Strategic Direction

1 Jan 2015

Philanthropy will be an essential income stream for The University of Queensland during the next 10 years, believes UQ alumnus, Wotif Co-founder and philanthropist, Mr Andrew Brice.

“My rough back of the envelope calculation is this University's going to be about $200 million per annum short of revenue in the next 10 15 years, and that equates to about $4 billion in an endowment fund returning 5%.”

Speaking at the innaugaural Vice-Chancellor’s Alumni Summit in July, Mr Brice was one of forty alumni who convened from all parts of the globe at the St Lucia campus to lend their expertise and express their views and opinions on the strategic direction of their alma mater.

The discussions during the summit to the Vice-Chancellor, and will help drive an ambitious agenda as the University builds on its strengths in research, teaching and engagement in the beginning of its second century.

Alumni confirmed their interest in the strength of teaching and the ability of the University to open up to bright students who are economically or culturally disadvantaged.

The public esteem of the University was key to their own fortune and the discussion explored how alumni can assist in bolstering the global reputation of the University.

Alumni encouraged the University to build strong links with its 180,000 alumni, to enlist their support to build the esteem of the University globally, to help recruit the most able students and staff, and to ensure the best career outcomes for graduates.

Mr Brice said that a sense of belonging was crucial to effective alumni relations.

“It's a bit like word of mouth and soul. It's something that evolves. It has to be in the blood,” he said.

“My guess is if you're a graduate of Stanford University, that you have, from the day you walked in, had this sense of being, this sense of being part of the soul, this sense of belonging.”

Lieutenant Colonel David Freeman considers alumni as ‘sort of disciples of the University’.

“Wherever we travel around the world, we trumpet the place, and that’s how Alumni can prosper.

“Alumni have a lot to offer in terms of financial contribution, but they also have a lot to offer in terms of the learning, in terms of the discovery and in terms of engagement. We ought not to forget the roles the alumni can play in those other ways,” he said.

In summing up the deliberations, the UQ Vice-Chancellor said that while many issues were discussed during the Summit, there were particular points that he and his colleagues would take away from the day.

“I think the educational philosophy, the focus on learning, the bringing forward our commitments to the lower socio economic students and indigenous to front and centre, and the increased need to address all of the alumni [from UQ], they're some of the key things I took away.”

The Summit is the first of many round table consultations that are planned to take place with alumni throughout Australia and the world during the next twelve months.

The Summit follows a period of internal, strategic planning that positions the University as an important and relevant global research intensive institution and a destination for outstanding researchers, teachers and students from throughout the world.

Consulations with alumni will explore the national and international context for higher education, and the funding of ambitious plans to bolster research capability, to underpin excellence in teaching and to transform the University’s capability to welcome talented students - the next generation of leaders - from all walks of life and especially from under-represented communities – including Indigenous.

All alumni are invited to participate in future consultations.