In Remembrance: Professor Colin O’Hare
Colin was a practicing actuary who made a successful transition to the university environment but retained his passion that actuarial work is first, and foremost, a practical tool that is used for the betterment of society.
Just over a year ago, on 1st August 2018, Professor Colin O’Hare was tragically killed whilst commuting home on his road bike.
Colin was, at heart, a practicing actuary who made a successful transition to the university environment but retained his passion that actuarial work is first, and foremost, a practical tool that is used for the betterment of society.
As well as being awarded a chair at Monash University, Colin was both the Director of Actuarial Studies, leading the development of the actuarial program, and the Nominated Accredited Actuary, which provides the link between the Actuaries Institute and the university.
Wearing his academic hat, he taught various actuarial subjects to undergraduates. Many former students will remember him fondly throughout their lives and will recognise the head start he gave them through his ability to convey complex ideas in a relatively simple way. He supervised PhD students, helping them achieve the highest level of examinable degree.
Colin was a great collaborator. He conducted research with academics at Monash and other Australian universities, in North America and the UK, as well as collaborations with CSIRO and industry. His development of relationships between academia and industry is a key area that needs to be continued – our profession will miss his ability to match industry and academics. One example of his interest in reaching out to industry was when he volunteered to be the Editor for the final versions of the Australian Journal of Actuarial Practice (AJAP).
He was a global traveler and loved long haul flights. He was a volunteer for the UK profession, primarily acting as an independent examiner for several universities across the globe.
One of Colin’s key attributes was his willingness to work with all different staff members. He was at home either discussing the actuarial subjects over a pint with the Dean or chatting to the administration staff to ensure the systems and structures were in place to cope with the rapidly increasing student numbers at Monash. He understood how people could work together and was able, on many occasions, to influence diverse individuals to aim towards a common goal.
Importantly, he worked on passing these techniques to students. He was a passionate advocate for group work believing that these types of assessments replicated the workplace. Bridging the divide between academia and industry is not easy and Colin demonstrated a willingness and passion to assist students’ transition into the world of work. He devised assignments to guide students through the complex issues that arise when working in teams. He spent many hours one-to-one with students discussing how to cope with the new demand of working with others and provided significant guidance on issues such as conflict resolution. Many past students are now grateful for these experiences before entering professional life.
Whilst Colin had a successful career, cut down far too quickly, his main driver in life was his love for his wife and daughter. Our thoughts are with his family.
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