Heritage Guide to The Geelong College

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Alan Williamson (Portrait by Robert Hannaford).

Alan Williamson, Chairman of the Geelong College Council from 1997 to 2006 was educated at Wesley College, and became a practising solicitor in Geelong. He was appointed to the College Council in 1992 and elected Chairman from 1997 until his retirement at the end of 2006. His portrait by Robert Hannaford is on display in the Senior School Dining Hall.

Ad Astra published the following description of Alan Williamson's chairmanship in 2006:

'Upon his appointment to Council, Mr Williamson became a member of the Finance Committee, where his considerable fiscal expertise and keen intellect were put to good use. Mr Williamson was also part of the 1995 search committee whose work resulted in Dr Turner’s appointment as Principal in 1996. During the 10 years of his tenure as Chairman of Council, Mr Williamson presided with distinction over the school's governing body enabling policies and directions to be determined clearly and always in the best interests of the whole College community. He ensured that the school's facilities planning and its marketing and financial objectives were suitably updated when, in 2003, a general strategy review was conducted. Mr Williamson also successfully convened the first College Carnival Committee.

Alan Williamson.

Alan Williamson.

The College made many significant advances during Mr Williamson's chairmanship. It also faced considerable challenges from competitor schools but has met these successfully by developing and steadily improving its educational offering over the years.

In the course of his chairmanship, Mr Williamson played a crucial role in relation to three particular strategic initiatives taken by the College. The first was (together with another long-serving member of Council, Mr Rod Ashby) his active pursuit of an outdoor education facility in the Grampians and, while this may not have come to fruition in the form originally anticipated, a significant breakthrough occurred late in 2006 with the acquisition of an outreach campus in the Otways (Mokborree). Mr Williamson also enthusiastically endorsed the educational objectives of the College and expressed consistent, indeed critical, support for their proper resourcing: from the Year 4 Enviro and Year 6 Multimedia programs in 2001 and 2003 respectively through to the initiatives of 2006 with their focus on the quality of teaching and learning, greater subject choice and differentiation, as well as broader social objectives.

Two outstanding infrastructure developments also gained from Mr Williamson's active support and astute guidance: the Recreation Centre in the late 90s, which has proved such benefit to the College and the further community; and more recently, the Keith Humble Centre for Music and the Performing Arts where he also assumed a leading role as Chairman of the successful capital campaign.

In carrying out his formal duties, Mr Williamson was always a very thoughtful Chairman who managed Council affairs with tact, fairness and aplomb. He earned and enjoyed the great respect and support of all who served alongside him on Council and its various sub-committees. To the Principal, Mr Williamson was always a ready source of considered advice and unfailing encouragement. Few would be aware of the extent of the commitment he has unstintingly made to the affairs of the College, and his generosity deserves full public acknowledgment and deep gratitude. The School could not have wished for a better Chairman or more enlightened supporter in demonstrating his whole-hearted dedication to the advancement of the College during his membership and leadership of the school Council from 1992 to 2006.

Sources: Ad Astra May 1997 p8; Principal’s Farewells – Pegasus, 2006 p172
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