Our stories, our heritage
Anne Gribbin is that rare breed of individual who understands how to raise funds. More importantly, and especially in her case, she goes about her business with finesse and utmost diplomacy.
It is therefore no surprise that Ms Gribbin, who two years ago joined the University as Director of Development and Alumni, has raised in excess of $80 million during her working career, where fundraising has been a key component of her job description.
And she is at it once again, this time a campaign that focuses on the University's Heritage Buildings.
"When you think of the University of Adelaide, it is possible that the physical expressions of the University immediately come to mind - the Mitchell, the Elder Conservatorium, Bonython Hall and the Barr Smith Library, just four of the 29 Heritage-listed buildings on the North Terrace campus.
"As these buildings underpin our present and future, we need to do something about their upkeep and repair. To this end we have established a Heritage Foundation, with the major objective of raising $20 million; money which will be invested.
"The interest gained will fund the ongoing development, restoration and preservation of the Heritage Buildings. The University will then be able to free up capital to focus on providing inspiring environments and facilities, where we can nurture innovative, world class research, and attract the best staff and students from around Australia and the world," she said in an interview with Lumen.
Ms Gribbin readily agrees this is no small task. But this is where the passion and the LIA Principle - linkage, interest and ability - come in.
"Seeking funds for any project, even heritage, is always about identifying those people who have some LINK to the cause or project. For example, they are graduates, or there is a family connection of graduates, or some friends have a connection to the University, the buildings, and the grounds - and these people valued their time at University and what it did for them and now want to give something back in return.
"They have an INTEREST in the University: that is, they have a love of education, learning, old buildings, the city, heritage buildings, beautiful things. Or, maybe they never went to University, but wished they had.
"And they have an ABILITY to give to the campaign, especially a significant gift, and want to."
Ms Gribbin says a natural part of what she does is akin to that of a storyteller - telling compelling stories about the University of Adelaide.
"Good stories have tension and conflict. They have character, plot, dialogue, scene, place, point of view and sensory detail. The characters even have flaws.
"I will tell the University's Heritage 'stories' for the Campaign by focusing, in the first instance, on the three North Terrace Heritage Buildings - the Mitchell, the Elder and the Bonython - and how these buildings have been used, some of the characters involved in the buildings, and the special events, inventions or celebrations that took place in them.
"I will also talk about the special features of the buildings - from an architectural perspective, if relevant, and from an artistic or design aspect," she said.
Ms Gribbin says the Heritage Working Party will be seeking to identify people who fit the LIA principle.
"We will be seeking individuals who are passionate about any aspect of the principle, some who may then take on a leadership role in the campaign.
"We will also be looking at ways of recognising the generosity of individuals, families, companies, businesses and governments, who wish to support the University and thus play a special role in its work, and by so doing, become part of the University's ongoing and far reaching story," she says.
Ms Gribbin says the University was founded on benefaction and genuine philanthropy, and was sustained thus for many years. But she is mindful of changes, and for this reason is following a proactive path.
"We have not told our stories about our heritage buildings - "home" to many of our students and staff.
"Now that government funding is decreasing and will continue to do so, we have to be self-reliant, more active, more open in informing our communities about our work, our dreams and how we wish to achieve these. Seeking funds for Heritage is but one way.
"We need to invite our friends to help us, for today's generations of students and the next." ■
Story Howard Salkow