In a year like no other, the University of Wollongong was shaped by bushfires, floods and the global COVID-19 pandemic in our home communities. 2020 profoundly challenged every aspect of our lives and operations and yet, during this time, we saw the Wollongong spirit come alive.
Our UOW staff community rallied on a number of fronts. Onsite staff opened our Bega and Batemans Bay campuses to provide much-needed places of refuge for those fleeing the summer bushfires. Others generously donated to our UOW Cares Staff Giving Appeal to support the Rural Fire Service, matched dollar for dollar by UOW.
When the pandemic struck, staff collaborated with a range of community organisations. Together they provided food, care packages and comfort for many of our students left stranded and vulnerable across NSW.
As donors, your support for scholarships, programs and research proved more important than ever before, and you stood shoulder to shoulder with the University in our mission to make a real difference in the lives of others. To witness this collective support was extraordinary.
In August, I was delighted to announce Australia’s first philanthropically funded Chair in Mathematical Sciences, established through a gift from the Tibra Foundation. Founded by UOW alumni, the Foundation has long recognised the important role that mathematics plays in our shared future.
It was a privilege to recognise their ongoing support for students and research.
Our long-term partnership with the Westpac Scholars Trust in the Young Technologists Scholarships Program took on a further dimension. UOW was selected as a partner for the Westpac Scholars Asian Exchange Scholarship Program commencing in 2022. Scholars will spend up to two semesters in Asia, where they will forge long-lasting professional networks, crossing cultural and geographical boundaries.
The Horizons Fellow of Molecular Pathology, launched in 2020, was also made possible through philanthropic support. It aims to enhance the University’s ability to gain a clearer understanding of diagnostics and pathology in the early detection of disease. Designed to attract the world’s best talent, this Fellowship demonstrates the potential for philanthropy to align with the University’s strategic goals.
Despite the very challenging conditions, UOW continues to be recognised as a world-class University, currently ranked in the top one per cent1 internationally and recognised as the highest ranked university in NSW2. I am particularly pleased with our world ranking in the Times Higher Education University Impact Rankings where UOW is ranked 31st. Your philanthropic support is well vested in an organisation dedicated to excellence and impact.
Vice-Chancellor Paul Wellings CBE
As I look towards the completion of my tenure as Vice-Chancellor in the second quarter of 2021, I would like to express my sincere gratitude for the unwavering support of our donors. You are from diverse backgrounds and experiences, yet you all share the common values and commitment to the vital role of higher education as a positive force in society. I have valued the opportunity to meet many of you over the years. I hope you feel a great sense of pride in being part of the community of donors featured in this publication.
The University was founded on philanthropy and the donations of individuals and organisations. Your support in 2020 continues this proud tradition. You continue to make a vital contribution to UOW’s ability to educate the next generation of leaders and to conduct research that will make a positive and lasting impact.
My sincere thanks to you all.
PROFESSOR PAUL WELLINGS CBE