A Foundation To Educate Women Has Been Set Up In Katrina Dawson's Name

The message of love left for Katrina Dawson by her daughter Sasha, in Sydney’s Martin Place. Photo: Getty Images.

The family of Katrina Dawson, the 38-year-old barrister and mother-of-three, who died in the Sydney siege on Tuesday morning, have established a foundation in her memory, aimed at assisting young women make the most of educational opportunities.

Former Governor-General Dame Quentin Bryce is the founding member of the Katrina Dawson Foundation.

Dame Quentin was principal of the University of Sydney Women’s College, where Dawson studied. She paid tribute to her student saying “Our country has lost a shining star”.

“Katrina Dawson, brilliant mind, joie de vivre spilling over, talented sportswoman, one of those rare natural leaders. Confident, courageous, out-front, articulate, warm and funny, but thoughtful, gentle and understanding too,” Bryce said.

“I admired her strength of purpose and character. We knew she had a great future ahead of her, a life of achievement and contribution.”

She graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in 1998, followed by a Bachelor of Laws in 2000. Lauded by the NSW Bar Association as “one of our best and brightest”, Katrina Dawson was a member of Eight Selborne chambers in Phillip Street, and younger sister of fellow barrister Sandy Dawson and McKinsey & Co. director Angus Dawson.

Katrina Dawson

She leaves behind her husband Paul Smith, also a lawyer, and three children, Oliver, Sasha and Chloe.

In launching the Katrina Dawson Foundation, the Dawson family said “We have been touched and deeply honoured by the genuine tributes to our darling Katrina. We have been sustained by the extraordinary love of our family and friends, here and afar”.

“Katrina‚Äôs friends and colleagues have given us unbridled support and have been a great source of strength. We also feel that we have been surrounded by the warmth of a city and a nation as we all struggle to come to terms with the tragic events of this week.”

They said she had inspired so many people to ask us what can be done to preserve and honour her memory.

“Katrina was a light in so many lives. She shone in so many ways. And she made the most of every opportunity she had. It is our hope that out of her senseless death we will, through the opportunities the Foundation will provide, bring meaning to the lives of other amazing young women,” they said.

Donations can be made online to The Katrina Dawson Foundation .

A memorial service for Katrina Dawson is planned for next Tuesday at the University of Sydney.

The family has requested that people donate to the foundation rather than bringing flowers. Mourners have been asked to wear “a splash of aqua”, Dawson’s favourite colour.

The launch of the Katrina Dawson Foundation follows on from a memorial fund created by Beyondblue for Lindt cafe manager Tori Johnson after being contacted by Lindt Australia and Johnson’s partner, Thomas Zinn.

Lindt Australia donated $51,000 and the fund has so far raised $68,000.

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