Honorary Fellowship awarded to former University athlete

David Collins, a University of Sydney alumni and esteemed sportsperson, was recently awarded an Honorary Fellowship for his longstanding dedication to the University’s sporting community.

Mr Collins was awarded the fellowship on Thursday 14 April, in a ceremony presided over by University of Sydney Pro-Chancellor, Kate McClymont AM.

Ms McClymont said the Fellowship recognised Mr Collins’ tireless commitment to building a positive and supportive sporting community at the University.

“Since beginning his studies at the University in the early 1960s, Mr Hill has been at the centre of the University’s sport and fitness community,” Ms McClymont said.

“In his various roles over the years, he has been a major champion for University sportspeople, and through the establishment of the Collins/Peasley Scholarship, has helped support student athletes to holistically manage their sport and study obligations.”

Throughout his time at the University of Sydney, Mr Collins was well enmeshed in the University’s sport and fitness communities. Joining the University’s Athletics Club in 1963 as a first year Bachelor of Arts student, he would eventually go on to win the University Blue – the highest sporting honour at the University of Sydney – in 1966.

David Collins signing the 'Harry Potter' book at the Honorary Fellowship ceremony
David Collins signing the University’s ‘Harry Potter’ book after receiving his Honorary Fellowship

After graduating from the University in 1968 with a Diploma of Education, Mr Collins remained an integral member of the Athletics Club. In 1972, he simultaneously captained the Club and the NSW Athletics team, during which time he won silver in the decathlon at the National Championships. Though he retired from athletics the following year, he remained in close contact with the Club and the wider University sporting community.

Returning to Sydney in 2003 after marrying and then living overseas, Mr Collins took up a position in what is now known as the University’s Development Office, where he worked for several years. After retiring from that role in 2008, he was an obvious choice for Secretary of the University of Sydney Sport Foundation, working alongside Rodney Tubbs in his capacity as Chair of the Foundation.

Both Mr Collins and his wife Cheryl Collins, also a former athlete and University of Sydney alumni, are strong advocates for University athletes and sportspeople. With a passion for ensuring University athletes receive adequate support to manage both their sporting and study commitments, the couple set up the Collins/Peasley Scholarship and have also contributed to other similar sporting scholarships on offer.

In addition to the Collins/Peasley Scholarship, Mr Collins played an instrumental role in the establishment of the Commonwealth Bank of Australia Indigenous Scholarship. The Scholarship is awarded to an Indigenous athlete each year, with the aim of making a significant difference to their student experience.

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