Leading from the front: a message from the Vice-Chancellor

Vice-Chancellor Professor Jane den Hollander AO and husband Dr Jeroen den Hollander (far right) with 2017 den Hollander Scholarship recipients (L-R) Maxi Jerram-Snell, Matthew Li, and Adrian Ferdinand

I have always believed that amazing things are possible when you invest in people.

As assemblers of great talent and ideas factories where passion, creativity and idealism blend seamlessly with discipline depth, universities provide a unique investment opportunity for the philanthropically minded.

Philanthropy is often the missing piece of the funding puzzle for universities, funding the inspirational and innovative work that governments and universities themselves can’t always do.

We are honoured that you have chosen Deakin as a part of your philanthropy.

I have often shared my view that philanthropy is a very personal act that reflects our core beliefs. What I do not often share, however, is my own personal journey of philanthropy and as I look toward my retirement in 2019, it seems a perfect time to do so.

When I began a Bachelor of Science in Zoology at Wits University in Johannesburg many years ago now, I was the first member of my extended family to attend university.

I can personally attest to how life-changing further education can be and I understand the challenges and opportunities that come from pursuing further education when you have no knowledge of the culture or ways of working in universities.

Through the den Hollander Scholarship Fund, established in 2013, my husband Jeroen and I have, this far, supported eight Deakin “first in family” students as they strive towards their dream of a university education.

Deakin is committed to giving back to the communities we serve and I believe that asylum seekers and refugees are a particularly vulnerable part of our community and deserve our support.

My family, like many others, knows we are facing the greatest humanitarian crisis of our time and feel a responsibility to do everything we can to help. It is this sense of responsibility that inspires our passionate support of Deakin’s Sanctuary Scholarships for students like Afghan refugee Javid Mohammadi, who you can read about in this edition of dKin Difference.

Together, we can harness the power of philanthropy to create leaders who will play a major role in seeing world-changing ideas come to life, transforming lives and communities.

Thank you for your commitment and leadership in supporting higher education and Australia’s most valuable resource – its people.

Professor Jane den Hollander AO