Philanthropists Graham and Louise Tuckwell have announced Australia's largest personal philanthropic contribution to a university, worth about $200 million over 30 years, to fund a major expansion of the prized Tuckwell Scholarship Program at The Australian National University (ANU).
The funding will come from two iconic new halls of residence at ANU to be built over the next two years, funded by Graham and Louise Tuckwell at a cost of around $100 million.
The expansion also includes construction of a $10 million Scholars House building, which will be the pastoral, academic and social heart of the Tuckwell Scholarship program.
The collegiate-style residences will each house 400 ANU students in the heart of the campus. The new halls will provide students with one of the world's best experiences of living on-campus.
Revenue from the residences will fund the Tuckwell Scholarship Program in perpetuity and will lead to an increase in the number of scholarships offered each year.
ANU Vice-Chancellor Professor Brian Schmidt AC congratulated Graham Tuckwell, an ANU alumnus, and his wife Louise for their magnificent contribution to both ANU and to Australia.
He said it will give hundreds of young Australians the opportunity to access an outstanding and transformative education at ANU.
"Today marks a new beginning and a monumental contribution that will be a legacy for many decades to come," Professor Schmidt said. "It is the beginning of a new future at ANU, and a new hallmark in the history of philanthropy in Australia.
"Graham and Louise Tuckwell are a couple who have already been beyond generous.
"When the Tuckwell Scholarship Program was established in 2013, it was a transformative idea. Over the past three years it has established itself as Australia's most prestigious undergraduate scholarship and Graham and Louise now wish to have it expand and continue in perpetuity.
"The building of two new halls of residence will not only benefit the Scholarship Program but will provide much-needed additional on-campus accommodation.
"This is an exciting new way in which philanthropists and donors can make a huge positive contribution to tertiary education in this country.
"This is a truly outstanding contribution to the University, and to the nation."
Mr Tuckwell, who lived in Bruce Hall while a student at ANU, said university education transformed his life and the life of his wife Louise.
"Louise and I benefited enormously from our educational experiences. We would like to help and encourage others to gain from a total university experience and to use it to benefit Australia," Mr Tuckwell said.
"We now want to give more students a chance to take part in the Tuckwell Scholarship Program, and to live in Australia's premier student accommodation."
The new residential halls, heavily inspired by Mr Tuckwell's experience at Bruce Hall, will be designed to set new standards in student accommodation and catering, and will build on the collegiate traditions and experiences of the ANU residential life.
Tuckwell Scholarships are awarded to students across Australia who show both academic merit and a commitment to give back to the Australian community.
The program has a vision to provide opportunity and to inspire role models and leaders who can make a difference to Australia and the world.
Tuckwell Scholarships are awarded to 25 students each year. The Scholarships are worth $21,700 a year for five years of undergraduate study. Scholars also receive mentoring and other support services through Scholars House.
Further information about the Tuckwell Scholarships is available at the Tuckwell Scholarship web page http://tuckwell.anu.edu.au/.
This article was originally published at the ANU Newsroom