Swinburne alum Russell Scrimshaw has always been driven by a desire to challenge the status quo, and help others do the same.
As one of Australia’s most respected business leaders and philanthropists, Russell has held key executive positions across the Asia-Pacific mining industry, most recently as Chair of Sirius Minerals Plc and Torrus Investments P/L. He was also a founding Executive Director and Deputy CEO of Fortescue Metals Group with Andrew Forrest.
He currently serves as the Garvan Research Foundation Board Chair which provides funding to support cutting edge biomedical research in the areas of healthy ageing, cancer, genomics and epigenetics, immunity and inflammation research.
Russell studied accounting at Swinburne, graduating in 1972. For the past 20 years, he has aligned his values, passion and professionalism with Swinburne’s capabilities and vision for the future through philanthropy.
‘What I love most about Swinburne is its proven capability to develop, shape and produce tomorrow’s business and community leaders, innovators, breakthrough thinkers and entrepreneurs,’ says Russell.
‘The university is producing the future leaders of every facet of Australian life right before our very eyes,’ he says.
Russell is one of Swinburne’s leading supporters of Indigenous education.
‘The knowledge possessed by the First Peoples of Australia is wonderful and vital for the futures of all Australians. Indigenous Australians are innovative, creative and brilliant, and have been fantastic stewards of this country for over 60,000 years,’ says Russell.
‘Giving an educational hand to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples is critically important in ensuring all students are part of the wider Australian success story,’ he says.
Responding to COVID-19 with remarkable generosity
Earlier this year when the COVID-19 situation hit Australian shores, Russell found that the ‘new normal’ had quickly changed the face of Australian business, governments and communities in many ways, and mostly for the better.
‘This period has greatly accelerated the transition to online, remote working and operating. For me personally, communicating online had to quickly become part of my everyday life for business,’ he says.
‘I think COVID-19 has strengthened the need to communicate more frequently with friends and loved ones too, which is wonderful,’ he adds.
After hearing about the hardship that many students are facing due to COVID-19, Russell decided to donate $20,000 to the university’s Student Emergency Fund Appeal. Russell says that he empathised with the competing pressures of life and study that students are currently confronting.
‘I know how hard it is to juggle the essential monies and ‘must-do’ tasks that young people face. Many are often away from home for the first time and are having to live very frugally,’ says Russell.
‘I know that those who receive support during this time will never forget the role of Swinburne in helping them in their hour of need. That’s why donating to the Student Emergency Fund is a magnificent investment in the future of the university,’ he says.
Russell was delighted to receive a personal phone call from Swinburne’s Vice-Chancellor and President, Professor Linda Kristjanson AO to thank him for his support.
‘Despite the trials of today, Swinburne will achieve many great things and will continue to grow as a globally-recognised institution that challenges the status quo through its education, its research and its people,’ says Russell.