Three major donations take University of Sydney $16 million closer to $600 million fundraising goal

The University of Sydney on Saturday 4 May announced three major gifts totalling $16 million, underlining the importance of philanthropy to the future of Australian universities, on the same day it publicly launched a major fundraising campaign.

VC announcing $600 million goal

INSPIRED – the Campaign to support the University of Sydney is the University’s first comprehensive fundraising campaign and the biggest fundraising drive of its kind in Australian higher education.

In January 2008, the University embarked on the quiet phase of its Campaign to raise $600 million from more than 40,000 donors over the coming decade. Thanks to the generosity of more than 28,000 passionate supporters, the Campaign has already raised more than $300 million to advance the standards of tertiary education, research and innovation.

At the launch event, Vice Chancellor and Principal Dr Michael Spence announced three major gifts totalling $16 million, setting the stage for another successful year of philanthropy at the University.

  • Australian entrepreneur, Mr Sean Howard, has pledged $10 million to establish the Valerie Mary Howard Initiative to advance new research, outstanding patient care, and exceptional teaching and learning facilities at Save Sight Institute.
  • An anonymous donor has made a commitment to donate $5 million to create a Teacher Enrichment Academy for Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) teachers – a multidisciplinary collaboration to strengthen the confidence of mathematics and science teachers in schools Australia-wide.
  • Long-time University of Sydney supporter, Mr Michael Hintze has also newly pledged $1 million to launch a flagship research and development incubator with the Charles Perkins Centre to explore commercially viable applications for improving individual and population health.

Dr Spence said, “As one of the leading research universities in the world, we feel a keen responsibility to build on our historical and present-day achievements in making a real difference to the local, national and international communities we serve.

“That is why INSPIRED – the Campaign to support the University of Sydney is such an important milestone in the history of this country’s higher education. Australian universities face some extraordinary challenges. It seems highly unlikely the tertiary education sector will see an increase in government financial support in the next decade, whatever the outcome of the forthcoming federal election.

“The federal government recently announced plans to cut around $2.5 billion from universities and student support to help fund planned reforms to the school system. These cuts follow a decade-long decline in the amount of funding we receive from government as a percentage of overall revenue.

“If we are to evolve in this challenging environment – if we are to support the future of tertiary education and inspire future generations of academics and students to make a difference beyond the walls of academia – we need to think creatively about new funding avenues.

“Philanthropy gives us the opportunity to rise above the level of business-as-usual and achieve something special. The generosity of donors plays an important part in our 160-year history: the greatest of our achievements have occurred because our supporters shared our vision for the future.

INSPIRED – the Campaign to support the University of Sydney is a celebration of all that we are capable of. By working together in pursuit of our shared passions, we can make a real difference for future generations,” said Dr Spence.

About the University of Sydney

The University of Sydney is a leading, comprehensive research and teaching university committed to the transformative power of education and to fostering greater knowledge and understanding of the world and its people.

Our people help to shape national and international agendas and to find solutions to real-world problems.