“Thank you for believing in the potential of students and for investing in our future”

Scholarships with impact

Over recent months, dozens of current St Mark’s Collegians have again been writing letters of thanks for the scholarships that have helped them be at St Mark’s this year. In many cases, scholarships have made the difference between their being able to return or come to the College for 2024, or not.

The headline above is a quote from one such letter.

The letters from students generally express gratitude for the great opportunity to benefit from being at College, and for the kindness and generosity of donors. Many students speak powerfully of what being at St Mark’s means to them, and of the financial challenges which they and their family face, including the current cost of living and other economic pressures, and how much difference the scholarship support makes.

Inspiringly, many scholarship recipients also express the determination that, when they are able later in life, they will “give back” or “pay it forward” – doing what they can to help future generations of students to be at St Mark’s.

A great deal of our scholarships are funded by gifts from Old Collegians who are grateful for what their College experience did for them. Many others are funded by gifts from friends of the College who have seen how important and life-changing their support can be.

Donations to the College through Annual Giving are essential to our ability to provide this support, as are major gifts and bequests. Thanks to the generosity of the St Mark’s community, a number of new scholarships have been created in the last few years, and Annual Giving by alumni and friends funds several crucial scholarships each year.

One of the top priorities in the College’s strategic plan, Towards our second century, is “working to support all students who need it, and to promote excellence and diversity, through a major expansion of scholarships and other financial support for students”.

This week, the annual Scholarship Presentation Ceremonies will be held at the College. Here, scholarships are formally recognised and certificates are presented to scholarship winners by their donors. We also launch Annual Giving, which again seeks support for our students through gifts for scholarships, as well as for other College priorities.

Expressions of gratitude

These short extracts from the very many letters written by scholarship recipients reflect their gratitude for the great impact of the support they have received.

“St Mark’s will forever be a part of my life. I would not be the person I am today without the support, and opportunities for growth and success in all aspects of life. Thank you for believing in the potential of students like myself and for investing in our future.”

“Being part of the college community at St Mark’s provides me with a sense of belonging that I have never felt prior. 2023 spent at college was the best year of my life, I have made lifelong incredible friendships and learnt many new things about myself, others, and the journey of life. I couldn’t imagine myself being anywhere else.”

“From the bottom of our hearts, we are truly thankful and assure you that St Mark’s College will always hold a special place in each of our hearts. I hope to one day be able to provide assistance to another student in living their dream to stay at St Mark’s College just like I have been kindly provided with.”

“This opportunity has become a reality thanks to you!”

“Coming to St Marks is one of the best decisions I’ve made. We are all grateful for your support in allowing me to return to college for a second year.”

“It is a testament to the life you have led and the values that you hold that you should show such kindness to strangers and freely support their educational journeys. Thank you for your kindness and generosity in creating this tremendous opportunity not only for me, but also for the many others who will inevitably follow.”

“The impact of this scholarship extends beyond my academic journey; it has made a significant difference in my life and has eased the financial burden I feel I have placed on my family. Without this support, continuing my studies in Adelaide would have been a considerable challenge. I will be forever grateful for your generosity.”

“Your support fuels my determination to excel academically and actively engage in the vibrant community at St Mark’s. I am eager to immerse myself in the diverse academic and extracurricular activities offered at the college, knowing that your generosity has provided me with the means to fully participate and contribute to its rich tapestry of experiences.”

“This generous scholarship has not only alleviated the financial burden of pursuing higher education but has also served as a profound affirmation of my academic and personal achievements. Your belief in my potential has provided me with the encouragement and support needed to excel in my studies. College is not just an academic institution; it is a place where dreams are nurtured, and futures are shaped. The opportunities for growth, both intellectually and personally, are invaluable. Your scholarship has made it possible for me to fully immerse myself in this transformative experience. I am genuinely grateful for the faith you have shown in me, and I am committed to honouring your generosity through dedicated and impactful academic pursuits.”

“Your support is not forgotten and thought of regularly with much gratitude.”

“Living at St. Mark’s is a privilege that I never thought I would have. Having grown up in economic and family hardship, your patronage provides me with significant emotional and financial relief that truly makes or breaks the reality of me being a student at St. Mark’s. Thank you for believing in me.”

“Thank you for providing opportunity to those like myself to continue living at St Mark’s College with the hopes to become the best version of myself in all aspects of my academic and personal life.”

