Lumen - The University of Adelaide Magazine The University of Adelaide Australia
Lumen Winter 2014 Issue
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Lasting legacies

Ashleigh Trainor

Ashleigh Trainor

Amy Burgess, Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery

Amy Burgess, Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery

Bequests have underpinned the success of the University of Adelaide since its foundation in 1874. Many donations, including some from those early years, are still having an impact today.

Enduring support from our first benefactors

For well over a century students have been benefiting from the generosity of two of South Australia's early pastoralists and philanthropists, John Howard Angas and Sir Thomas Elder. The University's first donated scholarship was received in 1878 from Mr Angas and his Angas Engineering Scholarship continues to provide students with essential support.

Ashleigh Trainor is one of the most recent recipients, graduating with a Bachelor of Engineering (Mechanical) with First Class Honours in 2013. Now a graduate engineer with Santos, Ashleigh says the scholarship was invaluable to her studies, helping her pay for textbooks and technical software resources.

"Without the scholarship I would not have been able to afford my living expenses whilst studying and would have had to spend less time on my studies in lieu of part-time work," she says. Ashleigh, who received the R J Jennings Memorial Prize for Mechanical Engineering Honours Project, hopes to expand her knowledge within mechanical engineering fields and eventually become a lead engineer for a technical group either in Australia or overseas.

Another recipient of our early benefactor's generosity is Robert Macfarlane who is facing a world of exciting opportunities for his singing career in Europe thanks in part to the Elder Overseas Scholarship. This was established in 1883 by twin charitable donations from Sir Thomas Elder to the University of Adelaide and the Royal College of Music, London.

"The scholarship was absolutely instrumental in assisting me with my next development as a singer," says Robert. "On a purely financial level, it meant that I had a significant amount of the costs of my first year of studies at the Hochschule für Musik Leipzig covered." The scholarship also enabled Robert to enter the Mendelssohn School in Leipzig, without having to audition, so that he could undertake a year of intensive voice study.

Violinist Simone Slattery is another winner of the Elder Overseas Scholarship and recently returned to the university to undertake PhD studies. She graduated with a Bachelor of Music with First Class Honours from the Elder Conservatorium of Music and says receiving the scholarship made a huge impact on her development as a professional musician.

"With the financial support of the scholarship I was able to spend a year living in the USA, taking part in summer schools and training programs, undertaking residencies and receiving lessons," she says. "It was during this time and as a result of these experiences that I feel I made the leap from student to professional musician."

Bequest turns dreams into reality

When Everard Terence Hearn died in 1979, he left a generous bequest to the University of Adelaide to fund a scholarship in medicine for financially disadvantaged students. Mother-of-three Amy Burgess and Nathan Ying Lei Lin are both recent winners of the ET and MM Hearn Scholarship and are realising their dreams of becoming doctors. Having previously worked full-time to support her family, Amy's return to University to study medicine had a major impact on her finances.

"This scholarship has really made my study possible - it has allowed me to buy textbooks that I would not have been able to afford otherwise, as well as a computer and other equipment to help me study from home," says Amy. "There is no way I would have been able to make it through a six-year degree without this assistance - I wish I could thank the Hearn family for their incredible generosity and they could see the difference they have made to my family."

Like Amy, the scholarship has also given Nathan the resources he needs to study for his Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery. "It means I can afford to work fewer hours and purchase clinical tools and resources that make my studies much more efficient," he says. "Now, I can focus my time and energy on things other than money; my family, my studies in areas of interest, and new opportunities and commitments."

Hughes Bequest Society

With an endowment of £20,000 in 1872, Sir Walter Watson Hughes helped establish the University of Adelaide and his legacy is recognised today by the Hughes Bequest Society. Through the society the University shows those who leave a bequest to the University during their lifetime, how much we appreciate their generosity.

"Knowing about the existence of such gifts gives the University the opportunity to say thank you now for your most generous support which may contribute to groundbreaking research and will help prepare our students to become the educated citizens of tomorrow."
Sue Fox, Planned Giving Officer

For information please contact Sue Fox on +61 8 8313 3234 or email

story by Genevieve Sanchez


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