Scholarships demonstrate community support for UNE

Published 23 May 2012

More than 200 scholarships, worth a total of $6.4 million, were presented last Thursday during an annual ceremony at the University of New England that celebrates both the aspirations of outstanding students and the generosity of the community.

In welcoming scholarship donors, and scholars and their families, to UNE’s 2012 Scholarship Presentation ceremony, the Vice-Chancellor, Professor Jim Barber, said that the support of the community demonstrated through the donation of scholarships was “important for the spirit and the soul of the University”.

Addressing the donors, Professor Barber said: “Thank you for your faith in us – and thank you for your faith in our students. We know they’ll do you proud.”

Among the scholarships presented for the first time this year are UNE Equity Scholarships for Environmental and Rural Science. Awarded to students from country areas, they are worth $6,000 a year for three years. The inaugural recipients are Emily Bidgood, Georgina Lawrence, Jessica Spence, Tayla Vanderneut and Claudia Vicary.

Another new scholarship this year is the Pat and Rob Robertson-Cuninghame Honours Scholarship, established with a generous donation from the Robertson-Cuninghame family and other donors. This scholarship, worth $6,000 for one year, is awarded to a student from a regional or remote area entering their Honours year in an Agriculture-based discipline. The inaugural recipient is Kimberley Duver.

The Ella Schroder Indigenous Residential Scholarship, also presented for the first time this year, pays the residential college fees of an Indigenous student who has completed secondary studies at boarding school. Kyle Neale is the recipient of this scholarship.

All these awards exemplify a major focus of UNE on scholarships to help outstanding young people who, for one reason or another, might not otherwise have been able to go to university.

Mrs Gloria Cook, representing Quota International of Armidale, presented Nicholas Evans, a third-year medical student, with the Quota International of Armidale Scholarship. Mr Evans, a mature-aged student who has brought his wife and two young children with him to Armidale, said the scholarship had “taken the pressure off” some of the financial aspects of this relocation. Coming from the small, “one-doctor” town of Coolamon in south-western NSW, his ambition is to practice medicine in a rural area – ideally, he said, in New England.

The Armidale branch of Quota, like others throughout the world, has a special interest in assisting hearing and speech-impaired people and disadvantaged women. Mrs Cook said that her meeting at the presentation ceremony with Mr Evans, who has a hearing impairment, was “a very proud moment” for her.

Some students were awarded more than one scholarship – one of these being Murray Scown, a PhD student who received not only the SportUNE Full Sporting Scholarship but also a Keith & Dorothy Mackay Postgraduate Travelling Scholarship. He said that the travelling scholarship would enable him to go to the United States later this year, where he will be involved in research at the U.S. Geological Survey’s Mississippi River Monitoring Field Station.

In introducing the presentation of postgraduate scholarships, UNE’s Pro Vice-Chancellor Students and Social Inclusion, Eve Woodberry, who was the MC for the ceremony, said that the scholarships were “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.

At the end of the ceremony Leah MacDonald, who was awarded a Country Scholarship in 2009, thanked both the University and the donors on behalf of all UNE scholarship recipients. Ms MacDonald, who graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree this year, is now undertaking an Honours project in Chemistry, and is also enrolled in UNE’s Diploma of Modern Languages program, majoring in Japanese.

THE PHOTOGRAPH displayed here shows Mrs Gloria Cook presenting the Quota International of Armidale Scholarship to Nicholas Evans.