Sir Eric Neal AC CVO, was born in London in 1924 and emigrated with his parents to South Australia at the age of two.
After studying engineering at the South Australian School of Mines, an antecedent institution of UniSA, he had a successful career in industry, became a Fellow of the Institution of Engineers Australia and went on to serve as CEO of Boral for fourteen years. He was also a Director of John Fairfax Ltd, BHP, Coca-Cola Amatil and AMP; and Chairperson of Westpac, Metal Manufacturers and Atlas Copco (Australia).
Sir Eric was Chief Commissioner of the City of Sydney in 1987-88, the first National President of the Australian Institute of Company Directors and was Governor of South Australia from 1996 to 2001, becoming the first businessman appointed to the viceregal office. In March 2002 he became the Chancellor of Flinders University. He holds Honorary Doctorates from the University of Sydney, the University of South Australia and Flinders University.
For his contributions to business, he received a knighthood in 1982, appointment as a Companion in the Order of Australia in 1988, and the United States Department of Defense Medal for distinguished public service in 1992.
The Library at Mawson Lakes was named in honour of Sir Eric in 2001, and the Sir Eric Neal collection was established there. In May 2005 he opened a major extension to the Library. The Library was originally opened in 1969, when it was the central library for the South Australian Institute of Technology and initially served 2,000 students. The Library is home to the Art of Learning sculptures by famed sculptor John Dowie, and also features a Pillar of Wisdom with quotations from significant scholars.
Further details on the Hawke Centre patron: Sir Eric Neal page.