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Q&A with Karen Neuendorf

Karen Neuendorf, a Sunshine Coast local of 17 years, is a member of the USC Foundation Board. She, her husband Keith and mother-in-law Anna support two USC scholarships aiding high-achieving students in financial need.

Q: What inspired you to get involved with the University?

A: Coming from Melbourne, I was used to the big, traditional universities. But I have been so impressed with USC, which is truly a people’s university, integrating with the community and reflecting Sunshine Coast values. The campus is unique with eclectic, eco-friendly architecture—and kangaroos roaming the campus! At the same time, it’s being lauded nationally for its high academic impact. It’s all right here on our doorstep and I feel very proud of it.

Q: Why did you and your husband decide to support scholarships at USC?

A: Keith and I both came from tough backgrounds. We worked hard for what we have and now feel that with the privilege of our lifestyle comes a responsibility to give back. We want to help young people who want to help themselves. A little bit of a push can take them a long way.

Q: Do you feel that philanthropy is alive and well on the Sunshine Coast?

A: Maybe not so much in dollars yet, but I see a great deal of caring and giving out there. It’s a very generous community we live in—I think we will build on that. It’s important that those who are able to set examples of philanthropy do.

Q: Give us your secret—how do you find time to be so active in the community?

A: You have to prioritise. A few years ago, I removed myself from management of Neuendorf Interiors so that I could get more involved with the community. I really enjoy giving back and passing along whatever skills I’ve learned over the years.

Stepping stones to excellence

The University of the Sunshine Coast is setting the pace in Australia with its fundraising initiatives. The Building Excellence Campaign is one of the first university campaigns in the country, and its results will be felt.

Starting with a highly successful $500,000 campaign for a new Art Gallery in 2003, USC was encouraged to think bigger. Today’s $5 million Campaign for three key initiatives will give the University a competitive edge into the next decade.

The three priorities for the Building Excellence Campaign are:

  • Leadership in Health and Sport—$3.5 million to help fund a world-class Health and Sport Centre
  • Equity and Access for Students— $1 million for student scholarships and bursaries
  • Campus Enhancements—$500,000 for campus beautification

The Campaign will run through to the end of 2008 and is now over halfway to its goal of $5 million.

Become involved

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> or by mail to University Foundation, University of the Sunshine Coast, Maroochydore DC Qld 4558.

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