Q&A with Simon Whittle
Simon Whittle is a rare Sunshine Coast local who has lived on the Coast his entire life. He has been a USC Foundation Board member for eight years and is, along with his wife Sandy, a loyal supporter of campus enhancement projects.
Q: Simon, you do a lot for USC. Why do you feel the University is important?
A: I have no hesitation in saying that USC has been the single most important development on the Sunshine Coast in my lifetime. It’s making a crucial educational impact, and I like the way the university leaders offer a respected voice on important Sunshine Coast issues. The campus is also an exciting environment to visit, with interesting buildings, open spaces, and synergies alongside Mooloolah River National Park. When I have visitors come from interstate or overseas, I used to take them to the University of Queensland to show off “our” university. Now I bring them to USC. It’s a real source of pride for our region.
Q: Why did you you get involved with the USC Foundation?
A: I was invited to be on the Foundation Board about eight years ago. At that point Sandy and I had already decided that we wanted to include USC as one of the beneficiaries in our wills. Our hearts and minds were already behind the University, so it felt right to get involved.
Q: You volunteer for several Sunshine Coast organisations—what are you most passionate about?
A: I’m passionate about volunteering in general, and the power it can have. It’s amazing what groups of people with a common interest can achieve. I would like to see volunteer organisations be better recognized by governments, as their impact would be far greater if they were genuinely encouraged and valued. I’m lucky to have had the time at a younger age to volunteer—I’ve found it immensely rewarding to work with people and make great friendships. The contributions of volunteers around the Sunshine Coast, Australia, and the world are very inspirational to me.
The University’s Building Excellence fundraising campaign is entering its third and final year, and looks to secure a promising finish based on the standout results of 2007. “I am most pleased about the high participation that was demonstrated last year,” said Tim Fairfax, Deputy Chancellor and Chair of the USC Foundation Board.
In addition to raising over $1.8 million in gifts and pledges, a record number of donations to the University were received in 2007. Forty-four USC graduates each pledged $250 or greater, and an even higher percentage of USC staff backed the Building Excellence campaign through payroll deduction.
Key gifts from our generous community in the past three months include:
- A $500,00 pledge from an anonymous donor to support the new Health and Sport Centre
- Sir Clem Renouf’s commitment of $500,000 to support Excellence Scholarships
- Several gifts and sponsorships above the $5,000 level
The Building Excellence campaign aims to raise significant funds for three key priorities: the new Health and Sport Centre, student scholarships and bursaries, and campus enhancement.
For more information on giving to the Building Excellence Campaign, please contact University Foundation Executive Officer Andrew Pentland via telephone +61 7 5459 4418, email firstname.lastname@example.org or by mail to University Foundation, University of the Sunshine Coast, Maroochydore DC Qld 4558.