A gala dinner to celebrate Victoria University’s Centenary of Opportunity on Saturday 21 May was made even more memorable when the University’s leaders personally extended their support by contributing $1.5 million to support scholarships.

The dinner, which marked 100 years since the founding of  VU’s predecessor Footscray Technical School was held in the National Gallery of Victoria’s Great Hall, where VU conferred its first undergraduate degrees in 1974. At the event, Vice-Chancellor Professor Peter Dawkins announced that he and his wife Sue Sleep are donating $500,000 over five years to support the University’s scholarship funds.

“I have seen many examples of students whose lives have been transformed by the power of education at Victoria University, many of whom have been supported by scholarships,” Professor Dawkins said after making the announcement.

It was also announced on the night that Victoria University Foundation Chair, Dr Susan Alberti AC is pledging $1 million to fund scholarships.

This is in addition to the $1 million gift that Victoria University Chancellor, Mr George Pappas AO is giving to support scholarships, which he pledged in 2015 at the Centenary Program announcement event.

More than 450 entrepreneurs, artists, scientists, politicians, philanthropists and educators – many of them Victoria University graduates - attended the Gala Dinner. It was also a privilege to host the Federal Minister for Education and Training, Senator The Hon. Simon Birmingham, representing the Prime Minister of Australia; Victoria’s Minister for Training and Skills, The Hon. Steve Herbert; Shadow Minister for Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Industry, Senator Kim Carr.

ABC News Radio’s Tracey Holmes hosted and compered the event and shared stories of Victoria University alumni and special guests who have achieved outstanding success professionally and made a major contribution to the University, including philanthropist Harold Mitchell AC, Ms Alberti, former Commonwealth attorney-general Nicola Roxon and international education advocate Elizabeth Lee on the future of Victoria University.

Please refer to the media release for further details. There is also a story on philanthropy in the tertiary education sector which featured in The Australian.

You can view photos from the event.

For more information on supporting scholarships at Victoria University, or on the Centenary Program or Campaign, please email centenary@vu.edu.au.