La Trobe University has received significant philanthropic gifts in its 50-year history. From major research funding to scholarships and bequests, these multi-million dollar gifts have allowed our supporters to realise their dreams of a better future while setting in motion a culture of philanthropy for the next 50 years and beyond. Below are five La Trobe initiatives made possible by generous donors.
A.D. Trendall Research Centre for Ancient Mediterranean Studies
Arthur Dale Trendall (pictured above) was a Resident Fellow at La Trobe University for 26 years, and one of the foremost historians of Greek art in the 20th century. He was the principal authority on the red-figure vases produced in the Greek colonies and native areas of South Italy and Sicily. When he died in 1995, Mr Trendall bequeathed his library and antiquities collection to La Trobe, which ensured his profound legacy lives on among scholars of Ancient Mediterranean studies.
Olga Tennison Autism Research Centre
The Olga Tennison Autism Research Centre (OTARC) is Australia's first centre dedicated to research on Autism Spectrum Disorders. Established in 2008, the centre was made possible with generous private donations from Olga Tennison and matching funds from La Trobe University. Since then it has engaged in innovative partnerships, including with global tech giant Salesforce to help catapult its life-changing research onto a global stage.
Roberta Holmes Professorial Chair – Transition to Contemporary Parenthood
Motivated by the need for greater research into the challenges of modern parenting, Roberta Holmes donated to La Trobe University to establish a professorial chair in 2013. This generous gift has led to an innovative research program informing public debate around contemporary parenthood and researching policies to support better outcomes for parents and children.
Etta Hirsh Ceramics Collection
The La Trobe University Art Collection, managed by the La Trobe Art Institute began in 1966, before construction of the first buildings at the site of the University’s Melbourne campus. Considered a major public art collection, it includes over 2000 post-war and contemporary Australian art works. One of the most significant elements of the collection is the Etta Hirsh Ceramics Collection, donated to the University in 2010 by Emmanuel Hirsh in memory of his late wife Etta. The collection of more than 300 ceramic works demonstrates the Hirshs' belief in the importance of art in educating and enriching people’s lives.
John Richards Initiative
With a vision to support aged care in rural Victoria, John Richards helped establish a research program dedicated to this important cause at La Trobe’s Albury-Wodonga Campus in 2007. The annual funding from John’s generous gift attracts matched funds from both the Department of Health Victoria and La Trobe University, helping ensure the program’s positive impact on the wellbeing of older people in rural communities. John has since expanded his support with the establishment of the John Richards Agricultural Scholarships, supporting La Trobe students to pursue a career in agriculture.