The University of Melbourne has launched the largest philanthropic Campaign in its 160-year history, seeking to raise $500 million by 2017.

At its official launch last night, the University announced $42 million in new gifts; since 2008, it has attracted $249 million in gifts, with more than 12,000 donors giving support to the Believe; The Campaign for the University of Melbourne.

The gifts, which have come from students, alumni, staff, companies, charitable foundations and the public, will enable the University to increase its world-leading research into major health initiatives including Indigenous eye health, human rights and criminology and child mental health.

They will also enable the University to offer more scholarships to make it easier for young people to access higher education and to improve its cultural, sporting and Indigenous programs.

Among the $42 million in gifts announced this week was a pledge of $10 million from Allan and Maria Myers, the largest lifetime gift ever pledged by individual donors to the University. This gift will provide vital support for the Faculties of Law and Arts, medical research, the Melbourne Theatre Company and for Newman College.

The pledge also creates the Myers Campaign Fund to support priority projects and encourage additional philanthropic gifts. New gifts announced this week include:

      • $5 million from the Financial Markets Foundation for Children for a Chair of Developmental Mental Health.
      • $10 million from The Ian Potter Foundation, Martyn and Louise Myer, and The Myer Foundation, for the exciting development of the Southbank Campus – using the leverage that philanthropy can provide to encourage government to work in partnership. The Ian Potter Foundation has also provided $1 million to further support Professor Hugh Taylor’s work into Indigenous eye health.
      • $2.3 million from John Higgins to establish the Gerry Higgins Chair in Positive Psychology in the Melbourne Graduate School of Education.
      • $1m in new scholarships, including more than $755,000 for scholarships at International House and University PhD Students studying at the Murdoch Childrens Research Institute from Leigh and Sue Clifford, and $200,000 for a medical scholarship at Janet Clarke Hall from Virginia Casey and Nigel and Richard Stratham.

 

WATCH THE VIDEO ON YOUTUBE

 University of Melbourne Vice-Chancellor Professor Glyn Davis said by raising extra funds through the community the University could better tackle major challenges facing the world.

“This Campaign will help us go beyond what a university can achieve with current funding levels. It is about lifting Melbourne to number among the finest universities in the world. It will allow us to educate tomorrow’s leaders, help us find answers to some of the most important challenges facing the world and strengthen our ties with communities in every corner of the world,” he said.

“It will give us greater resources to offer scholarships to students who have the ability and the will, but often not the means to aspire to higher education. It will enable us to attract the best lecturers and teaching staff to inspire students and to attract and retain world-leading researchers to help us tackle issues from mental health care in children to human rights, making further inroads to curing cancer and helping improve Indigenous eye health.”

Professor Davis said while some of Australia’s most generous philanthropic organisations and individuals had given to the University, it was pleasing to see that donations had also come from a wide range of people in all stages of their lives.

“We’ve been fortunate to receive donations from almost 600 students as well as more than 1900 staff who believe that by giving to the University they can make a real difference,” he said.

Campaign Chairman Mr Allan Myers, AO QC, said changes to traditional funding sources meant universities needed to consider new sources of investment if they wanted to continue having an impact on society.

“Melbourne has enjoyed a strong history of philanthropy which has provided students with the chance to study, delivered facilities for learning and research and enabled a great breadth of academic teaching and research to flourish. The world is richer because of this,” he said.

“This Campaign will help build on that legacy and will ensure the university can stand tall with the greatest universities in the world, all of which have a common ambition to have a lasting and positive impact on society – be that through educating great and compassionate leaders, or meeting global challenges through research.”

The Campaign is supported by a 20-member board, which is being led by Mr Myers and includes such distinguished names as Mr Leigh Clifford AO (Deputy Chair) and Mr Martyn Myer AO (Deputy Chair) as well as 18 Patrons including University of Melbourne Chancellor Ms Elizabeth Alexander AM, Sir Roderick Carnegie AC, Sir James Gobbo AC CVO, Mr Hugh Morgan AC, Lady Potter AC and Mrs Jeanne Pratt AC.

For details of the campaign go to: campaign.unimelb.edu.au