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Magistrate Leaves University $4 Million


Thursday, 2nd July 2015 at 10:37 am
Lina Caneva
A former Magistrate and staff member at Melbourne University has left her former employer a gift of $4 million.

Thursday, 2nd July 2015
at 10:37 am
Lina Caneva


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Magistrate Leaves University $4 Million
Thursday, 2nd July 2015 at 10:37 am

A former Magistrate and staff member at Melbourne University has left her former employer a gift of $4 million.

Francine McNiff passed away in April this year after a high-profile career as a Children’s Court Magistrate and the first female Judicial Officer in Victoria.

McNiff left a bequest of $4 million to Melbourne University, part of which will be used to establish the Francine V. McNiff Chair in Criminology, a first for the institution. Professor Alison Young has been appointed in this role.

The donation will also be used to establish the Francine V. McNiff Chair in Human Rights Law, held by Professor Dianne Otto at the Melbourne Law School.

Professor Young said the appointment would enable her to expand the teaching of criminology and foster increased engagement with academics internationally and with the criminal justice profession.

“I’m delighted to hold the inaugural Francine V. McNiff Chair in Criminology. I plan to further my research  through contributing to public discussions about  issues like graffiti and street art, which challenge the regulation of public space in property law and criminal law, and tend to be 'hyper-criminalised' as a result,” Professor Young said.

“This position also gives me the opportunity to develop the study and teaching of criminology within our Master of Criminology program, in order to make it a leading choice for students across the country and internationally.”

Professor Margaret Sheil, the University’s Provost said the University was very grateful to receive the gift.

“Ms McNiff’s generosity has allowed the University to establish leadership roles in two major areas of public interest,” Professor Sheil said.

“While the Chairs in Criminology and Human Rights Law sit in two different faculties, we intend for them to work in collaboration to lead teaching, research and debate on the future of human rights law and criminology in Australia.

“Ms McNiff was a trailblazer for women in her profession. This is one of the largest gifts to the University from a former staff member and we are proud to see these two Chairs support strong female academics who are leaders in their field.”

The bequest is part of Believe – the Campaign for the University of Melbourne. The University’s largest ever fundraising initiative, it aims to raise $500 million by the end of 2017 to advance the University’s teaching and learning, research and engagement aims.


Lina Caneva  |  Editor  |  @ProBonoNews

Lina Caneva has been a journalist for more than 35 years. She was the editor of Pro Bono Australia News from when it was founded in 2000 until 2018.


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