Philanthropists Make Largest Ever University Donation
13 July 2016 at 3:18 pm
Philanthropists Graham and Louise Tuckwell have left a lasting legacy at The Australian National University after donating $200 million in the country’s largest ever personal philanthropic contribution to a university.
The billionaire couple, who donated $50 million to the ANU to establish the Tuckwell Scholarship Program in 2013, announced they are funding the construction of two new halls of residence at a cost of around $100 million, to ensure the long-term future of the program.
The residences, to be built over the next two years, will house 800 students on-campus, with the subsequent revenue put towards funding the program into the future and leading to an increase in the number of scholarships offered each year.
Graham Tuckwell, a former ANU student, said university education had transformed his life and he wanted to give more students the same opportunity.
“Louise and I benefited enormously from our educational experiences. We would like to help and encourage others to gain from a total university experience and to use it to benefit Australia,” Tuckwell said.
“We now want to give more students a chance to take part in the Tuckwell Scholarship Program, and to live in Australia’s premier student accommodation.”
Their latest contribution will also fund a $10 million purpose-built Scholars House, which is set to be the “pastoral, academic and social heart of the Tuckwell Scholarship Program”.
The new gift is estimated to be worth about $200 million over the next 30 years, once returns from the new halls of residence are included.
ANU Vice-Chancellor Professor Brian Schmidt AC said the “magnificent contribution” would give hundreds of young Australians the opportunity to access “an outstanding and transformative education at ANU”.
“Today marks a new beginning and a monumental contribution that will be a legacy for many decades to come,” Schmidt said.
“It is the beginning of a new future at ANU, and a new hallmark in the history of philanthropy in Australia.
“Graham and Louise Tuckwell are a couple who have already been beyond generous.”
Schmidt said the Tuckwell Scholarship Program, which awards 25 students with scholarships each year, had established itself as Australia’s most prestigious undergraduate scholarship.
“Graham and Louise now wish to have it expand and continue in perpetuity,” he said.
“The building of two new halls of residence will not only benefit the Scholarship Program but will provide much-needed additional on-campus accommodation.
“This is an exciting new way in which philanthropists and donors can make a huge positive contribution to tertiary education in this country.
“This is a truly outstanding contribution to the university, and to the nation.”
The Turnbull government has also welcomed the donation.
Minister for Education and Training Simon Birmingham said the donation would provide enhanced opportunities for future generations of students.
“Both Graham and Louise Tuckwell benefitted from a first class higher education and I commend them on their commitment to provide enhanced higher education opportunities to hundreds of young Australian students over future years,” Birmingham said.
“This long-term contribution, worth almost $200 million, will go to a program that has produced real world benefits for students since it commenced in 2013 and will now have an impact for many more students for decades to come.
“The Turnbull government sincerely thanks Graham and Louise Tuckwell for their generosity and the generous philanthropic example they continue to set.”
Tuckwell Scholarships, which are worth $21,700 a year for five years of undergraduate study, are awarded to students across Australia who show both academic merit and a commitment to give back to the Australian community.
Scholars also receive mentoring and other support services through Scholars House.
The program has a vision to provide opportunity and to inspire role models and leaders who can make a difference to Australia and the world.