Creating change:
donor impact stories

A university built with philanthropy

UQ has a long tradition of visionary philanthropy that stretches back to the institution’s earliest days.

The purchase of the land for the magnificent St Lucia campus was made possible by a substantial donation by two of the University’s earliest and most significant benefactors, Dr James O’Neil Mayne and his sister Mary Emelia Mayne. This generosity and foresight set a precedent for partnerships with both Australian and international donors.

Philanthropic giving enabled the establishment of both the medical and law schools that have educated many outstanding practitioners and leaders in their fields. It also built world-class research institutes that are striving to overcome some of humanity’s biggest challenges including climate change and the growing spectre of dementia in an ageing population.

Gifts to UQ have also delivered opportunities for disadvantaged students, endowments for discipline leaders, and enhancements for arts and cultural collections.

Most recently, philanthropy to UQ helped establish
the Poche Centre for Indigenous Health that works collaboratively with indigenous community organisations and health providers to improve health outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

All gifts - large and small - help to place the University on the global stage and make a positive and lasting impact in the community.

Watch the 2015 Donor Thank You video below, to see more about how philanthropy helps UQ and the community.

Empowering Student Success

Young achievers; bright futures

For high school students from low-income backgrounds the decision to go to university can seem out of reach. The UQ Young Achievers Program aims to support tertiary study and career aspirations of senior secondary school students who might not otherwise have access to university.

Students selected for the program benefit from financial assistance, on-campus experiences, mentoring and tailored transition advice throughout grades 11 and 12. They also receive scholarship support for up to four years while enrolled at the University, and UQ’s commitment to the Program recently saw the value of this annual support increase from $6,000 to $7,000 per student.

Balinda Condon (Bachelor of Pharmacy, ‘15) (pictured) was in the inaugural Young Achievers cohort and attributes her success to the program.

“Without the Young Achievers Program I may not have had the opportunity to complete my studies and I certainly would not be the person I am today, not just professionally but emotionally as well,” Mrs Condon said.

“The funding enabled me to have a certain degree of financial independence. It allowed me to move out of an environment that was not conducive to academic or personal growth.”

To find out how you can become involved in and support the Young Achiever’s Program, please visit

International opportunities

With a commitment to ensuring students get the most from their time at UQ, Professor Ian Frazer and his wife, Caroline, allowed the University to establish the Frazer Family Foundation Travel Awards, for research higher degree students to attend conferences and industry events that are crucial to their learning, their levels of expertise, and the networks they are able to create.

With proximity and cost identified as key constraints to students attending major international conferences, the Awards are integral to the development and training of our researchers, and they also ensure the cutting-edge research being undertaken at theUniversity is presented on an international stage.

UQ Diamantina Institute PhD student, Soi Cheng Law (Bachelor of Science, First Class Honours, ‘11) was offered the award in 2015 to present her abstract on T cells in rheumatoid arthritis at the American College of Rheumatology Annual Meeting.

“It was an exciting and yet terrifying experience as this was my first international presentation to world leading clinician researchers and scientists,” she said.

“This trip was tremendously helpful with the development of my own research interests and future career options.”

Creating important pathways

A gift from UQ Mechanical Engineering alumna, Amanda Dryden (Bachelor of Engineering, ‘99) (pictured, right), has been used to establish the Indigenous Women Engineering Excellence Prize, aimed at encouraging and rewarding indigenous female students who achieve the greatest proficiency in the Bachelor of Engineering.

“Colour, culture, feminine energy and an evolved/inter-connected perspective are incredibly under-represented in my field, and I am routinely the ‘odd-one-out’ - both in appearance and in way of thinking - at meetings,” Ms Dryden said.

“I am also very aware that I wouldn’t have survived, let alone succeeded, in my industry if not for one or two people taking the time to mentor, advise and trust in my abilities.

“For that reason I felt compelled to give something back and UQ managed to take my raw intention and turn it into this prize.”

2015 recipient, Michelle Heenan (pictured, left) suggested the benefits of winning the prize were more than financial, having added to her confidence and grown her networking capabilities.

“The scholarship has given me ample opportunities to enhance my study - academically and personally and the connections I have made through the Prize go beyond what I have learnt in any lecture theatre,” she said.

