Transforming Futures – celebrating 12 years of impact

Our partnership with our donors inspires and enables the University of Wollongong to create meaningful change.



Story By

Leanne Newsham

Our partnership with our donors inspires and enables the University of Wollongong to create meaningful change.

In September 2019, we brought together donors with scholars past and present to celebrate the impact of philanthropy and collective giving through UOW’s Transforming Futures Scholarship Program.

Hosted by Vice-Chancellor, Professor Paul Wellings CBE, the occasion recognised the generosity of our supporters and the profound effect these scholarships have had on the lives of many UOW students.

“The University has partnered with supporters in our communities for over 12 years to offer this program to our hardworking and talented students, and together we have raised more than $800,000 and welcomed more than 120 scholars. This is an amazing achievement and it is the spirit of giving that has allowed us to continue this program,” Professor Wellings said.

“We have always sought to partner with like-minded individuals and organisations who share our sense of mission, the urgency of acting now, and the possibility of creating an improved society. We want our donors to be inspired about what they are supporting,”

A panel of scholars shared their personal stories of struggle and triumph and spoke about what receiving a scholarship meant to them and their ability to achieve their educational goals.

For Bianca Hunt, currently completing a Bachelor of Arts degree with majors in Psychology and Criminology, her scholarship has been a vehicle for inter-generational change.

“My eldest daughter asked me a few years ago if she had to attend university and I said yes and her reply was, but you and Dad didn’t go. This conversation gave me the push to enrol and become the first person in my family for generations to attend university. Now my daughter has finished year 12, and it is her turn,” Bianca says.

“I’m grateful for my scholarship. The funds have allowed me to purchase textbooks, stationery and computer equipment, pay for parking and much more. However, most of all I am grateful that there is one less thing to worry about and this is because I have people in my corner who I haven’t even met, who are helping me on my university journey.”

In addition to her studies, Bianca volunteers at Lifeline telephone crisis service and has worked with UOW’s Advancement Team to raise awareness and funds for the Transforming Futures Scholarship Program.

“These causes have special meaning for me, and I’m privileged to be a part of it and show my children the value of helping,” Bianca says.

A Transforming Futures Scholarship has also helped Nicolas Marin to realise his family’s dream of attaining a university education. Nicolas, a first-generation Australian, is the first of five siblings to attend university and he intends to set a high bar for his siblings to not just meet, but surpass.

For Nicolas, securing a scholarship means he does not have to choose between academic excellence in his pursuit of a combined Bachelor of Politics, Philosophy and Economics and Bachelor of Laws degree, and continuing his remarkable work in the community.

“From a young age, I have wanted to help the multicultural future of Australia by tackling the cultural and linguistic barriers that face migrant families on a daily basis,” Nicholas says.

“I did this initially at a grass roots level as a volunteer for the Spanish and Latin American community organisation. I’m now facing these issues at an organisational level as the youngest current board member for the Multicultural Community Council of the Illawarra. But even now, I aspire to help at a deeper level, aiming to one day solve these issues and many more at a legislative level.

“This is why I am a law student at UOW, a university which has consistently represented strong community values thanks to the help of its amazing staff, alumni and other members.

“So thank you. Thank you for believing in the power of students and believing in our capacity to make a real difference. From each and every scholar you’ve helped with your support, thank you for making this wonderful program a reality,” Nicolas acknowledges.

Previous Transforming Futures Scholarship recipients, Dr Benjamin Buckley and Suellen Knight also shared their stories of inspiration during a panel discussion at the celebratory event.

The success of this long-standing program is attributed to the collective giving of UOW staff, alumni, and community members.

About Transforming Future Scholarships

Transforming Future Scholarships were previously known as the Learning and Development Scholarship Fund.

A Transforming Futures Scholarship will make a profound change to a student’s future. With your support, we will invest in more scholarships for young people who have the ability to study with us but whose situation may prevent them from achieving their goals.

Give Now

Would you mind taking 5 minutes to help the University of Wollongong improve this website?

Take our survey