Q and A

The USA Foundation board reflect on their philanthropy motivations and experience at the University of Melbourne.

Matthew Edmonds

Why were you motivated to join the USA Foundation?

The University of Melbourne provided me with a valuable world-class educational foundation. This has enabled me to advance my professional career first in Australia, then over the past 22 years in the United States. I believe I can give something back to the University to demonstrate my gratitude via the USA Foundation. I want to enhance the University's international profile and contribute to building a US-based community of Melbourne alumni who share a common interest in connecting with each other.

Tell us one of your greatest memories about the University of Melbourne

I represented the University in varsity Australian Football, which included our amazing win in the 1986 national championships in Canberra.  I reflect fondly on my time at Newman College and remember all the great lifelong friends I made at the Melbourne Law School and Faculty of Business and Economics.

Why does supporting the University of Melbourne matter to you?

I was the beneficiary of a world-class education fully subsidized at the time by the Australian Government. That education has benefited me incredibly and I'm very grateful. It is very important to me to support and advance the University of Melbourne, and build and grow its brand and reputation throughout the United States and beyond. I want to do this so others can continue to enjoy a similar experience to me, and so that the great academic and educational work of the University can continue to advance.

What do you believe should be the Foundation's philanthropic priorities?

We have three goals over the next several years at the University of Melbourne USA Foundation: to elevate and enhance the University's brand in the United States; to increase engagement in the United States between Melbourne alumni through professional and social networking opportunities; and to launch and grow a dedicated US-based University of Melbourne Education Fund.

John Irwin

Why were you motivated to join the USA Foundation?

The relationships and memories from my early years in Melbourne have become extremely important to me, despite having lived outside Australia for more than 45 years. In the early 2000s I became more active in supporting the University and its residential colleges. This led to an invitation to join the USA Foundation. It's been an honour to be involved at this stage in my life, and to meet all of the wonderful people associated with the Foundation.

Tell us one of your greatest memories about the University of Melbourne

I have so many wonderful memories and life-long friendships from my six years at Melbourne. Friendships and experiences were created through everything from my academic studies, to playing football, to residing at Ormond College. All of this, in retrospect, provided a richer and broader educational experience.

Why does supporting the University of Melbourne matter to you?

The University was life changing for me in terms of the extraordinary opportunities and life experiences it offered, in preparing me to pursue an international career, and in developing a life-long desire for ongoing learning.

What do you believe should be the Foundation's philanthropic priorities?

A key goal is to improve engagement here in the US and to encourage US based alumni, students, parents, and friends of the University to renew their ties with the University of Melbourne.

Frank Azzopardi

Why were you motivated to join the USA Foundation?

Without the support of alumni, it will become increasingly difficult for the University of Melbourne to build upon its past achievements and emulate those accomplishments in the future. Philanthropy is not as culturally ingrained in Australia as it is in the United States, but that attitude is changing. I want to be part of an organisation that will help the best students attract an education from a top university.

Tell us one of your greatest memories about the University of Melbourne

I arrived at the University as a 18 year-old, straight from a public school in Melbourne's northern suburbs. I walked into the Old Quadrangle for the first time and thought it was beautiful. The building symbolised the history and prestige of the Melbourne Law School and reinforced to me the fact that so many amazingly talented people had walked its hallways before me.

Why does supporting the University of Melbourne matter to you?

The University of Melbourne has forever changed my trajectory in life. Studying at Melbourne enabled me to dream large and opened my eyes to potential opportunities I never knew existed. I truly believe there is no better institution in Australia to harness the talents of the best and brightest Australians, giving them the best chance to realise their potential.

What do you believe should be the Foundation's philanthropic priorities?

The Foundation should do what it can to encourage the best Australian students to study in the United States. Americans generally have a great affection for Australians, meaning there is no ceiling to what they can achieve in North America. It is also important to provide the exchange and scholarship opportunities for North American students and researchers to come to Australia, where they can benefit from the world-class, pragmatic teaching on offer.