News

Record $20m gift to establish new centre for project leadership


23 October 2012

John Grill: The University of Sydney "has an outstanding reputation for academic excellence and professionalism and I could not think of a better institution on which to bestow this gift."
John Grill: The University of Sydney "has an outstanding reputation for academic excellence and professionalism and I could not think of a better institution on which to bestow this gift."

University of Sydney graduates will be better placed to lead major infrastructure projects around the world thanks to a record $20 million donation.

The personal gift from John Grill, the former chief executive of international resources and energy company WorleyParsons made the announcement at a reception in the University's Nicholson Museum, attended by around 130 alumni, donors and other friends of the University.

The gift will fund the establishment of a new industry-oriented centre of excellence that will position the University of Sydney as the global leader in project leadership, helping Australia to deliver national priority projects in resources and infrastructure that will bring benefits to all levels of society.

"This is a truly visionary and transformational gift," said University of Sydney Vice-Chancellor Dr Michael Spence. "Mr Grill has had the foresight to recognise the need for a world-class centre of excellence to meet the demands of the future, and the determination to bring it to fruition."

The donation underlines the increasingly critical role played by alumni and other supporters in helping Australia's higher education sector to maintain and enhance its global competitiveness.

"This unprecedented gift will also help Australia to deliver national priority projects in resources and infrastructure," Dr Spence added.

Since graduating from the University, John Grill's leadership of international resources and energy company WorleyParsons has led him to work on many of the world's largest mining and infrastructure projects. This experience has given him the insight and drive to support the establishment of the new centre, which will attract senior executives across a broad range of industries from both the private and public sectors.

Dr Michael Spence: "This unprecedented gift will help Australia to deliver national priority projects in resources and infrastructure."
Dr Michael Spence: "This unprecedented gift will help Australia to deliver national priority projects in resources and infrastructure."

"Across the globe there are more large projects than ever before, many of which are vitally important to society," Grill said. "Projects are becoming larger and more complex. Unfortunately the track record of delivering them against the primary objectives of schedule, cost and quality is not good.

"The availability of appropriately skilled and experienced senior managers is a critical factor to improving project outcomes and I am confident this centre will play a key role in meeting this need," he added.

The John Grill Centre for Project Leadership will be a multidisciplinary and collaborative partnership between the Faculty of Engineering and Information Technologies and the University of Sydney Business School, as well as many other areas of the University of Sydney.

"I am particularly pleased that the University of Sydney will be the home for this centre," Grill added. "It has an outstanding reputation for academic excellence and professionalism and I could not think of a better institution on which to bestow this gift."

The centre's activities and programs will enhance the University's existing project management offerings, providing a learning pathway from starting a career in project management through to the leadership of multimillion dollar projects.


Follow University of Sydney Media on Twitter

Media enquiries

University of Sydney: Andrew Potter, 02 9351 4138, 0414 998 521, andrew.potter@sydney.edu.au
John Grill: Geoff Fowlstone, 02 9955 9899, 0413 746 949