Travel inspires learning

The R.D. Milns Antiquities Museum International Internship and Material Culture Field School Program is the only international antiquities museum internship in Australia, and was established to provide unique learning opportunities to students.

Through the Program, students gain a richer appreciation for ancient cultures, while developing practical and methodological skills in evaluating and recording archaeological evidence.

In 2015, several students received financial assistance through the support of the Scholarship Endowment Fund to participate in the program. Students spent time in museums and on archaeological sites in Rome and southern Tuscany where they learnt about landscape archaeology, heritage management, and museum context.

Students in the laboratory at the Alberese Material Culture Field School, University of Siena (Grosseto Campus).

Students in the laboratory at the Alberese Material Culture Field School, University of Siena (Grosseto Campus).

Ancient History student, Scott Williams found the program transformative and inspirational.

“To finally see these places I have read so much about has inspired me to continue working hard at my studies of Ancient History and Classical Languages,” Mr Williams said.

“I hope to, one day, be in a position where I can help young students to have an opportunity like I have had.”

The fund offers support for a range of unique enrichment activities, thanks to the loyal and generous support of multiple donors over many years. The Scholarship Endowment Fund provides support for special projects which have the capacity to transform student lives and learning experiences.

To make a donation to the Scholarship Endowment Fund, click here, or contact the Senior Advancement Manager Stephen Holden at or on +61 411 024 193.


Stories of UQ alumni who have donated their time and personal resources to improve student learning experiences and make a positive impact in the broader community.

Pro Bono Centre offers access to justice

Established in 2009 and supported in part by philanthropy, the UQ Pro Bono Centre - the only initiative of its kind available in an Australian law school - facilitates the opportunity for law students to participate in pro bono legal services.

In society there is persistent unmet legal need and the disadvantaged often experience substantial legal problems which, without intervention can become more serious. An initiative of the TC Beirne School of Law, the centre partners with lawyers and organisations that work pro bono - for the public good - to involve law students in the provision of free legal assistance to those in need.

In 2015, students worked alongside local and international organisations such as the Supreme Court of Tonga, the Landowners Advocacy and Legal Support Unit in the Solomon Islands and non-profit agencies in Brisbane, Toowoomba and Cairns. Student participation in the Pro Bono Centre offers no remuneration and no academic credit is awarded; instead the value lies in the formation of professional networks and the skills they learn while making a genuine contribution to the community.

In facilitating this work the Centre provides students with a meaningful opportunity to gain experience in legal services whilst also teaching the importance of access to justice.

Read more about the UQ Pro Bono Centre and its work on the website here.

Mentors guide future leaders

UQ’s most important goal is to produce high quality graduates who create knowledge, bring new ideas to market, foster economic growth and enhance communities across the globe. While the University provides the learning bedrock with outstanding teachers and resources, our alumni who donate their valuable time as mentors to our students are driving an integral part of the process.

Programs such as ‘MEET a Mentor’ in the Faculty of Engineering, Architecture and Information Technology and the ‘BEL Career Mentoring Program’ in the Faculty of Business, Economics and Law, connect students with established alumni to motivate, encourage, empower and transform the next generation of professionals entering the workforce.

Alumna Kristen Burgess (Bachelor of Engineering, ’14) said her experience being mentored was invaluable.

“I found the experience of being guided and supported by someone who has achieved so many things that I hope to achieve in my career invaluable,” she said.

“My mentor’s advice has helped me prepare for beginning work as a graduate, and moving into leadership positions in the future.”

This important guidance enhances all aspects of a student’s employability, including their transition to work, applying what they learned at UQ in the workplace, goal setting and career options.

To learn more about how you can volunteer your time as a mentor, visit the MEET a mentor website.

Teaching and Learning

A new era in law

The University of Queensland’s most prominent landmark is poised to begin an exciting new chapter.

Thanks to philanthropic donations to the TC Beirne School of Law, The Forgan Smith building, which houses the TC Beirne School of Law, is undergoing dramatic refurbishment that, from 2017, will provide students with a more connected, interactive experience and ensure they continue to receive world-class education.

The redevelopment has been carefully designed to support a major refocusing of the school and provide a dynamic and inspiring environment for students and teachers. The design allows for currently under-utilised space to be redesigned into areas conducive to collaborative work. It will incorporate mobile technology while preserving the historic sandstone façade.

