Largest gift to the University of Sydney will transform approach to healthcare

Isaac and Susan Wakil

Isaac and Susan Wakil

The University of Sydney has received a $35 million gift from the Susan and Isaac Wakil Foundation. In 2015 the Wakils gave an unprecedented $10.8 million to Sydney Nursing School to establish 12 annual nursing scholarships, bringing their total University giving to nearly $46 million.

The gift will enable construction of the main building within the University of Sydney’s proposed Health Precinct. For the first time multiple health disciplines will come together in a purpose-built facility to translate research into education and clinical services.

“We were inspired by the radical and innovative approach the University of Sydney is taking to address immediate and future healthcare challenges,’’ Mr Wakil said. “Susan and I are pleased to be able to make this project a reality.”

Chancellor Belinda Hutchinson AM (BEc ’76) highlights the impact the Wakil’s donation will have on the community. “Susan and Isaac Wakil’s incredible generosity will harness greater collaboration between all the health faculties to deliver better healthcare to millions of people,” said the Chancellor. “The next generation of health professionals must meet the challenges in healthcare in Australia and internationally with training that supports innovative, multidisciplinary team based clinical care.”

The Susan Wakil Health Building will co-locate the faculties of Nursing and Midwifery and Health Sciences, with components of Medicine, Pharmacy and Dentistry. It will provide state of the art clinical simulation programs and a multi-service clinic, as well as flexible infrastructure that supports team-based research programs.

“Thanks to the Wakil’s extraordinary gift, we can provide a hub for students of the health disciplines where knowledge and skills are shared and developed across the faculties,” said Vice-Chancellor and Principal Dr Michael Spence (BA ’85 LLB ’87). “The Health Precinct is being designed on the successful multi-disciplinary model of the Charles Perkins Centre. By combining knowledge across disciplines, we can translate research into real-world outcomes.”

In further recognition of the gift, the Faculty of Nursing will be named “The University of Sydney Susan Wakil School of Nursing and Midwifery”. The University will also name the professorship held by the Dean of the Faculty of Nursing and Midwifery as “The Susan Wakil Dean’s Professorship of Nursing and Midwifery”; while a second professorship will be called “The Susan and Isaac Wakil Professorship of Healthy Ageing”, in recognition of both donors.

Honorary Associate Professor Ross Steele AM (BA ’60) is a longstanding friend of the Wakils and introduced them to the work being done at the University of Sydney. “I’m delighted to have helped connect the Wakil’s desire to support Australia’s healthcare system with the University’s visionary approach to health research and education.”

The Wakil’s gift is the largest donation to the University of Sydney since it was founded in 1850. The campaign to support the University of Sydney is the most successful fundraising campaign in Australian higher education history, having raised over $600 million via philanthropic donations, two years ahead of schedule.

Media inquiries:

Verity Leatherdale: 02 9351 4312 , 0403 067 342,

The Susan Wakil Health Building will be the main building within the University of Sydney’s Health Precinct and will become synonymous with excellence in healthcare education, research and clinical services.

The Health Precinct will be built within the University’s main campus in Camperdown on the site currently occupied by the Blackburn and Bosch buildings.

Work has already commenced on relocations, demolitions and site clearance for the Susan Wakil Health Building with main construction commencing in May 2017.
Total precinct wide approved development area: 75,500m2

Approved height, up to 13 floors

Construction Completion: Q1, 2019

Teaching commences: Semester 2, 2019

Facilities within the building include:

  • Clinical simulation laboratory
  • Clinical practice rooms
  • Rehabilitation gym
  • Informal collaboration spaces
  • Media rooms
  • Up to 350 seat lecture theatres
  • Case study lecture theatres
  • Seminar rooms
  • Learning studios
  • 50 seat café
  • Administrative offices
  • Silent rooms