The Honorary Graduates

67th Congregation (1967)

Zelman COWEN
Doctor of Laws honoris causa


Citation

The Public Orator, Dr. Leo D’Almada E Castro, C.B.E., Q.C., LL.D., made the following citation:

This University owes a significant debt to Australia, to Cecil Rhodes, and to New College, Oxford, for did they not give us Sir Lindsay Ride who for so long was our Vice-Chancellor? It is particularly pleasing, therefore, that our next graduand should also be an Australian and a Rhodes Scholar of New College.

He and Sir Lindsay were, though at different times, at the same school, too, Scotch College, and from Sir Lindsay comes this story of one of Zelman Cowen's teenage activities. He was founder and co-editor of a school magazine whose name Libertas gave fair warning of the nature of its contents. In its second issue appeared an article on Karl Marx, which earned the disapproval of the master who was the paper's censor and whose blue pencil, coupled with the suggestion that Shakespeare would be a more fitting subject, brought about the demise of that journal. This, of course, had no effect on our graduand's scholastic accomplishments, for in his last year he was equal Dux with five class Honours; but it is interesting to speculate whether, had the life of Libertas not been nipped in the bud, journalism would have been the gainer by an eminent editor, with corresponding loss to the law.

Professor Zelman Cowen's career has been a very full and most distinguished one. After serving with the Royal Australian Navy for the greater part of World War II he became Lecturer in International Law at the University of Melbourne, then a Fellow and Tutor of Oriel College, Oxford. He is a member of Gray's Inn and of the Australian Bar. After the war, he was consultant to the British and American Military Governments in Germany. Next he became a visiting member of the Faculty of Law at Chicago University and visiting Professor at Harvard. From 1951 to 1966 he was Dominion Liaison Officer in Australia to the Colonial Office and at the same time was Professor of Public Law and Dean of the Faculty of Law at the University of Melbourne. He is Vice-Chancellor of the University of New England, New South Wales; and has been our University's adviser on legal studies, for which, but principally to add lustre to our list of honorary graduates, we request you, Mr. Chancellor, to confer upon him the degree of Doctor of Laws honoris causa.


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