The cost of the project is being met by a combination of university capital works funding and philanthropy. To support this project and for further information, please visit

Tuning in to rehab

Students in the School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences are gaining cutting-edge, hands-on experience at an Australia-first clinic that exposes them to the next generation of healthcare delivery.

Made possible, in part, by a $500,000 gift by the Bowness Family Foundation, the clinic provides students with the opportunity to learn how technology can be used to deliver allied health services across the internet as an alternative to face-to-face interactions.

This experience allows UQ students to perform assessment and treatment of clients in either their own home or local community. Many of these clients would otherwise not be able
to access audiology, occupational therapy, physiotherapy or speech pathology services due to distance or under servicing in their local communities.

Speech Pathology graduate Emma Grieg (Bachelor of Speech Pathology, Honours, ‘15) said her experience delivering services at the clinic was invaluable.

“I was required to use lots of creativity to adapt to this service delivery model, so I developed new ways of thinking about how to do assessment and intervention in ways that are engaging for the children requiring speech pathology.”

Graduate, Emma Grieg

To learn more, please visit us at The Telerehabilitation Clinic website.

Discovery and Impact

Mater and UQ: better together

The relationship between Mater and UQ has grown into a partnership dedicated to advancing medical research and education. The Mater Research Institute-University of Queensland (MRI-UQ) partnership, which receives funding from Mater Foundation, enables the two organisations to leverage each other’s respective expertise in healthcare and research.

Recent collaborations between Mater, UQ and other organisations have enabled new projects and discoveries which would not have otherwise been possible.

Joint funding between Mater Mothers’ Hospital, Lady Cilento Children’s Hospital and UQ have allowed for the purchase of a cutting-edge incubator, one of only three in the Asia-Pacific region. This incubator enables pre-term babies to be moved safely, ensuring that high-resolution images can be taken.

Mater and UQ have also entered into an Alliance Agreement to further strengthen their clinical teaching relationship for health, nursing and midwifery students. Under the agreement, the heritage-listed Whitty Building has been restored and reopened in early 2016 as a new education centre.

This collaboration facilitates a greater ability to attract research funding, less duplication of research costs and a strong profile to attract high calibre international researchers.

Closing in on arthritis cure

With ongoing financial support from Arthritis Queensland, Professor Ranjeny Thomas (pictured) and her team at UQ’s Diamantina Institute (UQDI) are developing a vaccine for rheumatoid arthritis. This debilitating disease, in which the immune system attacks healthy tissue, causing inflammation, pain and deformity, affects more than 450,000 people
in Australia.

Current therapies for rheumatoid arthritis only treat the symptoms and slow the progression of the disease, however due to the promising results from human clinical trials, Australians living with rheumatoid arthritis may soon have access to better treatment options.

Professor Thomas attributes her success to more than 20 years of funding from Arthritis Queensland, and the faith in her abilities that the funding implied. Dr Ian Dover, President of Arthritis Queensland, said Thomas’s research was providing hope to thousands of people living with rheumatoid arthritis.

“The seed funding we provided more than twenty years ago for the Arthritis Queensland Chair of Rheumatology at the UQDI directly supported Professor Thomas’s breakthrough of a vaccine.”

Dr Ian Dover

If the delivery of this technology proves successful, it could also be applied to other autoimmune diseases such as type 1 diabetes.

Unmanned aircraft to the rescue

In emergency situations the difference between life and death often comes down to just a few moments.

UQ robotics engineer Dr Paul Pounds (pictured) and his research into Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV) is paving the way for first responders to use this technology to save precious time.

“It is hoped that one day these UAVs will be able to potentially replace piloted helicopters in search and rescue or surveillance operations fora fraction of the cost, with reduced maintenance and risk to people,” Dr Pounds said.

“The applications for this technology are almost endless with surf lifesavers, police, fire fighters and rescue workers across Australia set to benefit from this UAV technology."

Dr Paul Pounds

“My uniquely designed quadrotor UAV - a helicopter lifted and propelled by four independent propellers - is more agile, responsive and energy efficient than existing quadrotor designs.”

This important research has been enhanced through the generosity of donors. Give to the Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Research Fund here.

