Ever since our foundation in 1918, the College has been fortunate in its benefactors. Prior to our opening, many thousands of Catholics from Victoria gave of their pounds, shillings and pence to assist in the building of the College. Thomas Donovan, from Sydney, was also extraordinarily generous in providing a large sum for the building and establishing a trust fund (which still exists today) to offer bursary support. Since this time, we have been blessed by the many women and men who have given of their time, their labours and their resources to assist the College in providing opportunities for young people to benefit from an education at Newman College.
More than a decade ago, we launched an appeal, Towards 2018, to assist us increase our Scholarship Fund and to undertake significant restoration on the stonework of the original Walter Burley Griffin-designed building. In this time, through the help and generosity of our benefactors and with the assistance of the State and Federal Governments, we have expended over $10M on the stonework restoration (which is almost 70% completed). We have also increased the corpus of the Scholarship Fund from $2M to almost $7.5M. Further, and most importantly, we have been able to provide financial support to a substantial number of residents in the College. In 2018, we offered $1,030,000 to around 220 of our resident students in scholarships or bursaries. One of the reasons that we have had the largest number of students of any College from regional and rural Victoria is the fact that we are able to assist families with the ever-increasing financial burdens of a tertiary education.
In this special year in our history, I hope that many more former Collegians will contribute to our Appeal. We have nearly 4000 former Collegians on our mailing list. If just 50% of this group were to help, we would increase considerably our capacity to provide further opportunities for young people as we enter our second centenary.
Gratitude is at the heart of Ignatian Spirituality. May I express on behalf of the College and all my predecessors (Fathers O’Dwyer, Power, Murphy, Gleeson, Daily, Scott, Fleming and L’Estrange) my thanks to all who have, and do, support the College in so many ways, and may I encourage others to join in preparing for our future.
W. J. Uren SJ, Rector, Newman College, 2018