Story posted September 24, 2007
Business leader and philanthropist Frank Lowy, chairman and co-founder of the Westfield Group and the Lowy Institute of International Policy, received Bowdoin College's 2007 Henni Friedlander Award for the Common Good Tuesday, October 2, 2007.
Lowy, whose success has become part of Australian business folklore as an outstanding example of post-war migrant achievement, delivered an acceptance address titled "Changing Adversity into Success."
The Henni Friedlander Award for the Common Good was established in 2005 by Martin and Sheila Friedlander in memory of Henni Friedlander (mother of Martin, a member of the Class of 1971), who survived Nazi Germany to immigrate to the United States, where she was an inspiring example of how love and joy of life, rather than hatred and bitterness, can lift the human spirit and enable us as a society to promote the common good. The award is presented to an individual who has overcome significant adversity in his or her own life and gone on to make a highly significant contribution to the common good. The awardee presents an address on the subject of his or her life's achievement in both the area of the common good and his or her profession.
Frank Lowy arrived in Australia as a young man with no worldly possessions, became one of the country's most distinguished business leaders and philanthropists, and rose to a position of prominence in international commerce.
He co-founded the Westfield Group, which is now the world's largest listed retail property group with interests in 119 shopping centers in the U.S., the U.K., Australia and New Zealand and is capitalized at AUD$ 62.6 billion (approximately $53.5 billion U.S.).
Born in 1930 into a family of modest means in Czechoslovakia, Lowy spent the war years in Budapest, then moved to Palestine where he fought in the underground for the Zionist army, the Haganah. By 17, he was in an elite commando unit of the Israeli Army, fighting behind enemy lines in the War of Independence.
At the age of 21, Lowy left Israel to join the members of his family who had moved to Australia. He arrived in Sydney in 1952 and within eight years the Westfield Development Corporation Ltd. was listed on the Sydney stock exchange.
By the age of 45, he had taken Westfield into the United States and the globalization of the company had begun.
Lowy has served on the boards of major public companies in retailing, media, mining and manufacturing, including the Daily Mail and General Trust plc in the U.K. For a decade, he also served on the board of Australia's central bank, The Reserve Bank.
Bound into his passion for business is a sense of social obligation, which he meets through generous support of the arts, sport, medical research and education. For eight years he served as president of the Art Gallery of New South Wales.
Having received little formal schooling, Lowy is highly cognizant of the value of education and the duty of society to provide it. Accordingly, he has established a library at the University of New South Wales Australian Graduate School of Management and a school for overseas students at Tel Aviv University. He also became a member of the University of Tel Aviv's board of governors.
In 2003, he founded the Lowy Institute for International Policy, which is based in Australia, and in 2006 he established Israel's Institute for National Security Studies, which incorporates one of the country's best-known academic policy centers, The Jaffee Center for Strategic Studies.
In recognition of his achievements, Frank Lowy has received Australia's highest civilian honor, a Companion in the General Division of the Order of Australia, and honorary doctorates from both the University of New South Wales and Tel Aviv University. He is also a recipient of the Woodrow Wilson Award for Corporate Citizenship from the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington, D.C.
A football (soccer) enthusiast all his life, in 2003 Lowy was asked by the Australian government to oversee a total reform of the game in the country. As chairman of the Football Federation of Australia he has resuscitated the game nationally and negotiated Australia's move into the Asian Football Confederation.
For more information about Frank Lowy's Bowdoin address call 207-725-3257.