La Trobe’s first fundraising campaign surpasses $23m

Generous supporters of La Trobe University have pledged more than $23 million to help fund the University’s bold vision for the future. Pictured is La Trobe Distinguished Alumnus Andrew Abercrombie presenting his million-dollar contribution to La Trobe Vice-Chancellor Professor John Dewar.

La Trobe launched its first ever fundraising campaign, Make The Difference, in March 2017 with the aim of raising $50 million over five years. With financial support from alumni, friends and industry partners, the University is almost halfway to achieving its target.

Funds raised through the Make the Difference campaign will support La Trobe’s bold research agenda, ensure more students have access to life-changing scholarships, and help build and maintain the very best facilities.

Launching the campaign, La Trobe University Vice-Chancellor Professor John Dewar said it was a significant step towards building an even stronger future for La Trobe and the communities it serves.

“Over the next five years, our Make the Difference campaign will raise $50 million to support La Trobe to continue redefining what it means to be a great modern university,” Professor Dewar said.

Andrew Abercrombie, leading entrepreneur and a La Trobe Distinguished Alumnus, has helped foster philanthropy at La Trobe as Chair of the Make the Difference Campaign Cabinet. Together with his wife Shadda, Andrew committed a donation of $1 million to support business education at the University.

Andrew said he and Shadda believed in the transformational power of education.

“I established a foundation after I listed my business on the ASX,” Andrew explained. “After much soul-searching, I concluded that a contribution to society was more productive if it helped avoid social problems in the first place, rather than trying to fix consequences. In my view, the single-most important element that contributes to the avoidance of social problems is education,” he said.

Andrew said he was motivated to give to La Trobe after reconnecting with the University and learning of its progress.

“Once I had settled on education as a principal goal for my foundation, La Trobe University came back on my radar, 40 years after I graduated with my Bachelor of Economics. I was impressed with the progress being made, thanks to the work of John Dewar,” Andrew said.

“La Trobe’s ‘competitors’ are well-endowed, and I believe that the establishment of a capital fund will mean so much more to La Trobe in its quest to become one of Australia’s – and the world’s – leading universities,” he said.

Fellow Distinguished Alumnus and former Chief Executive Officer of Swisse, Radek Sali, together with his wife Helen, also committed $1 million to help secure La Trobe’s legacy for the future.

Distinguished Alumnus and Adjunct Professor Ahmed Fahour AO committed to endow two half scholarships a year, which will be awarded to women from diverse cultural backgrounds who have demonstrated a commitment to social inclusion and community leadership.

La Trobe Chancellor Professor Richard Larkins and Vice-Chancellor Professor John Dewar also announced personal pledges of $100,000 each to the Campaign as a demonstration of their support and commitment to the University.

Thank you to everyone who has helped build a more prosperous future for La Trobe and the communities it serves.

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