Commerce students benefited from Emeritus Professor Athol Mann’s expertise during his tenure at Victoria, but it is musicians who will enjoy a lasting legacy from the former Dean of Commerce.
Athol is a member of the Victoria Legacy Club, which brings together alumni and friends who intend to leave a gift in their will to Victoria. He has advised the Victoria University Foundation that he will leave a bequest to support the New Zealand School of Music and, in particular, classical vocal performance studies.
Athol led Victoria’s Faculty of Commerce and Administration (now Victoria Business School) for 10 years from 1987, following a successful national and international career in accountancy as a partner in a firm which eventually became KPMG.
He was the first New Zealander to serve on the council of the International Federation of Accountants, was a member of the Securities Commission for seven years and a member of the Medical Research Council.
While his career has been in accountancy, Athol originally planned to study history and has had a lifelong interest in the arts. He grew up in a musical family and developed a passion for opera after seeing an internationally acclaimed cast perform Verdi’s Rigaletto in his home city of Christchurch as a teenager.
He was actively involved in choral singing for 30 years and has held senior positions in a wide range of musical organisations. This includes being the inaugural chairman of the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra and a current member of the board of New Zealand Opera.
“I have an addiction for music the way some others have an addiction to golf,” says Athol.
He describes the decade he spent at Victoria as a “rewarding” part of his career.
“They were very collegial years which I thoroughly enjoyed. This is an opportunity to do something for Victoria to repay what the University has done for me.”