The University of Newcastle has launched its second Annual Appeal to raise money for the Shaping Futures Scholarship Fund, which provides $4,000 scholarships for academically gifted students facing hardship.
The Fund was established last year with three scholarship recipients. This year, thanks to generous donations, eight scholarships have been awarded.
Vice-Chancellor Professor Caroline McMillen said for her, the Appeal was personal and embodied the University’s commitment to equity.
“I understand first-hand how education can shape people’s futures. My own journey through my medical degree and PhD was made possible through generous help I received along the way from foundations and benefactors.
“Almost 27 per cent of the University’s students are from financially disadvantaged backgrounds, which is around double the national average. I invite community and business members to join us in supporting these students by donating to the Shaping Futures Scholarship Fund,” she said.
Felicity Collis received a Shaping Futures Scholarship this year. The 22-year-old social work student has overcome a turbulent past to follow what she says is her calling.
“I always dreamed of studying at university but my family situation stood in my way for a long time. I was very confused and emotional and just before my HSC, I was asked to leave home,” she said.
Two years later Felicity felt she was in a place to pursue her dream and was accepted into the University to study a Bachelor of Social Work.
“My story is not told from a place of sadness, but of determination and hope. The scholarship is something I will hold close for the rest of my life as it provides financial support and demonstrates that people really believe in me.
Supporter and alum, Peter Brecht, gave to Shaping Futures because, in his own words, “these amazing students are crying out for help.
“So many people and organisations need help and every one of them is probably worthy. I chose to give where I feel connected – to my university and my community – not to receive praise or accolades, but to recognise that there are simply not enough scholarships for these remarkable students,” he said.
The Annual Appeal runs until the beginning of next year. Donations can be made through the University Foundation on 02 4921 7453 or at www.newcastle.edu.au/foundation/annual-appeal
Note: Felicity Collis is available for interview. Professional, high-resolution images are also available.
Media contact: Benieke Treverton / University Foundation on 02 4985 4178 or 0404 624 969
About the University of Newcastle Foundation:
The Foundation is the platform for philanthropic support for the University of Newcastle. Donations help fund student scholarships, academic positions and research.