A network for ideas

Innovation is vital to Australia’s future as the nation competes in a global economy, and UQ is ensuring many of its students are equipped to meet these challenges.

UQ Idea Hub is a practical, hands-on program that provides aspiring student entrepreneurs with the skills and knowledge needed to conceive a start-up business.

Piloted in 2015, and formally commenced in March 2016, students attend workshops on ideation, technology choices, prototyping, market validation, and business modeling. These sessions are designed to help progress their project to a prototype stage ready for market testing and validation.

Importantly, Idea Hub provides students with access to mentor entrepreneurs, academics and active members of UQ’s student entrepreneur club IdeaNetwork. Many of these mentors, who are successful entrepreneurs in their own right, are alumni of UQ and are donating their valuable time to ensure the success of the students and the overall program.

If you would like to read more about Idea Hub or learn how you could become involved, please visit or contact the Idea Hub Community Director at

Pictured: Visakh Vignesh

Restoring precious memories

The incidence of Alzheimer’s disease - which already affects more than a quarter of a million Australians - is expected to more than double by 2050.

However, UQ researchers aiming to reduce that figure have found that non-invasive ultrasound technology can be used to treat Alzheimer’s disease and restore memory. The innovative drug-free approach breaks apart the neurotoxic amyloid plaques that result in memory loss and cognitive decline. The approach is able to temporarily open the blood-brain barrier, activating mechanisms that clear toxic protein clumps and restoring memory functions.

Clem Jones Centre for Ageing Dementia Research Director Professor Jürgen Götz said the new treatment method could revolutionise Alzheimer’s treatment by restoring memory.

“We’re extremely excited by this innovation of treating Alzheimer’s without using drug therapeutics,” Professor Götz said.

“The word ‘breakthrough’ is often misused, but in this case I think this really does fundamentally change our understanding of how to treat this disease, and I foresee a great future for this approach.”

Professor Jürgen Götz

QBI Director Professor Pankaj Sah said the discovery was made possible through major philanthropic support.

“The farsighted investment of government and philanthropic partners has allowed us to build the research excellence and capacity required to make major discoveries such as this,” he said.

For more information about how you can support QBI's work as a research volunteer, through a donation or in a range of other ways, visit the QBI website.

Fighting the tides of change in the Great Barrier Reef

UQ’s Faculty of Science counts two island research stations amongst its range of world-class facilities. The uniquely positioned Moreton Bay Research Station (MBRS) and Heron Island Research Station (HIRS) support UQ’s field and laboratory-based research critical to tackling the big issues facing Queensland’s environment.

Located on the magnificent Great Barrier Reef, HIRS is an ideal location for climate research. Monitoring the frequency and extent of coral bleaching in the face of rising water temperatures is a key research focus at Heron Island. In collaboration with other Australian universities, Professor Gregg Webb from the School of Earth Sciences is analysing coral skeletons to gain an understanding of how the Great Barrier Reef has responded in the past to environmental changes. This research initiative will assist in the prediction of reef behaviour, which is crucial to effectively manage human impact on our reef systems in the future.

Further south, MBRS on North Stradbroke Island provides access to a diverse range of terrestrial, coastal and marine ecosystems, all on the doorstep of a major Australian city. PhD candidate Owen Coffee is researching the diet of endangered sea turtles from his base at MBRS in the hope of gaining more information about their foraging and habitat requirements. As faecal matter dissolves in the sea, Owen placed six loggerhead turtles, dressed in specially designed wetsuits which act like a nappy, in seawater tanks at MBRS. Once the samples were collected, the turtles were returned to Moreton Bay, sans wetsuits, leaving behind the important scientific samples for analysis.

Over the past 50 years, dugong populations have experienced an estimated decline of 95% in Queensland and with a population believed to number just over 100,000, the species is listed as vulnerable to extinction. In southern Queensland there are three significant dugong populations, all near rapidly growing coastal developments, namely Moreton Bay, Hervey Bay and Shoalwater Bay, The Marine Vertebrate Ecology Research Group (MarVERG), led by Dr Janet Lanyon, is tracking movements and population connectivity as well as conducting health assessments of dugongs. This research establishes basic health parameters such as body temperature, respiration rate and hormone levels. Life history data built on these parameters will be used to develop conservation strategies for dugongs in sub-tropical regions.

