Clare Pullar is a highly regarded and respected leader in the field of educational philanthropy in both tertiary and secondary sectors throughout Australia and internationally.
During her seven years as Pro Vice-Chancellor Advancement at the University of Queensland, gifts to the University totalling $235 million supported teaching, student support and research. This was a lift from less than $8 million per annum in prior years.
Although Clare has obvious expertise in philanthropy, it took her some time to find her calling.
"Philanthropy wasn’t on my mind at all," Clare said.
"Maybe in some sort of subliminal way, I understood how important universities were to optimise the human condition, to make communities really vibrant and well and that universities are really important institutions.
"I have a real belief, and have had all the time, that education is transformative for whoever is being educated. It’s the one institution that binds a society together, and makes it what it could be."
“Philanthropy is wonderful because unlike corporate sponsorship or something that requires material kickback, philanthropists are interested in social impact. They’re interested in transformation. They’re interested in people and helping institutions. They’re helping young people. They’re helping researchers find solutions to difficult problems.
"So that’s an incredibly exciting journey for institutions to be on and I was sort of at the forefront of that.”
Throughout her career, Clare has made contributions to policy settings around philanthropy and contributed to international publications and conferences on educational philanthropy.
She was invited to be a member of the Business Higher Education Round Table (BHERT) taskforce in 2007, which examined how philanthropic support for Australian higher education institutions can be increased. This taskforce produced the ground-breaking report for the federal government: Increasing Private Support for Australian Universities.
Clare has been recognised with both the Trevor Wigney Award and the Peter Crook Award for outstanding service in Advancement in Australasian Education.
Clare joined US‑based Marts & Lundy as senior consultant in 2016; she is just the second Australian to be invited to join the global philanthropy advising firm.
She has made substantial contributions to the community through board memberships of the Shepparton Art Museum Foundation, Melba Conservatorium of Music, the Australian Youth Orchestra and mentoring the Queensland Theatre Company.
Clare began at La Trobe University quite early in its history. She graduated from a Bachelor of Arts (History) in 1972 and continued with a Diploma of Education in 1973. She says it was an "interesting" time to be at university.
"It was politically tumultuous because it was at the end of the Vietnam War. There was huge amounts of activism on campus," she said.
"Whether we were politically-motivated or not, we were forced to be thinking through all sorts of political and social issues about the future of this country. But it was also really culturally rich."
Last updated: 8th May 2019