s campuses, in particular to develop world-class spaces for teaching and research.
“I will miss him as a colleague and as a good friend.
"When you look at what Bob achieved during his career, he has had such an impact: not just on our University but also on our city and our state."
After graduating from the University, Bob worked at senior executive and director levels in areas including property development, construction, manufacturing, health, environment, defence, investment, infrastructure, and the arts. He was instrumental in developing, procuring, constructing, financing and operating more than $40 billion in infrastructure in Australia.
He held senior executive roles for the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games, and was recognised with a Member of the Order of Australia in 2002 for his continuing commitment to community service. After the Olympics, he became Chief Operating Officer of Tenix Pty Ltd, a diverse international engineering, technology and defence contracting organisation with more than 4000 employees. Other recent positions included Chairman of Health Infrastructure (NSW) and sitting on the board of Opera Australia.
Vice-Chancellor and Principal Dr Michael Spence said that Bob’s contribution to the University community would not be forgotten.
"Bob has made an enormous contribution to the University. His expertise, his deep commitment to our mission, and his genuine integrity will be sorely missed. The University, like so many of us personally, has lost a real friend."
The University flag flew at half mast on Monday in memory of Bob. Details of an appropriate University memorial are being discussed with his family and will be shared when they are known.
Australian philanthropy reached new heights when the University of Sydney raised $1 billion from 64,000 donors. On 17 September, we celebrate your generosity with Thank You Day. Here are a few things you have made possible.