A speech given by HE the Governor of Victoria at the launch of the Hansen Scholarship Program.
First, I acknowledge the Traditional Owners of the land upon which we are gathering and pay my respects to their Elders past and present and to any Elders here with us this morning.
Tony and I are delighted to welcome you to Government House for the launch of the Hansen Scholarship Program.
Since 1876, when this magnificent House was completed, it has witnessed many great and good things.
The Red Cross in Australia started here in our Ballroom in the First World War. The cable announcing the Armistice was delivered to the Governor-General here, this being his home at the time. A young Nellie Melba – magnificent artists and philanthropist – received patronage here that helped to kick-start her famous career. They are just examples.
You might note that I said these were amongst the ‘great’ and the ‘good’ things seen in Government House.
That reference, to the ‘great’ and the ‘good’ is a throw-back to my school days. My school motto was ‘Nil magnum nisi bonum’, or ‘Nothing is great unless it is good’. As is often the case, that motto was largely wasted on me when I was young. It went over my head. But as an adult, I appreciate exactly what is intended by it.
And that brings me to the Hansen Scholarship Program being celebrated this evening.
It is borne of the philanthropy of the Hansen/Littles – great philanthropy because it is so inherently good.
Their $30 million gift is not only the largest gift for the benefit of students in the history of the University of Melbourne, it is also one that will provide unparalleled opportunities for outstanding students whose personal circumstances might otherwise deny them the chance to study there.
I know I am speaking to the converted, and that everyone in this room is well aware of the life-changing and transformative impact education can have on young lives. That it can enable people to overcome challenges and surpass expectations.
We know too the opportunities that the University of Melbourne can offer, as the top ranked University in Australia and amongst the top 50 in the world.
The Hansen Scholarship Program – commencing in 2020 – will offer a wonderful pathway to educational empowerment for 20 students each year.
It is thoughtfully structured. Scholarship recipients will be awarded accommodation at Little Hall residence, as well as an allowance and financial and personal support. All of these carefully considered components of the Program will provide structures and networks to nurture, encourage and assist them while they complete their undergraduate degrees, develop life skills, cultivate career ambitions and embark on a lifetime of learning.
For those of you in the audience who are nearing the end of your secondary schooling, I wish you the best of luck in the final sprint. I wish you clarity as you choose your next steps. And I hope that some of you may be fortunate enough to be selected in the inaugural group of Hansen Scholarship recipients.
Jane and Paul’s great and good generosity will help to ensure that an excellent education is more accessible to those who otherwise face seemingly insurmountable economic barriers. Success for each of those students will be success for us all, as they go on to contribute to our nation’s future.
So, on behalf of the State of Victoria, let me say thank you to Jane Hansen and Paul Little AO and the Hansen Little Foundation.
Now, it is my pleasure to officially launch the Hansen Scholarship Program.