Original alumni Doug Sutherland gives back, to help others.
Donations to the Vice-Chancellor’s Fund have wide-reaching effects and, by funding a diverse range of activities and initiatives, support the whole Macquarie University community.
The Vice-Chancellor’s Fund helps Macquarie University continue to award scholarships, embark on new projects to improve the student experience and undertake first-class research to tackle the world’s challenges.
For Doug Sutherland, the fund was the perfect recipient of his recent $150,000 donation. “My constant philosophy in relation to gift-giving is that I donate with no strings attached,” he says. “Institutions like Macquarie University are better at knowing their affairs than I am, and will know how to use the money in the best way possible.”
Mr Sutherland is an alumnus, former Lord Mayor of Sydney and a well-known philanthropist. He enrolled at the University in 1967, its first year of operation and he was the grateful beneficiary of a Commonwealth scholarship that paid for his fees and textbooks.
Since his days at Macquarie, he has built an impressive career that’s seen him contribute hugely to the city of Sydney. A certified accountant, he has sat on a number of arts and government committees, held positions at many local government commissions and been a board member for Sydney Electricity (now Energy Australia) and the NRMA. In 1980, he was elected Lord Mayor of Sydney, an office he held for seven years.
Looking back, Mr Sutherland reflects that it was his scholarship all those years ago that helped him become one of the most influential people in the city, which in turn enabled him to serve his community. “After years of working in governments and organisations, I know they never have enough money to meet the demands on them,” he says. “Donations for education help to encourage students and support the University’s priorities.”
The Vice-Chancellor’s Fund has supported a variety of groundbreaking initiatives. These include the “Buy a Seat” program, which encourages people to make a donation to the University by way of sponsoring a seat in a lecture theatre. Workshops on STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) have been held in rural towns, empowering and providing access to these disciplines for students who might not otherwise have the opportunity to discover where science can take them.
The fund also helps remove barriers to tertiary education for people who are disadvantaged, of a Vice-Chancellor scholarship. Lobsang is a refugee from Tibet and is now studying business at the University.
When Macquarie’s pioneering ethos is supported by generous alumni and friends, the possibilities for growth are limitless.