Chancellor thanks Tuckwells in celebration speech

14 February 2013

Last week on Tuesday 5 February 2013 members of the ANU community gathered to celebrate Graham and Louise’s generosity. In a speech delivered by the Chancellor, Professor the Hon Gareth Evans AC QC FASSA the Tuckwells were praised for their generosity and thanked on behalf of the University.

Dinner Celebrating Graham Tuckwell

Bruce Hall, ANU, 5 February 2013

Address by Chancellor, Professor the Hon Gareth Evans AC QC FASSA

Welcome to the Australian National University, and Bruce Hall, for this very special evening, celebrating an extraordinary gift to this university, and to this nation, from an extraordinary Australian couple.

This university has benefited wonderfully from the contributions of many donors in the past,  but the gift of  Graham and Louise Tuckwell, which was  announced today, and which we are celebrating this  evening, is a gift in a class of its own, not only for ANU, but for Australia.

It is the largest gift ever made to an Australian university by Australian donors.

And it is the largest gift for the benefit of students ever made to an Australian university by anyone.

The gift is of $50 million – to establish the Tuckwell Scholarship program, a program which in its scale, generosity and breadth of vision has been totally unmatched by anything which has gone  before, not only in this university but anywhere in the country.

Each year, 25 new Tuckwell Scholars ,  chosen nationwide after an exhaustive selective process designed  to pick out not only the brightest but the best of our young citizens of the future, will receive, for up to 5 years of undergraduate study in any degree  combination, $20,000 per annum – up to $100,000 overall – to pay for  accommodation and other expenses in a way that enables them to enter fully into the life of the university.

The Tuckwells gift will support a program of this magnitude for the next 20 years -- but it is intended by them to continue in perpetuity, and Graham has already indicated that he and Louise will do what it takes over the years ahead to ensure that vision stays a reality. 

The critical additional ingredient in this scholarship program is that it will focus not just on academic achievement but on producing well-rounded, committed citizens, who will not only fulfil their own potential, but – as  Graham puts it – “reinvest their knowledge, skills and experience in ways that positively benefit others”.

The idea is that Tuckwell Scholars be – both during the course of their study and in their subsequent lives – be a distinctive community, conscious of the privilege they’ve had and the responsibilities that go with it. 

A core element in the program – at its academic, pastoral and social heart --  will be the establishment of a dedicated meeting place and centre on the ANU campus, “Scholars House”, where Tuckwell Scholars,  with advice and support by Tuckwell Fellows (academic staff appointed from across the campus), will have the opportunity to develop just that sense of community. 

The idea of “putting back”, of “giving back” is absolutely central to the Tuckwells’ vision, as Graham will no doubt explain when he talks to us himself in a moment.  

What will be achieved by this gift is genuinely transformational, in three  big ways:

  • it will transform the lives of the hundreds (and eventually thousands) of Tuckwell Scholars who  will receive this support in the years ahead, and those whose lives they affect in turn with the sense of responsibility that will come with being a Tuckwell scholar;
  • it will transform this university, putting us in a wonderful position to not only remain the  national leader in the quality of our research output, and contribution to the national public policy debate, but to become a new national leader in the quality of students we attract to ANU, not just from our traditional catchments, but  from all around the country; and
  • not least, it should fundamentally transform the sense of what is possible in Australian philanthropy, and educational philanthropy in particular: we hope and expect that what the Tuckwells have done will inspire many others to follow their example, not only for the benefit of ANU but of this country, where we all know that sense of obligation to give back/ put back has just not been part of the mainstream culture.

It takes very special people to have the  combination of vision, commitment and generosity that lies behind this gift.  And Graham and Louise Tuckwell are very special people indeed.

As I hope he tells you a little more, Graham is an ANU alumnus who graduated in economics in 1978 and law in 1981.  After twenty years of experience in investment banking and corporate advice, he established ETF Securities Limited, which is now one of the largest exchange traded products  firms in the world with some $30 billion in assets, and is acknowledged worldwide as the inventor of exchange traded commodities. 

His wife Louise, who we very much regret is unable to be with us this evening,  is an alumna of the University of Queensland, where she won a university medal in Dental Science, and who also studied for an MBA at the University of Adelaide, although her primary preoccupation for some years now has been bringing up four wonderful children and coping with all the moves associated with living with what must  be one of the world’s most energetic, and certainly most travelled husbands, and as a volunteer fulfilling her lifelong passion for education, and especially music education. 

We couldn’t be more privileged, here at ANU, to be the beneficiaries, of the vision, commitment, generosity and passion of this magnificent couple – a couple who know what it takes to make a difference, and are determined to make that difference with marvelously forward thinking scholarship  program.

May I ask you all now to join with me in thanking, and celebrating, Graham and Louise Tuckwell for their extraordinary, unprecedented and transformative generosity. Graham – and through you, Louise – you have joined today not only the pantheon of ANU greats, but Australian greats. From the bottom of our hearts we thank you.

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