UQ Gets $8M Gift for the Arts
18 August 2016 at 8:56 am
A Brisbane philanthropist has donated $8 million in what is being hailed the biggest ever donation dedicated to the arts in Queensland.
The gift from the estate of the late Paula Kinnane to the University of Queensland will benefit arts and music programs at the university and across the state.
UQ deputy vice-chancellor of external engagement Professor Iain Watson told Pro Bono Australia News it was “really good news”.
“We are just checking but we think at the moment it is certainly the largest arts focussed gift UQ has received and definitely one of the largest in Queensland as well, so we’re very, very happy,” Watson said.
“I think at a time when arts and music are obviously extremely important culturally to not just the university but to Brisbane and Queensland, I think a support such as this just really gives them a huge boost.
“But it is also for the students, you know, arts and music students really deserve the opportunity to put things back in the community and through the internships that they’ll have within the arts museum and also through regional engagement through music and well being, I think it is a fantastic opportunity.”
The $8 million bequest from Kinnane and her late husband Tony, who had a long association with UQ as residents of St Lucia, will establish endowment funds that benefit the UQ Art Museum, School of Music students and audiences across the state.
In particular, the Kinnane bequest will enable the UQ Art Museum to establish internships to provide students with gallery and museum skills.
UQ Art Museum director Dr Campbell Gray said the impact would be significant.
“This inspirational bequest will help undergraduate and PhD students gain important practical training and experiences within the UQ Art Museum,” Gray said.
The bequest will also deepen the School of Music’s long-standing partnership with the Queensland Music Festival, boosting music education and engagement in remote areas of Queensland.
School of Music head Professor Margaret Barrett said the gift could make a huge impact on people’s lives.
“Engaging with music can transform people’s health and well-being throughout their lives,” Barrett said.
“This gift has the power to change lives through the learning and research that will flow through to communities.”
In acknowledgment of the gift, the Kinnanes’ love of music will be commemorated in an annual lecture that will be open to the public and will bring a leading musical educator to the university.
UQ vice-chancellor and president Professor Peter Høj said the “extraordinary” gift was proof of the importance of the arts in the community.
“This extraordinarily generous gift is evidence that many of our donors and the broader community place the arts at the centre of their lives,” Høj said.
“A gift of this magnitude underlines UQ’s importance as a strong cultural steward, and will create genuine change for our students and further afield.”
It comes as UQ’s rapid rise up the world rankings was revealed this week with the release of 2016 ARWU rankings. UQ now sits at 55th in the world, as the second best university in Australia behind the University of Melbourne which reached 40 in the world rankings.
Watson said philanthropy was instrumental in helping the university compete at the top.
“I think increasingly so, philanthropy is a recognised necessity as a source of funds, to compete at the very top and obviously that’s where UQ and quality institutions are trying to compete,” Watson said.
“So when we receive gifts such as these it not only provides evidence and support for what we are doing, but it also helps us get closer and closer to our competitors.”