$1 million bequest creates new Latin Lectureship

Published 28 April 2009

inscriptionA generous bequest of $1 million is strengthening the University of New England’s long-held position as a leading provider of education in Classical Greek and Latin.

The Vice-Chancellor, Professor Alan Pettigrew, launched a new lectureship in Latin – the Charles Tesoriero Lectureship – during a ceremony at UNE on Friday. He explained that the new lectureship had been made possible through the generosity of Dr Charles Tesoriero, “a past and greatly valued staff member at UNE”.

Professor Pettigrew and the Chancellor, the Hon. Richard Torbay MP, thanked all those – including family members and colleagues – who had assisted in establishing the bequest. Dr Torbay said that Charles Tesoriero, who died in 2005 at the age of 32, was “very sorely missed”, and that the “extreme generosity” of the bequest was “a testament to his passion for the Classics”.

Professor Pettigrew said that Dr Tesoriero, who held a lectureship in Classics at UNE from 2001 until 2005, had been “a charismatic teacher and dedicated researcher”. “His outstanding contribution to the teaching of both Latin and Roman history and civilisation, and to curriculum development in Latin language and literature, was appreciated and acknowledged by staff and students alike,” he said.

He described current – and future – initiatives in the teaching of Classics at UNE, including the development of online Latin and Greek units to be offered Australia-wide and overseas, saying that the Charles Tesoriero Lectureship would be the “cornerstone” of these initiatives in the teaching of Latin language and literature.

Dr Tamara Neal, one of the executors of Charles Tesoriero’s Will, was present at the ceremony, during which Greg Horsley, UNE’s Professor of Classics and Ancient History, read a statement from the other executor – Ron Tesoriero, Charles’s uncle and godfather. “We are pleased that the University was enthusiastic about putting into effect the lectureship that Charles wanted,” his statement read, “and we are also pleased that the University was willing to supplement the amount of the bequest to ensure that the lectureship will be able to endure into the future.”

“Charles believed that the teaching of Latin was a means of exposing students to the foundations of Western culture and language,” Mr Tesoriero’s statement continued, “and he regretted that Latin, a language that had traditionally been regarded as important, was no longer considered as relevant.

“He was also very much aware of the limitations that existed for others to have academic opportunities at a teaching level in Latin at university.

“His concern for them moved him to provide for two monumental acts of philanthropy. He bequeathed one million dollars to this university (UNE) and another one million dollars to the University of Sydney so that new lectureships could be established.”

“It is my hope that those who benefit from Charles’s bequest will not only advance the cause of promoting a love for the classics, but will also learn something of the motives for philanthropy – that concern for others that we of the family will always have as our memory of Charles,” the statement concluded. (Full text of statement.)

Clicking on the image displayed here reveals a photograph, taken at last Friday’s launch, of (from left) Professor Alan Pettigrew, Dr Tamara Neal, and the Hon. Richard Torbay MP.