Q: Mr Fairfax, you are a busy person with work and volunteer commitments. Why become involved with USC?
A: I take every commitment I make very seriously, and I would not have become involved without real conviction. I have always loved the Sunshine Coast and have been a frequent visitor. Soon after the University was founded, I met the Vice-Chancellor and President Professor Paul Thomas AM. I was impressed with his bold vision for the University, and I understood the importance of a strong regional university to the area. When Paul asked me to become involved with the Foundation, I was honoured to oblige.
Q: You have sat on the USC Foundation Board for 10 years now. What strikes you as the biggest change in the University over that time?
A: Without question, it’s the level of community support. The University has been imaginative in engaging its community, addressing real-life needs of the region’s industry, and responding to changing needs of its students. There are no sandstone cloisters on this campus, and that shows. Everywhere I go I hear praise and recognition for the University of the Sunshine Coast.
Q: What is the USC Foundation’s greatest challenge going forward?
A: As I mentioned, I think the University has the community’s psychological support—we just need to translate that to philanthropic support. In other parts of the world, universities are strongly backed by private support—donations—from their alumni and wider communities. It’s been a little different here in Australia, but that’s changing now. The Building Excellence campaign is the Sunshine Coast’s opportunity for individuals and businesses to stand up and make a crucial impact on their University—their future.
Q: Now, work aside—what’s your favourite thing to do when you’re on the Sunshine Coast?
A: To appreciate the local environment, whether it is the pristine beaches or the rainforests of the hinterland. One should never take it for granted and individually we have a responsibility to ensure that it is preserved for future generations.
Alumni will soon be putting down roots at USC with the launch of the University’s Alumni GOLD (Graduates Of the Last Decade) program. USC alumni who graduated within the last ten years (yes, that’s everyone!) will be asked to consider leaving a legacy by giving $250 to plant a native tree on campus.
The trees will line a new pathway—‘alumni way’—which will link the main campus with the new Health and Sport Precinct. Five-year pledges of $50 per year towards a tree will also be gratefully accepted. All alumni donors of $250 or greater to the Building Excellence campaign will have their names mounted on a donor wall within the new Health and Sport Centre.
Many people interested in donating to the University decide to give through a bequest in their will. Bequests can make a significant difference for USC students and are deeply appreciated. To learn how to make the most effective bequest, or to inform USC of your intentions in strict confidence, please contact the University Foundation.
Later in 2007, the University will launch a Bequest Society to encourage and acknowledge this important way of giving. More information will be available soon.
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 email@example.com> or by mail to University Foundation, University of the Sunshine Coast, Maroochydore DC Qld 4558.