Falls prevention for the elderly: Kirk Foundation scholar making tracks

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Falls prevention for the elderly: Kirk Foundation scholar making tracks


Thanks in part to the generosity of the Kirk Foundation, USC student James Lee is making international headway with research that could help prevent devastating falls among the elderly.

Mr Lee, who is pursuing a PhD through the USC Centre for Healthy Activities, Sport and Exercise, said the wireless technology he was using in his research allowed for precise monitoring of natural body movement.

“By building profiles of normal, healthy walking, we will be able to determine whether the way an ageing person walks puts him or her at risk of falling,” Mr Lee said. “Then an exercise program can be designed to target the specific muscles that need to be strengthened.”

Mr Lee has been invited to present a paper to the Asia-Pacific Congress on Sports Technology in Singapore in September, where he will exchange ideas and results with researchers from around the world. He said the impact of receiving a Kirk Foundation scholarship was “just incredible”. “I feel deeply indebted, that’s for sure,” he said.

Thanks to the scholarship, Mr Lee was able to resign from his part-time work and concentrate on his studies. “It made all the difference in the world to my confidence, and to my ability to focus on the work,” he said.

Sunshine Coast resident David Kirk donated several scholarships through the Kirk Foundation as a contribution to the USC Building Excellence campaign. “I believe we are all interwoven in one another’s success,” Mr Kirk said. “I am fortunate to have been able to establish a Foundation that can help the community. I think this investment in our University’s students is an especially good one.” 

ANZ establishes scholarship for USC students

ANZ Bank has put their support behind the Building Excellence campaign by establishing a scholarship for students in the University’s Faculty of Business. The scholarship will seek to encourage a student in financial need who has demonstrated academic merit and leadership qualities in either their school or community to pursue a degree at the University of the Sunshine Coast.

Professor Ed Fitzgerald, Dean of the Faculty of Business, said such opportunities were extremely important. “Scholarships like this one make a critical impact—they help us keep top business students here on the Sunshine Coast,” Professor Fitzgerald said.

“It’s terrific that ANZ has made this investment in our community’s youth and future.” Regional chief-executive-officer of ANZ Vicki Clark said the scholarship was a demonstration of ANZ’s commitment to assisting students in the local area. Ms Clark will meet the inaugural recipient of the ANZ scholarship later this year, following their selection by the University.

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The philanthropic spirit: giving feels right for Gordon Pfeiffer Gordon Pfeiffer

Buderim’s Gordon Pfeiffer didn’t graduate from the University of the Sunshine Coast, but he’s one of its most loyal supporters. Mr Pfeiffer puts his significant annual support down to his passion for the region and an ingrained sense of duty to give back.

Nearly 35 years ago, Pfeiffer’s then-job with a North American automobile manufacturer caused him to relocate from Canada to Australia. He fell in love with the country, later settled on the Sunshine Coast, and was here to stay.

“Although I graduated from McGill University in Canada, I feel an equally strong sense of loyalty to the University of the Sunshine Coast because of the opportunities it can offer its students and the community,” Mr Pfeiffer said.

Mr Pfeiffer has closely watched the establishment and growth of USC over the past decade, and feels that private support can transform a university and its region. “Private support is a must in leading in the development of a University,” he said.

As a significant donor to the Building Excellence campaign, Mr Pfeiffer will be acknowledged on the donor wall in the new Health and Sport Centre. But recognition is not why he gives. “The culture in Canada is such that we’re strongly inclined to support our universities,” he said. “I hope this philosophy will grow in Australia.”

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