Welcome message from the Vice-Chancellor

I am delighted to welcome you to our first donor stewardship and recognition newsletter dKin Difference.

dKin Difference is an opportunity for us to say thank you to our valuable donors – Deakin’s philanthropic family.

Your support is enabling our researchers to push the boundaries, to take the risks and pursue the innovations that are leading to ground breaking discoveries in core research areas of health, manufacturing, energy, robotics and cyber security.

And thanks to your generosity, we have been able to provide the scholarships that give students who would not otherwise have the opportunity, the chance to gain an education that will not only change their lives and the lives of their families, but also make a positive contribution to society.

Your generosity is making a very real difference to the quality of education we are able to offer our students and to Deakin’s capacity to enable world-leading and transformative research.

Thank you for your vision and your faith in Deakin. Your support is enabling our researchers to push the boundaries, to take the risks and pursue the innovations that are leading to ground breaking discoveries in core research areas of health, manufacturing, energy, robotics and cyber security.

Through this newsletter we look forward to keeping you in touch with the work Deakin is doing.

Professor Jane den Hollander AO

The de Boer family

A life punctuated by emotional and physical abuse defined the childhood of Ellenor de Boer. Growing up on a farm in the Western Districts of Victoria, she very quickly began to believe that her traumatic home-life was in fact, normal. It wasn’t until Ellenor reached adulthood, that she realised the depression she was living with was as a result of the abuse she suffered.

“I have struggled emotionally to keep my head above water most of my life but when my father died all hell broke loose in the family and I needed help to cope,” Ellenor said.

“In the past I had dabbled with alternative therapies which helped to a degree, but this time I decided to go to a psychologist. I was so appreciative of the help I received and it made me realise that seeking assistance from a professional who had properly documented research to draw on and share with others was the correct decision to make.

“I always knew I was going to leave my money to research into mental illness as I don’t have any children and I wanted to benefit the community in some way, just as my Grandparents and Father did for their communities.

“Since becoming involved with Deakin, I can see what an enormous asset it is to Geelong and the surrounds, the work that is done through IMPACT, with professor Michael Berk and his team of psychologists is exactly what I want to support so that I can be part of something larger that could help save people from going through some of the struggles that I have been through.”

Ellenor’s husband Ron de Boer is similarly disposed toward the philanthropic ideal, and shares her desire to support research into mental illness and eye research as well as Robotics and Mechatronics, which his son is currently completing his PhD in at Deakin’s Waurn Ponds Campus.

“Deakin, through the Vice-Chancellor, Professor Jane den Hollander AO, has been a contributor to Geelong’s growth, economically and culturally where we hear little from other institutions. I have seen this with the investments in smart manufacturing and in organisations like the Geelong Symphony Orchestra,” he says.

“For both Ellenor and I, the thought of being able to help people, young or old, with mental health issues is close, especially to Ellenor’s heart, but also to mine,” he says.

“Our reality is that we did not want to Will our money to some sort of esoteric research never used and forgotten about. We wanted it used so it would benefit the community, both locally and internationally, if possible.

So we needed an organisation that is reputable and accountable and after learning more about Deakin, we realized that it fitted this criteria, it also happened to be part of the Geelong community where we live and also gave both my children Madelyne and Nicholas, the opportunities they needed to learn in their chosen fields of study.”

Moore Family Scholarship

John and Greg O’Brien, descendants from one of Warrnambool’s founding families established the Moore Family Scholarship in 2008 as a lasting legacy and to honour their mother and aunt.

Arriving in the Warrnambool district from a famine-ravaged Ireland in the 1840s and 50s, brothers John and James Moore acquired land on the Merri River and encouraged their sister Mary’s seven children to join them. The Moore family prospered in the Warrnambool district in the 160 years or so that followed and contributed considerably to the development of the local rural and regional community.

Mary Isabella (Isabelle) Moore and her sister Eileen Marjorie O’Brien completed their nursing training at the Warrnambool Base Hospital around the time of World War II. The Moore Family Scholarship is funded from the estates of Marjorie and Isabelle and also their brother John (Jack) Moore.

“Even though I live on the other side of Australia my brother and I still have a place for Warrnambool in our hearts,”

“We wanted to provide an opportunity for a young member of the Warrnambool or Western District community to take up nursing and eventually contribute to the wellbeing of the community – just like our mother and aunt.”” John O’Brien said.

John and Greg considered funding a student at one of the University’s in Western Australia, but wanted to give back to the south-west community by supporting a deserving rural and regional student wanting to study nursing at Warrnambool – just like Isabelle and Marjorie.

Since 2008, the Moore Family Scholarship has supported three students including Kari Searle, the most recent scholarship recipient.

Moore Family Scholarship recipient Kari Searle at the Warrnambool campus

Kari Searl’s journey

Moore Family Scholarship recipient and Bachelor of Nursing and Psychology student Kari Searl shares her story. 

I first began studying at Deakin University in 2013, coming directly from high school into the Bachelor of Nursing and Psychology. During my earlier years in high school I had suffered from depression and anxiety, and consequently missed a significant amount of time at school.

Because of that, getting into university was an achievement I never thought I would accomplish. So, it was a great surprise when I was accepted. However, having not been able to work meant I had very little money at the time. I could not afford a laptop, a car, or textbooks and I relied heavily on my already financially burdened family. Wanting to help alleviate that, I applied for the Moore Family Scholarship. When I was informed I had received it I felt extremely overwhelmed and privileged. The relief of not having to worry about the financial burden of university meant I was able to devote all my efforts to focusing on my studies.

Living in Warrnambool and studying nursing was somewhat challenging. Each year I had weeks of clinical placement, most of which were anywhere from half an hour away in Terang or Port Fairy, to almost four hours away in Sunshine or Clayton. Had it not been for the scholarship I received, I may not have been able afford to travel each day, or to stay away from home to complete these placements.

Sadly, two and a half years into my course, my father was diagnosed with terminal cancer. Following his diagnosis, I intermitted my course to care for him in his final six months, and took an additional six months off from study following his passing. Upon returning to study, I transferred out of nursing, but continued to pursue psychology.

During this time, John and Greg O’Brien, the representatives for the Moore Family Scholarship continued to support me. I was blown away by their compassion and understanding. Their interest in not only my progression throughout my studies, but also my personal wellbeing is something I am wholeheartedly grateful for. I have always been passionate about wanting to help others, and the support and generosity from the O’Brien’s has afforded me the opportunity do that. In 2018, I plan to continue my studies, completing 4th year honours in psychology.

It is hard to put into words how much I appreciate the kindness of both John and Greg, but would like to extend my sincerest thanks to them for all their support over the last five years.


Institute for Healthcare Transformation

The Institute for Healthcare Transformation is set to position Deakin University as the premier Australian centre for health systems research, and a leader in health reform.

At a time when health systems across the world are under significant pressure from the increasing burden of chronic disease and an ageing population, Deakin University is establishing its fifth research institute, the Institute for Healthcare Transformation.

The new Institute will deliver cutting edge health systems research, nationally and internationally, with the goal of positioning Deakin University as the premier Victorian and Australian centre for health systems research, and a leader in health reform.

This outward facing, collaborative initiative will leverage the University’s research strengths in health, building the scale and scope to support world-class health systems research, eHealth and health innovation.

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