Lumen - The University of Adelaide Magazine The University of Adelaide Australia
Lumen Summer 2016 Issue
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The spirit of giving lives on

Above: Gerard Corsane (middle) with members of the
Hughes Bequest Society.
From left: Peter Routley (Chairperson),
Marilyn Seidel (Deputy Chairperson),
Merry Wickes, Aileen Connon AM,
Brian Ward, Peggy Barker, Adrienne Lovelock
It’s more than 130 years since Sir Walter Watson Hughes generously donated funds to help establish the University of Adelaide – and his three times great-nephew is delighted in how we are honouring his memory.

Gerard Corsane visited the University of Adelaide recently on a quest to find out more about his family’s history. He discovered that his famous relative has been honoured not only with a statue but also a society bearing his name.  The public spirit and benevolence that Walter embodied lives on in the Hughes Bequest Society which is made up of bequestors who share his vision by remembering the University in their wills.

“I feel family pride in the legacy that he left to education,” says Gerard, a senior lecturer in Heritage and Museum Studies and the former Dean of International Business Development and Student Recruitment at Newcastle University in the UK. “As a university academic myself, I am proud of the role he played in supporting the founding of the University of Adelaide.

“I am also truly grateful that this role has been honoured with the statue, sponsored by his nephews John James Duncan and Walter Hughes Duncan, which was erected in 1906, along with the fact that the Hughes Bequest Society has been named after him.”

The establishment of the Hughes Bequest Society in 2008 was a major step in strengthening the relationship between the University and its benefactors. One bequestor who is aware of the impact his gift will have is Peter Routley, who is retiring as Chair of the Hughes Bequest Society Committee after seven years in the role. Peter graduated from the University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1959 and a Diploma in Primary Education in 1960.

“A bequestor’s legacy has the power to transform the lives of future generations of students or it may contribute to new fields of research,” says Peter. “Even now, memories of my student days still give me pleasure. In my subsequent career as a teacher, it was a privilege to try to help young people in different countries to make the best use of their talents."

Society members have shown enormous gratitude to the University for the education that helped to shape their careers. This is not only reflected in gifts they leave in their wills, but many also give generously in their lifetime, supporting areas such as the Barr Smith Library, Elder Hall, the Augustus Short Scholarships and many areas of research.

Their donations also go towards scholarships, fellowships and chairs which have enabled the University to attract and retain exceptionally talented students and staff.  The spirit of the University’s ‘founding father’ truly lives on.

Making a bequest
When making bequest intentions known to the University you will be invited to join the Hughes Bequest Society. This gives you the opportunity to meet like-minded benefactors and see some of the outstanding work being done at the University. For more information about leaving a bequest to the University visit or contact Sue Fox on +61 8 8313 3234 or email

Story by Genevieve Sanchez


Media Contact:
Mrs Genevieve Sanchez
Communications Co-ordinator
Stakeholder Relations
Business: 08 8313 8063