For the Coles, attending La Trobe University is a family affair.
David Cole’s memories of La Trobe University stretch back further than his student days. In fact, before the Bundoora Campus was his university, it was a childhood playground.
David’s father, Keith Cole, was a Foundation Professor of Physics at La Trobe. Because of this, David remembers La Trobe in its earliest days.
“As kids we’d run around the place, it was a great place to grow up,” David said.
“I remember seeing the first building go up, seeing the physics building take shape, and the David Myers Building too.”
David’s father Keith was a leading space physicist who made significant contributions to the field of solar-terrestrial physics. Keith’s research was internationally recognised and he partnered with many prominent institutions while at La Trobe. This included research trips to NASA in the United States, where he joined a team using space probes to explore the plasma environment of other planets.
David said his father not only left a remarkable legacy in the world of space physics, but also in the teaching profession.
“Dad was special because while he clearly operated at a higher plane intellectually, he was also extremely approachable to his students and loved teaching," he said.
"Despite churning out all the papers he did, he liked nothing more than to talk science with his students.
“When he died in 2010, we received so many messages from his former students who remembered him fondly.”
David studied a Bachelor of Science at La Trobe, and is now Head of Sales and Distribution at Catholic Church Insurance, after spending 16 years at insurance firm Aon Australia. He said he benefited from the extensive education La Trobe gave him.
“La Trobe taught me how to think differently, and that is the biggest lesson that has stayed with me,” he said.
“I was also able to branch out, so while I majored in pure and applied mathematics, I also did some philosophy subjects as well as economics. La Trobe welcomed us to approach things differently.”
David also made a mark on La Trobe as a champion canoeist. He won a university blue for canoeing in 1984, as well as two of the three intervarsity competitions he competed in.
“Being a part of the sports culture at La Trobe was great, because it helped me to get to know a range of people across the university who I wouldn’t have met otherwise,” he said.
But the La Trobe connection didn’t end with David, with his daughter, Mica, graduating from La Trobe with an Arts/Law degree. David’s son Jarvis is a current student at La Trobe studying Economics/Computer Science.
“When you add it all up, our family has been a part of La Trobe for every decade it has existed. That’s a pretty special thing in my eyes," he said.
Last updated: 9th May 2019