“Being a daughter of two hard working farmers whose income is very dependent on weather means that there is always major stress around financial needs. This scholarship has truly been a major blessing for my family and me, especially with the unfortunate harvest season my mum and dad have experienced this year. Without your kindness, my family would have found it much harder to provide me with an opportunity to receive higher education, which would have impacted the chances of me being able to stay. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to chase my dreams.”

“My parents and I are incredibly thankful for your donation of this scholarship as it has played a large role in helping me to attend St Mark’s College this year and hopefully in the years to come. I completed a gap year in 2023, working three jobs to accumulate savings to support my tertiary education. Such a generous scholarship goes a long way in assisting me with these costs.

“I am filled with gratitude for your generosity in awarding me this St Mark’s scholarship and look forward to the future opportunities that this will open for me.”

“Your generosity not only lightens the financial burden of my education but also validates my aspirations and reinforces my dedication to the field of nursing. With the support of this scholarship, I am better equipped to focus on my studies, engage in clinical experiences, and participate in the opportunities that St Mark’s has to offer. Your dedication to supporting aspiring nurses, like myself, reflects a shared commitment to excellence, integrity, and service to humanity. I am looking forward to personally thanking you for your kind scholarship and will work diligently this year to ensure I have made you proud.”

“Without scholarships, my residence at St Mark’s would be called into question.”

“Being from a farming family, the expense of living away from home was always scary to think about and try to budget for as our family’s income is constantly changing. My family has made many sacrifices to ensure I can be comfortable while studying and have never once wavered in their support towards me even when it has put pressure on them. Your help through this scholarship means a great amount to my family, and more so to myself as it allows me to continue making the most of the opportunities that arise while living at St Mark’s and in Adelaide.”

“Receiving this scholarship means more to me than words can convey. It is not only financial assistance but also a tremendous vote of confidence in my abilities and aspirations. Your belief in my potential has inspired me to work even harder towards my academic and career goals. Enrolling at St Marks has been a profoundly transformative experience for me, one that extends far beyond the academic realm. It has been a place where I have and will continue to make lifelong connections and it will always have a special place in my heart.”

“I am grateful for every moment I get to spend here. I am truly humbled by your generosity.”

“This scholarship you have kindly presented has allowed me to continue my college journey, which may not have gone ahead otherwise.”

“I have marvelled at the opportunities that I have been able to seize, the people that have shifted from acquaintance to family, and the way a new place can quickly become a home. It is due to your generosity that this is possible.”

If you would like to help change the lives of current or future students at St Mark’s, please give now at the link here.

For details of College scholarships, click here.


Academic adventures of our students

In addition to excellent academic results last semester and an academic programme in full swing for Semester 2, many of our students have taken part in exciting academic adventures in Australia and overseas over recent months, as well as within College.

Outstanding academic results

As the St Mark’s motto – spernit virtus humum, excellence reaches for the stars – suggests, academic excellence is one of the core values of our College, and in 2023 our students have certainly been reaching for the stars. In semester 1, more than a quarter of our students achieved at least one high distinction with 43 students (17% of all students) receiving only high distinction and/or distinction grades, including 12 students who received straight high distinctions. Overall, nearly half our results were high distinction or distinction grades.

In addition to achieving these outstanding results, our students have been busy with a wide range of academic activities and adventures over the winter months.

Rave reviews for our music theatre students

Final year music theatre students, Lilli De Nardi and Gracie Rowland performed in an Elder Conservatorium Music Theatre production of Sweeney Todd in June that won rave reviews. The Advertiser reviewer described the show as “a cut above the rest” and the performers as “brilliant… getting the perfect balance of light and shade” and “every one of them inhabit[ing] their character to the nth degree”.

Earth Sciences Convention

University of Adelaide geology student, Cooper Ferguson, together with two fellow earth sciences students, exhibited a poster at the 2023 Australian Earth Sciences Convention in Perth. Their poster presented an assessment of the meteorite specimens held in the Tate Museum at the University of Adelaide and some preliminary geochemical results.

Study Tours

College Club President, Ben McCure, and Arts and Culture/Student Outreach Officer, Bianca Feher, both travelled abroad during the mid-semester break as part of their studies. Ben headed to Vietnam, visiting Hanoi, Hoi An and Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon) on a creative study tour while Bianca undertook a short-term exchange at the University of California, Los Angeles, where she completed a subject on ethical issues in journalism.