Dugong and turtle populations are important indicators of the health of our coastlines and research on how corals have reacted to climate change in the past is helping with future management practices. With gifts to our marine vertebrate ecology and coral reef health research, alumni and community are helping to protect the Great Barrier Reef’s iconic ecosystem for future generations.

Make a donation to the Island Research Fund or find out more and get involved at and

The future of feeding the world

The world’s population is expected to reach nine billion by 2050 and food production will need to increase by 77 per cent to meet that demand.

The University of Queensland is at the forefront of agricultural research globally and its scientists from UQ’s Queensland Alliance for Agriculture and Food Innovation (QAAFI) are developing drought-resistant sorghum to enhance global food security and to help double the amount of food production in Queensland by 2040.

Sorghum is the world’s fifth most important cereal and a staple food crop for millions of people in the semi-arid tropics. In Queensland alone, the crop is worth $429 million per year.

With average temperatures rising and rainfall decreasing across the state, QAAFI, with the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries and the CSIRO are working alongside the Grains Research and Development Corporation to improve the heat tolerance and water use efficiency in sorghum - and wheat crops - to deal with climate risks.

The research is supported by a $4 million Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation grant for sorghum “drought-proofing” work. To support this valuable research and other key initiatives, please visit or for more information, visit

Supporting parents across the world

An extra 140,000 parents and carers across the state will now be able to access free Triple P support thanks to a multi-million dollar Queensland Government rollout of the program.
The result of over 30 years of ongoing research, Triple P, which was developed at UQ, is also the state’s biggest social services export and has helped millions of families in 25 countries.

The significant government investment is giving Queensland families voluntary access to a range of programs including selected seminars, discussion groups, Group Triple P, Primary Care Triple P and Standard Triple P, as well asTriple P Online. The range of interventions will be available for parents of children up to 12, with the same Teen Triple P range for parents of adolescents up to 16 years old.

Carol Markie-Dadds, Project Director at Triple P International, said providing universal access to an evidence-based system of parenting support would have a lasting impact across the state.

“We know from evidence of large-scale rollouts of Triple P in other communities around the world that when parents become more confident about their role, significant change can occur.”

Carol Markie-Dadds, Project Director at Triple P International

The success of the Triple P Program has been assisted by philanthropy over many years. Continued and increased support ensures the program can remain at the forefront of this necessary research and offer parents a cutting edge program. For more information and to support Triple P, please visit the Parenting and Family Support Centre website.

Creating Change

A lasting legacy

For over 100 years, charitable bequests and legacies have played a vital role in UQ’s growth and accomplishments.Two recent gifts will continue this trend, creating a lasting memorial to the lives and interests of the individuals concerned while providing vital support for a range of transformative research and learning opportunities for the benefit of current and future generations.

In 2014, Maureen Gilmartin AM (Bachelor of Science, ‘53) passed away, bequeathing over $3.9 million to research at the Queensland Brain Institute (QBI). Her generous gift will help fund research fellowships to bring world-class neuroscientists to QBI to conduct critical ongoing research into brain function. The first to be established is the Bartlett Fellowship, a perpetual fellowship named in honour of QBI’s founding director, Professor Perry Bartlett.

In deciding to make a bequest, Ms Gilmartin was motivated by her passionate interest in science, a deep and enduring respect for human life, and a genuine appreciation of the pressing need for further research in this field.

“Maureen was a wonderful friend and supporter of QBI and generosity such as hers will support the careers of the best and the brightest young scientists and allow us to maintain our world-class reputation.”

Professor Perry Bartlett

UQ students and staff will also have a unique opportunity to pursue their interests in medical history, thanks to a generous gift made in memory of alumnus, Dr Owen Powell OAM (Bachelor of Medicine & Bachelor of Surgery, ‘48; Doctor of Medicine, ‘62; Master of Public Administration, ‘75; Bachelor of Arts, First Class Honours, ‘87; Master of Arts, ‘94), by his widow, alumna Dr Glenda Powell (Bachelor of Medicine & Bachelor of Surgery, ‘61). This has enabled the RD Milns Antiquities Museum to acquire a rare piece of medical history in the form of a Roman medical kit, dating from the first century AD.

