Planned giving video transcript
Swinburne University owes its existence to the philanthropic generosity and educational vision of Ethel and George Swinburne.
From its humble beginnings as a Technology Institute the university has made huge strides and has become a world leader in both education and research.
One of the most valuable gifts that alumni or a friend of Swinburne can contribute is to name Swinburne in their will. This provides us with an ongoing opportunity to make sure that the university really can flourish. It allows us to take a university that is already very good and truly make it great. People who wish to make a donation to Swinburne through their will can specify how they would like their gift to be directed. Some might consider making a contribution to a special research initiative that has special meaning for them, others might prefer to have a scholarship or a prize named in their honour, some might want to dedicate that bequest to a particular school or faculty.
At Swinburne we are able to take into consideration the personal wishes of the person making that request and we look forward to hearing what those messages might be.
By making a bequest people who contribute in this way automatically become a member of the Ethel Swinburne Society. The Society is an opportunity for us to not only remember Ethel and her amazing contributions to the university but to thank people during their life time for contributing in this way.
As a member of the Ethel Swinburne Society you will be invited to special events through Swinburne University, allowing us to more actively engage with you on the onward journey.
I suppose you could say I was inspired to make this sort of bequest to Swinburne. Because of my own personal experience of having grown up in depression and war years, when there was absolutely no opportunities for girls to go on to even a secondary education much less a tertiary one.
The second aspect was due to my experience of teaching in government high schools, the last 17 years of which I was principal of co-educational high schools, and of course you saw many instances of girls who were coming from broken homes or other disadvantaged backgrounds. They just did not have the opportunity to go on with their education. So those were the sort of reasons why I was motivated to make a bequest and in particular to Swinburne because these women do need a supportive and caring atmosphere and I am convinced, from my experiences at Swinburne University on the Council for many years, that it is a supportive and caring atmosphere here.
About three years ago, with the previous Vice Chancellor, I indicated that I wanted to make a bequest and what I wanted it for, was to give scholarships to disadvantaged women to go on with their studies or to commence studies at Swinburne University. The idea of the university authorities was that it should be set up while I was still alive rather than wait until I died [laugh]: they wanted me to be able to make a contribution and to enjoy the experience of having actual women receiving my scholarship and benefiting from it.
I was inspired to make a bequest because of the tradition in our family, that our parents had a sound sense of community and of philanthropy. My husband and I have been fortunate, we have had good health throughout our lives and we have had a good education, both initially secondary and university, and then later throughout our business career, we have had a wonderful family life and also we have had reasonable success in our careers. In light of that, it was a matter of what could we do to give back to society and so when we retired we reviewed our wills and we both decided that we would give individual bequests.
I wanted to do a PhD, so that was one of the initial thoughts, and I thought about the fact that I did not do my PhD because I decided that there were family demands and business demands that took precedence. I know a number of women have made that decision, but there are also women who have that decision forced on them through a lack of financial support. And so my thinking was that if my bequest could be used to provide scholarships for women with potential, to achieve a postgraduate qualification, who were considering dropping out. So by giving them some financial support, through the scholarship, that they would be able to complete their PhD or Masters then they in turn would contribute to society and make a difference.
I have had a long term association with Swinburne (can’t tell you how many years) but I have been a student, at least twice, I have been on the University Council and I am currently a tutor in English as a Second Language, in the TAFE sector. So I know the organisation, I also know about its programs, how they are well linked into industry, business and also how broad the offering at Swinburne is. You go from arts and social sciences through to engineering and medical science and business. So with that plus the linkage, that you can start at Swinburne as a pre-apprentice and go through to do your PhD, I think is a wonderful thing and so therefore there was no question about this is where my bequest could go.
I warmly encourage you to consider this form of giving, which allows a long term legacy that helps Swinburne achieve its goal in teaching and research. Our Alumni and Development Office could help you with any questions you might have and discuss options about how you would like your gift to be directed. Thank you very much for taking the time to watch this presentation.
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Dr John Miller AO, former Dean of the Graduate School of Management