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University of Sydney announced as Founding Partner for $100 million Westpac Bicentennial Foundation


2 April 2014

The University of Sydney has been announced as a founding partner of Westpac Bicentennial Foundation, the single largest private education scholarship program in Australia's history.

Westpac today announced a one-off contribution of $100 million to fund about 100 scholarships every year in perpetuity, as part of the bank's approaching 200th anniversary in 2017.

Dr Michael Spence, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Sydney, welcomed the announcement:

"By helping universities to fund the pursuit of ideas that will shape the world in which we live, Westpac will help universities like Sydney remain at the forefront of teaching and research worldwide, and pursue discoveries that will benefit all Australians.

"With Westpac's support we will continue to be a place of exceptional scholarship, world-class facilities and brilliant students," Dr Spence said.

The Westpac Bicentennial Foundation was launched today by Westpac CEO Gail Kelly and Westpac Chairman Lindsay Maxsted at a gala luncheon in Sydney, with the Universities of Sydney and Melbourne both announced as founding partners.

Scholarships and awards will roll out from 2015 and will be granted by the Westpac Bicentennial Foundation in partnership with the University of Sydney and other Australian universities. The programs are expected to be fully operational by 2017.

The University of Sydney will offer three of the five available scholarship and awards programs through the Foundation, including Future Leaders, Best and Brightest and Asian exchange.

Westpac Group Chairman Mr Maxsted said: "Westpac Bicentennial Foundation is designed to support Australians who are shaping a better Australia, while also supporting and nurturing tomorrow's leaders, and we are proud to be able to provide around 100 scholarships and awards each year."

Westpac CEO Mrs Kelly emphasised the link between the new Foundation and Westpac's long history of supporting communities: "We strongly believe that as a vital part of the Australian community, Westpac has a responsibility to play a role in ensuring we capitalise on every opportunity to help nurture future leaders."

"At the University of Sydney, we believe that each philanthropic contribution continues to grow the sector across the Australian community. With this initiative, Westpac will lead the way for others," said Dr Spence.

"We are enormously proud at Sydney of our INSPIRED campaign, which commenced in 2008 and will see us raise $600 million from 40,000 supporters to fund the pursuit of ideas that will shape the world in which we live. From day one, our commitment has been that every person who makes a gift, regardless of the dollar amount, will be contributing to our goal."

The scholarship programs expected to be on offer at the University of Sydney include:

  • Future Leaders scholarships of up to $120,000 per recipient will be awarded to new or recent graduates for postgraduate study at a prestigious global institution. Recipients will come from a wide range of disciplines, with preference given to Australia's relationship with Asia, and technology and innovation.
  • Best and Brightest scholarships will provide awards to postdoctoral researchers in Australia's leading research universities. Recipients will be selected based on their research work, which will focus on enhancing Australia's competitive position in technology and innovation, or strengthening Australia's ties with Asian economies. Successful applicants will each receive $330,000 over three years.
  • Asian Exchange scholarships of up to $10,000 will provide the opportunity for Australian undergraduate students to spend a semester at a leading Asian University, with a focus on increasing the number of Asia-literate graduates in Australia.

For information on all scholarships offered through Westpac Bicentennial Foundation visit www.westpac.com.au/200years


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Media enquiries: Kirsten Andrews, 02 9114 0748, 0413 777 404, kirsten.andrews@sydney.edu.au