The La Trobe community has lost one of its greatest friends with the recent passing of alumnus and donor Iris Manton at the age of 96.
Iris’ relationship with La Trobe started in the late 1970s when she commenced a Bachelor of Science as a mature age student in her sixties.
Mature age students often have a deeper university experience than school leavers, and this was certainly true for Iris. A former deputy school principal, Iris reveled in her study experience at La Trobe, which she undertook primarily as an intellectual exercise.
A deep connection with La Trobe
During her time at La Trobe Iris developed a profound fondness for and connection with the University. When her husband passed away a few years after her graduation, their plans for a long retirement together to the country were sadly derailed. In an act of altruism befitting a woman passionate about education, Iris gifted their country house in Tolmie, Victoria to La Trobe.
For nearly three decades, La Trobe staff and students enjoyed the three bedroom Manton house – set on eight hectares of bushland – on field trips, staff retreats and seminars.
Iris' ongoing support for students
In 2011, the Manton house was sold for $275,000 with the proceeds going towards a perpetual scholarship in the Manton name to support disadvantaged female students. 'I hope the scholarship will be able to assist a student who would otherwise be denied the opportunity of a tertiary education due to lack of finances,' Iris commented when the scholarship was established.
In 2013, Iris had the opportunity to meet the first Iris Manton Scholarship recipient, Rosol Alamare, who arrived in Australia from Iraq in 2007 without even basic English. For a great woman who was passionate about the life-changing benefits of education, there could be a no more fitting legacy.
Read more about the extraordinary life of Iris Manton in the La Trobe University Bulletin.
Photo: Iris Manton with son-in-law Michael and grandson Lucas – fellow La Trobe alumni.