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University of Sydney achievement and ambition inspires donors to a record 2011


15 December 2011



While the A$20.6 million sale of a rare Picasso given to the University of Sydney dominated the headlines in June, this was just the tip of the iceberg in a record year for philanthropic giving.

During 2011, the University has received more than $73 million in philanthropy, exceeding all previous records for an Australian university. More than 9000 donors - enough to fill the University's Great Hall 18 times over - have made more than 12,000 individual gifts and, among a wide range of other initiatives supporting both teaching and research, endowed 11 professorial chairs.

Just as generous philanthropic support has revitalised the University of Sydney time and again during its history, 2011 will have a transformative effect in the future.

"Our future is tied in no small part to our capacity to find new sources of support," says Vice-Chancellor and Principal Dr Michael Spence. "Now, more than ever, the ongoing support of our alumni and friends plays a critical role in making that difference between a good, and a truly great institution.

"There is no doubt philanthropy can transform both the scope and the quality of our ultimate achievement."

The vast majority of donors were individuals or families, and 60 percent were alumni.

Dr Spence underlined the importance of their generosity in enabling the University to support work that will benefit Australia and the wider world.

Sydney Medical School Dean Professor Bruce Robinson with Daniel Petre, who in 2011  donated $2 million to go towards the appointment of a chair of prostate cancer research at the University.
Sydney Medical School Dean Professor Bruce Robinson with Daniel Petre, who in 2011 donated $2 million to go towards the appointment of a chair of prostate cancer research at the University.

"This philanthropic support has a remarkable impact in a range of ways - from creating academic chairs that enable us to recruit professors who can conduct advanced research in the most critical issues that affect our society, to establishing named scholarships allowing the brightest students to maximise their potential, to building a modern campus.

Most donors decided to give to an area that carried special meaning for them. Elizabeth Starkey for example, contributed to the University's museums acquisition program, which this year was able to purchase a work by Indigenous artist Christian Thompson, a key work in the recent Freedom Riders exhibition.

Dr Spence expressed his gratitude to all donors.

"On behalf of the staff and students of the University of Sydney, thank you for your support and for helping us to thrive in a changing world."


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Media enquiries: Ben Wilson, 02 9114 0748, 0402 128 073, ben.wilson@sydney.edu.au