Scholarship a real family affair
Sandra Young Sandra Young is an Adelaide graduate with wonderful memories of the University. It’s this and the value her husband placed on academia that inspired Sandra to establish a scholarship in his memory.
Forrest Young was a farmer by profession with a strong academic bent – someone who appreciated the importance of pursuing strong ties between agriculture and university research.
It’s a legacy that his wife Sandra is honouring through a generous donation to fund a University of Adelaide scholarship in his memory.
Sandra is an Adelaide graduate with some wonderful memories of the University and has donated $105,000 for the Forrest George and Sandra Lynne Young Supplementary Scholarship.
The scholarship is worth $5000 a year and will act as a top-up for major PhD scholarships in engineering, maths, sciences, chemistry or health sciences.
Forrest studied at Dookie Agricultural College in Victoria where he discovered a passion for academia and completed an honours degree in agricultural economics at University of New England at Armidale, New South Wales.
He won a Churchill Fellowship for a world study trip into the potato industry and later worked with several universities, including Adelaide.
“He was a real ideas man who was very keen on maintaining a link between agriculture and universities,” says Sandra. “That’s why I wanted to devote this scholarship to him.
“His big focus was the importance of diversifying and risk management in agriculture.”
Sandra became a big fan of the University of Adelaide when she studied pharmacy in the early 1970s.
“It’s such a beautiful setting for study and research and has a lovely feel to it,” she says. “I really loved the library and walking through the grounds and along the Torrens.”
She graduated in 1972 and was working as a pharmacist in Darwin when Cyclone Tracy struck.
After spending a difficult year there during the rebuild she moved to Glasgow where she completed an honours degree in pharmacy followed by a masters in forensic science at Strathclyde University.
It was a period when Sandra discovered the highs and lows of university study.
“After my first year, the fees tripled and I was tempted to give it all up because supporting myself was proving quite difficult. But I got some part-time pharmacy jobs and managed to live on sausages and fish.”
Sandra returned to Adelaide in 1979 and worked as a forensic scientist for five years before marrying Forrest.
The couple had four children – Elizabeth, George, John and Rosemary – and two of them are University of Adelaide graduates.
Rosemary graduated from Adelaide with an honours degree in chemistry in 2015 and this year began a PhD at the University.
George won an Andy Thomas Scholarship and graduated with a double degree in mathematical sciences and mechatronic engineering in 2008. He then won a fellowship at Princeton University in the US for his PhD research.
“When George was studying at Princeton I took the opportunity of visiting him on several occasions and noticed how past students put money back into the university through donations and lots of scholarships,” says Sandra.
“It’s a real culture thing and has allowed them to attract some of the best academics from around the world and build some fantastic infrastructure.
“This was another trigger for me deciding to fund the scholarship at Adelaide.”
Meanwhile, Sandra’s other son, John, has taken over Forrest’s partnership on a family farm at Parrakie in South Australia’s south-east, while daughter Elizabeth is now a Sister of Mercy who is studying a Masters in Theological Studies in Melbourne.
Story by Ian Williams
Photo by Jo-anna Robinson