UNE celebrates award of scholarships worth $8.8 million

Published 26 May 2010

pumpawilliams

A ceremony at the University of New England yesterday celebrated the award of more than 200 scholarships, totalling almost $8.8 million in value, to UNE students.

In welcoming scholarship donors and recipients and their families to UNE’s 2010 Scholarship Presentation Ceremony, the University’s Senior Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Deputy Vice-Chancellor Academic, Professor Graham Webb, said the ceremony celebrated “the generosity of donors and the achievements of students”.

Professor Webb said that the record number (214) and record total value of undergraduate and postgraduate scholarships awarded at this year’s ceremony were “remarkable”, and explained that there had been an increase of 30 per cent in scholarship donations over the past year.

He said that UNE’s Country Scholarship Scheme, established in 1998, was unique in Australia in providing opportunities for young people from regional and remote areas to study in a rural setting. This benefited regional Australia, he said, as research had shown that a high proportion of people who study in regional centres return to the regions to work.

“Scholarships are important for the region and can be life-changing for the recipients,” Professor Webb said before presenting UNE Country Scholarships, worth $5,000 a year for the duration of their course, to 22 first-year undergraduates.

Many of the undergraduate scholarships were presented by the individuals – or representatives of the organisations – donating them. “This is a wonderful event,” said Mr Max Schroder, who presented Max Schroder Country Scholarships to Cortney Skinner and Brittany Thomas. “It’s great for the recipients to be recognised,” Mr Schroder said, adding that the quantity of scholarship funds attracted by the University was “marvellous”.

The Max Schroder Scholarship is to assist Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students with living expenses and incidental costs of study. Mr Schroder, who studied at Armidale Teachers’ College in 1959-60 and gained BA (Honours) and MA degrees from UNE by distance education, said his experience in teaching Aboriginal children at an Armidale school had contributed to his interest in helping Aboriginal students at UNE.

Undergraduate scholarships presented for the first time this year included the Sarah Heagney Memorial Scholarship (presented by Mrs Julie Heagney to Emma Gillogly), the Bernard Coffey/UNE Country Scholarship (presented to Fiona Dean), and the Duncan Family Scholarship in Pharmacy (presented to Anthony Thomy).

In introducing the presentation of postgraduate scholarships, UNE’s Pro Vice-Chancellor Students and Social Inclusion, Eve Woodberry, who was acting as MC for the ceremony, explained that the scholarships are “awarded to students undertaking a Master’s degree by research, or a research doctoral degree”. “They are variously funded by the Commonwealth, the University, and a number of organisations, companies and individuals,” she said. “Postgraduate scholarships range in value from $1,000 for one year to $100,000 over three years, and, because of this, they are highly sought-after and competitive.”

Of the many postgraduate scholarships awarded to UNE students this year, 51 were presented at yesterday’s ceremony.

Commonwealth-funded scholarships include Australian Postgraduate Awards and International Postgraduate Research Scholarships, and UNE-funded scholarships include UNE Research Scholarships, UNE International Fee and/or Stipend Scholarships, UNE Strategic Scholarships, and Faculty International Scholarships. Donor organisations include the Australian Sheep Industry CRC, the Cotton Catchment Communities CRC, Forest and Wood Products Australia, and Olsson Industries Pty Ltd.

Privately-endowed postgraduate scholarships include the A.S. Nivison Memorial Scholarship (presented at yesterday’s ceremony to Fiona Fishpool), the Keith & Dorothy Mackay Honours Scholarships (presented to Simon Stubbs), and the Keith & Dorothy Mackay Travelling Scholarships (presented to Nicole Austin and Mohammed Habibullah Bahar).

Keith & Dorothy Mackay Travelling Scholarships are awarded to graduates who have demonstrated outstanding academic ability. The scholarships assist students with expenses towards a short-term attachment to another university, or attendance at an international conference where they will be presenting a paper on their research.

THE PHOTOGRAPH displayed here expands to show UNE’s Deputy Chancellor, Mr Scott Williams, with three of the 10 recipients of Scott Williams Opportunity Scholarships: (from left) Sarah Pumpa, Sophie Blyth and Tessa Roe.