When USC announced its first major fundraising campaign to support student needs, Rod Forrester was among the very first to put his hand up to help. Rod and his wife Jan Forrester have since provided the University with one of its most substantial donations to date. Their gift will support the new Health and Sport Centre.
“It is very challenging to find private funding for buildings, though new infrastructure is crucial for our university’s growth,” Vice-Chancellor Paul Thomas said. “Rod and Jan are wonderful friends who said ‘yes we’ll help in whatever way it’s needed.’ Gifts like that are gold. They have been a tremendous help enhancing education on the Sunshine Coast.”
Until recently, Rod Forrester was director of leading property group FKP Limited. Last month he retired, exactly 21 years after he founded the Sunshine Coast firm with his brother Des and Phil Parker.
The company subsequently grew to become one of Australia’s biggest property developers, and is the biggest owner and operator of retirement villages in both Australia and New Zealand. Rod served as managing director of FKP until 2003.
“I am ready for new challenges,” Rod said. “It is now time to look after my family’s business interests, and the well-being of our community. Jan and I believe in the importance of a strong education infrastructure for the Sunshine Coast. Education is a good investment for any community. This support for USC is the least we could do for a region that has given so much to us over the years.”
Trevor Harch hasn’t just stood inside every building on the USC campus—he’s built all but one of them. As the co-founder of the local development and construction company Evans Harch Group, he has played a key role in the University’s history.
Last month the Evans Harch Group took their role at the University to a new level, by giving $500,000 to the Building Excellence campaign. Their gift—one of the University’s largest ever—will go to support the new Health and Sport Centre.
“We are intimately familiar with the new facility, and it is obvious to us that it will make a crucial impact on the well-being of our community,” Mr Harch said. “As a local family business, we feel privileged to help make it happen.”
Trevor Harch, along with company directors Matthew Evans and Sean Evans, presented the cheque to Vice-Chancellor Paul Thomas in June. Pat Evans, the company’s co-founder, was overseas.
“This gift manifests a deep and genuine commitment from the Evans Harch Group to the future of our region,” Vice-Chancellor Thomas said. “I am overwhelmed by this act of generosity to our students.”
The Building Excellence campaign has raised $4.42 million of its $5 million goal to support three key initiatives: the health and sport centre, scholarships and bursaries, and campus enhancement.