Commodities trader and philanthropist Graham Tuckwell and his wife Louise set a record for philanthropy to Australian education yesterday, donating $100 million to the Australian National University (ANU) on top of the $50 million gift three years ago for a scholarship program.
The money will go towards building to new residential halls over the next two years, both housing 400 students. The revenue generated from the accommodation will then be used to expand the Tuckwell Scholarship program, which annually gives 25 students $21,700 a year for five years of undergraduate study.
The Canberra-born rich-lister’s latest gift is estimated to be worth about $200 million over the next 30 years.
Tuckwell, who graduated from ANU with degrees in economics and law, went on to found ETF Securities, pioneering the market in exchange-traded funds, exchange-traded commodities and exchange-traded currencies, with more than $30 billion in assets. He also founded the ETP Gold Bullion Securities and is worth an estimated $500 million.
Four years ago, the pair, who live on the island of Jersey, launched the Tuckwell Foundation.
ANU vice-chancellor Professor Brian Schmidt AC said the Tuckwell’s latest gift created a legacy that will last for many decades.
“It is the beginning of a new future at ANU, and a new hallmark in the history of philanthropy in Australia,” he said.
“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.”
Tuckwell lived in Bruce Hall while studying at ANU and the collegiate-style halls are inspired by that experience and will include a $10 million Scholars House building, acting as pastoral, academic and social heart of the scholarship program.
“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,” Tuckwell said.
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.
The Tuckwell donation is the largest single individual donation seen in Australia, especially to an educational institution.
In 2014, the Packer family established a $200 million philanthropic fund, with Westpac setting up a $100 million scholarship fund the same year.
The biggest ever donation was the Ramsay Health founder Paul Ramsay’s $3 billion charitable bequest following his death in 2014.
In 2013, mining billionaire Andrew Forrest pledged $65 million to universities in Western Australian, and plans to give away $2.5 billion in his lifetime.
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