This year marks the 12th year of Deakin’s partnership with the George Alexander Foundation (GAF), a collaboration that provides life-changing opportunities for Deakin students at the Geelong and Warrnambool campuses.
GAF scholarships focus on providing opportunities for talented rural and regional students, a philosophy that aligns perfectly with the university’s belief that geographic location and financial circumstances should not be a barrier to a university education.
What started as a first-time gift of $150,000 to support five scholarships has become the university’s largest donor-funded scholarship program, with five scholarships valued at $24,000 each awarded in 2018.
Mr Craig Connelly, CEO of GAF, looks back at the organisation’s long time partnership with Deakin and is pleased to see how the scholarship program has had a transformative effect on so many young students.
“With the wealth that George then accumulated over his lifetime he felt it appropriate to give back to the community and offer young people the same helping hand he benefited from early in his own career,” Mr Connelly said.
“It is for that reason that GAF’s scholarship program at Deakin University assists students who show community spirit, leadership potential and the ability to attain their educational goals.
“George always said his scholars were his greatest legacy, so he would be very pleased to see that there are now 68 GAF scholars and alumni from Deakin University’s regional campuses in the Greater Geelong area.”
In 2018, GAF is providing scholarship support for 13 students at various stages of their university studies, including first year Bachelor of Design (Architecture) student Iain Colliver.
My home is in Somers but once I was accepted to study architecture at Deakin Waterfront, it was necessary for me to move to Geelong. The George Alexander Foundation scholarship has helped me to maintain my independence and support my relocation from the Mornington Peninsula to attend university. I have had a lifelong interest in architecture and know this is the field I want to be in. Working with Rod Hannah Design Group over the past year has cemented my dream of becoming an architect. Being able to pursue this childhood dream of creating pieces of history in the built environment that will remain long after I am gone, is something I believe I will never tire of as a career.
As George Alexander himself once said, “encouraging bright young students, regardless of background, has been immensely satisfying.”
Deakin University extends its sincere thanks to the staff and Trustees of the George Alexander Foundation for their ongoing support of Deakin’s students and commitment to “planting seeds and hoping they grow into pretty big trees.”
The role of Trusts and Foundations
Trusts and foundations play an important role in philanthropy in Australia, particularly when it comes to the university sector.
The most recent philanthropic impact report from Universities Australia* revealed that in 2016, five distinct donor groups – trusts and foundations, business, non-alumni individuals, alumni, and other organisations – gifted a total of $324 million to the university sector.
Of these donor groups, trusts and foundations was the most generous, contributing $145 million (45 per cent).
At Deakin, our valued partnerships with generous trusts and foundations allow us to continue offering students a transformative education, nurture ground breaking research and sustain a strong and vibrant community.
* The Impact of Philanthropy in the Australian Higher Education Sector,
Universities Australia, May 2018