“It is an incredibly important addition to the University’s antiquities collection, but is also of national and international significance when it comes to the study of ancient medicine,” said Museum Director, Dr Janette McWilliam.

The kit will offer valuable insights into how medicine was practised in ancient times and provide an enduring tribute toDr Powell’s outstanding contribution in the fields of medicine, medical administration and classical studies.

“His passions were medicine and classics and this box combines the two,” Dr Glenda Powell said.

Charitable bequests and memorial gifts are valued highly by the University. Such gifts enable research to leap ahead, provide priceless opportunities for students to succeed, and are a special way to remember those who have deeply influenced our lives and communities.

Please visit the UQ website for more information about bequests, or email or call UQ’s Bequest Manager, Kate Heffernan, on +61 7 3346 3904 for a confidential discussion about how to make a bequest or memorial gift.

Small gifts; big impact

In 2015, gifts from the Annual Appeal comprised more than 75 per cent of the total number of gifts to The University of Queensland. Collectively, regardless of size, these Annual Appeal gifts provided vital support for students, teaching initiatives and research.

An exclusive group of over 20 UQ donors know precisely the importance of regular donations, after giving to the University for 20 years or more. Known as annual donors, these valued supporters have chosen to give comparatively smaller amounts over many years, with one donor supporting the University for 27 consecutive years.

The University raises millions of dollars each year and in 2015 78 per cent of gifts received were from the Annual Appeal - a statistic that truly highlights the importance of collective giving.

These collective gifts create a big impact, and are often directed to areas of the University that offer immediate support, including the Scholarship Endowment Fund, the Young Achievers Program and the University’s Greatest Need Fund. These funds, and others supported by the Annual Appeal, help pursue new discoveries through world-class research, and provide vital resources to allow academic leaders to embrace innovations in teaching and provide a transformational experience for our students.

If you’ve considered making a gift to the University, one to the Annual Appeal can make a lasting and profound difference. Your regular support, along with the collective support of those who choose to invest in the future of this great institution will help UQ students see the world differently; your support will help UQ develop the best and brightest into the leaders of tomorrow; your support will create change.

Visit UQ Giving to make a donation today or speak to the UQ Advancement team at or on +61 7 3346 3900 to discuss your options for giving to UQ.

Staff make a lasting impact

For 15 years Professor Peter Gresshoff (pictured) of the Centre for Integrative Legume Research has been a loyal supporter of The University of Queensland Library through UQ’s Workplace Giving Program.

Staff support is a key measure of confidence from those who are engaged within the University every day, who see the impact the institution is having locally and globally, and who believe in and want to be a part of the University’s success.

The Program allows University staff to donate a portion of their salary on a regular basis, relieving the potential burden of a large one-off donation, and also giving the donor an immediate
tax benefit.

Professor Gresshoff chooses to support theLibrary each year because he sees it as an integral and valuable central service that benefits all students, staff and even members of the community.

“I feel a responsibility towards my employer,” said Professor Gresshoff.

“It is a two-way relationship and a small donation each fortnight does make a difference.”

In 2015, donations to the Library were used to increase cultural collections, fund the Fryer Fellowship, refurbish study spaces for students, and upgrade digitisation equipment.

UQ Staff can visit the Workplace Giving information page to learn more about donating.

A gift that keeps on grilling – student giving

It is not only our alumni, staff and the community who are generous donors to UQ, students are also making an impact with gifts of their own. UQ Engineering reached a key milestone in 2015, with the annual Engineering Class Gift raising a record $5,000 from 110 donors. The gift will be used to install barbeque facilities within the engineering precinct.

The barbeque facilities will provide an area for future students to sizzle, socialise and host engagement events with valued industry connections. Since the initiative was launched in 2011, graduating students have collectively raised more than $23,000 to enhance the engineering student experience for those following in their footsteps.

Students who would like to organise a class gift or individual donation should contact their faculty Advancement Officer.

The University of Queensland acknowledges the support of its generous donors, including alumni, friends, staff, industry partners and foundations.

With the support of donors, UQ is able to develop the next generation of students, sustain critical research and find solutions to create a vibrant, healthy planet.

View the latest Donor Impact Report online here.

To make a donation, contact us.
Thank you