The St Ann's College Foundation was launched in 1987 to support St Ann's College in providing students from regional and rural Australia and overseas with high-quality accommodation, services and facilities in an inspiring academic environment while they are studying towards tertiary qualifications.
As the College receives no funding from any government, religious or educational body it depends entirely on student fees and generous benefactors who believe in its work and the future benefit to society of well-educated young people.
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The following is a speech presented by Foundation Chairman Mr Gary Lines, at the St Ann's Gala Dinner, 22 June 2012
“Distinguished guests and friends of St. Ann’s College. Tonight I want to talk to you about the St. Ann’s College Foundation and the work of the executive committee. Jim will give you some history of the Foundation and its achievements since its inauguration, but I want to talk about more recent activity and what the Foundation means to me and how proud I am to serve on the committee.
As most of you will be aware, the College receives no financial support from any outside institution and is not affiliated with any religious group, nor do we receive anything from any government. We are purely self-funded and this makes the Foundation’s work of paramount importance.
The Foundation exists solely for the purpose of supporting the College’s needs in regard to new buildings, services and upgrades, and renovations, and the supply and upgrading of equipment where necessary. You can imagine this work is never done, never completed; there are always many projects for the Foundation to embrace. So it is imperative that we bring order and focus to our work.
To this end, the current committee has adopted a project-a-year approach to give the committee the necessary focus to achieve and be accountable. It is my view that our students are held to account, they must work and work hard, they must succeed and I believe that the Foundation executive committee must be held to the same measure. We must also be held to account. We must work hard and succeed. We must lead by example.
Consistent with identifying and committing to a project per year, last year the committee identified security for our students as being a top priority. If you have passed the College recently you might have noticed the new perimeter wall extending down Brougham Place to the Melbourne Street corner. The new wall was commissioned to replace the existing brush and cyclone fencing. Additionally, the entry and exit security was also upgraded and this included sensor lighting and limiting access to the College after hours and introducing electronic key fobs. This year the committee, along with the College itself and the Collegians, will upgrade our IT systems, thus providing our students with the best technological services possible in order to augment their study and research. The Foundation’s war cry and litmus test for doing anything is based on the mantra of ‘what is in the best interests of the students’. Of course this is our only reason to exist.
The other vital work of the Foundation and equally important, includes supporting and encouraging corporations and individuals to establish bursaries and scholarships. Our support extends to actual funding and in the last 3 years the Foundation has contributed in the order of $300,000 to bursaries and scholarships. I suppose the question is, why should we pay for students to come to the College? Well simply put, to be awarded one of these bursaries or scholarships is an incredible honour for those whose academic results and social responsibility, College and community participation, and leadership have warranted recognition in this way. In a number of these cases, financial hardship is also taken into account and some very talented and bright young men and women will get a chance to enter University where they otherwise might not have. This early recognition can have a profound effect on a young person. It can be an ignition point in their lives where they are propelled to achieve their best.
Of course all this takes money and the College, as I have already mentioned, is self-funded and while this independence is appreciated and cherished, it comes with a downside and that is, we need to raise funds to continue the on-going work of the Foundation. Now my job is to ask for money. It is that simple and while it might be a bit confronting for some, including me, I don’t mind saying, there is no other way to describe fund-raising. You have to ask. However, in my view, however important asking for money is, it is eclipsed by the importance of saying thank you. We can’t do our work without the generosity of corporations and individuals, you have come along this evening to help out the College and for that and on behalf of the committee and the College, I say a very heart-felt thank you. However, I should say though, if any of you are feeling a tiny bit generous this evening and you would like to discuss how you might participate even more than your attendance, then feel free to tap me on the shoulder anytime. There, I have asked, as promised.
I would like now to leave you with one last thought. Most of you will be aware that the majority of our students come from the country regions. I am always so encouraged and excited by how they are embraced at our College and the professional care shown to them by our beloved Principal, Dr Rosemary Brooks, and her equally professional and caring partner Simon Stevens. The students, when they arrive, and during their stay, are supported both academically through the excellent tutoring program run by Dr Brooks, but also they are immediately embraced and made to feel at home, or as much as is possible when you leave your home at such a young age. I wonder how alien it must feel for a young person to leave everything they know, their family, and their home, to come to what would be to them the big city, move into a College, meet hundreds of new people, learn the protocols, find their spot and figure out how to live without the support of their families and then buckle down to their undergraduate degrees. But they do and with outstanding success. Dr Brooks will tell you later this evening just how successful these young men and women are at our College, you can’t help but be impressed and humbled by their achievements.
Cliché it might be but nonetheless, these are the leaders of tomorrow. They will be the professionals running government, the researchers discovering new life-saving medicines, the entrepreneurs building the wealth of the nation, the doctors and engineers who will build Australia, keep us safe and well, and employ our children and grandchildren. I think that whatever any of us can do to participate in supporting these young men and women as they start their remarkable adult journey, is a most worthy calling and contribution to Australian society. Thank you very much.”
The picture is from the topping of the new security wall completed in June 2012.