“Building Excellence” is the name of the University of the Sunshine Coast’s fundraising campaign. With the assistance of the community, the University aims to raise $5 million for key initiatives. This newsletter is distributed quarterly to highlight progress and recognize key gifts and donors to the campaign.
Sir Clem Renouf’s landmark commitment to the University—$500,000 to establish two major annual scholarships—is a visionary investment in education and our region. But then, Sir Clem is a living icon of visionary achievement.
Back in 1978, the Sunshine Coast local was asked to serve as the president of Rotary International, a world wide network of 1.2 million volunteers. During that presidency he inspired Rotary’s members to come together to tackle a major world health problem—polio. Rotary joined forces with world health organisations in pursuit of an ambitious goal—to rid the world of polio. With a 99 percent reduction in the incidence of polio since the program was launched, that goal is now in sight.
Recently Sir Clem turned his sights to making a significant local impact by funding the Renouf Family Scholarships at USC. The annual scholarships will provide two new outstanding students with $4,000 per year for three years toward their studies—the largest privately funded undergraduate scholarship on offer at USC.
“This is the calibre of scholarship that helps make a university competitive on a national level,” said Andrew Pentland of the University Foundation. “It will help draw top academic students to our campus, and give opportunities to those who might not otherwise be able to afford to study.”
Sir Clem, who has lived on the Sunshine Coast since 1946, said he felt inspired to give to USC. “The University has already made a tremendous impact. It has introduced a new standard of education for the area, and provided practical opportunities for study. It has also been extremely pro-active in our community.”
His gift was originally intended to be left as a bequest in his will, but he decided to give it while he was alive for a few reasons. “I wanted to know the beneficiaries, the students, so it wasn’t just a financial transaction but a human one as well. It also makes good financial sense to give while I’m alive—I get to take the tax deduction.”
Perhaps most significantly, Sir Clem’s gift was motivated by his parents. Originally from Northern Queensland, he was the eldest of six children growing up at the height of the Great Depression. There was no high school in his small town, and his parents sacrificed greatly to have him educated at a boarding school. They made the commitment not just to him, but to all six children.
“I owe everything I’ve done since then to that commitment from my parents. I could not have accomplished anything without my education. These scholarships honour them.”