 College Club President, Ben McCure, learning how to make rice paper in Hoi An, Vietnam

Arts and Cultural and Student Outreach Officer, Bianca Feher, at UCLA

Youth Parliament

Zoe Hughes took part in the YMCA South Australian Youth Parliament program this year, which culminated in a week-long residential camp for Parliament Week in July. Zoe was elected Leader of the Opposition and was part of the Recreation, Arts, and Culture Committee, who produced a bill aimed at reducing barriers to youth participation in recreational activities.

Zoe Hughes (front right) with Her Excellency, the Honourable Frances Adamson AC, Governor of South Australia, and other members of the 2023 SA Youth Parliament.

Zoe Hughes (centre) with Her Excellency, the Honourable Frances Adamson AC, Governor of South Australia, and other members of the 2023 SA Youth Parliament.

Faculty Feast to mark the start of semester 2

The Academic Team welcomed students back after the break with a Harry Potter-themed Great Feast. Students had to dodge the Whomping Willow and duck beneath flying letters to enter the Great Hall where they were sorted into their respective Houses, named after key figures in the College’s history. In a brief address, Professor Markwell offered just a few words quoted from Albus Dumbledore before encouraging everyone to “tuck in” (in Dumbledore’s words) to the magnificent feast that magically appeared before them (thanks to our kitchen wizards).

Writer in Residence

We also welcomed our Writer in Residence, Janet Fennell, an award-winning novelist, short story writer, reviewer, essayist, and poet from the Blue Mountains, NSW, for a six-week residency. Janet has a Master of Arts in Writing from the University of Western Sydney and has been teaching creative writing for 25 years. Her novel, Only Myself, was published by HarperCollins and her short stories have appeared in various magazines and newspapers. Janet will provide both inspiration and writing support for all students during her stay, but particularly our English and creative writing students.

Speaking from Experience

On Tuesday 1 August, we held the first event in a new informal discussion series, called Speaking from Experience, where staff, postgraduate students, and Old Collegians are invited to tell us about something they have learned the hard way – through experience. Our first speaker was one of our current postgraduate students, Chi Ho Yip, who was very candid about his experiences as a practising lawyer in Hong Kong and generous with the universal wisdom and bespoke advice he offered to attendees from all faculties.

STEM Faculty Evening

The semester 2 faculty events commenced last week with the 2023 STEM Faculty Evening. Academic Coordinator Josh Rummell drew together a brilliant panel of guests including astrophysicist Dr Gabriel Collin; research scientist Lynda Saunders; software engineer Dr Kyle Talbot; forensic toxicologist Ms Karen Thai; and forensic biologist Dr Phillippa Hearnden.

Amongst other things, our guests spoke about the value in any field of background skills such as programming and statistical analysis; the importance of strong interpersonal skills in the workplace; and how to identify and use transferable skills to explore different and perhaps unexpected career paths.

It was terrific to see such a great turn out of engaged students, not only from the STEM Faculty but from other faculties as well, all of whom benefited from advice about different learning styles and how to “hack” them to improve academic performance and enjoyed hearing about the similarities (or otherwise) between real life careers in forensic science and those depicted in shows such as CSI.

The Academy by Deloitte

Congratulations to Engineering students Hamish McKenny and George Fulwood (who is also studying Finance and Banking), who have both been accepted into The Academy by Deloitte offered in partnership with the University of Adelaide. The Academy provides students the opportunity to apply their academic learning and to gain practical experience in the workplace via a paid internship program.

Library Sundowner

Past and present staff and students as well as valued friends of the College gathered in the Library on Friday 4 August for a Sundowner to celebrate our long-serving Librarian, Pirjo Rayner, who retired at the end of June. Professor Markwell once again praised Pirjo’s student-centred and forward-looking approach to her role, which is embodied in the magnificent, purpose-built Ian and Pamela Wall Academic Centre, to which Pirjo contributed thoughtful design ideas.

Guests included the eighth Master of the College, Rose Alwyn, and former Dean, Raphaela Oest, former chaplain, Grant Moore, Angela Bannon, Mary and Guy Watson, Richard Scott Young, and rare books expert, Anthony Zammit, who were also treated to a first look at the nearly completed Richard Watson Rare Books Cabinet.



St Mark’s abroad – reunions in Hong Kong, London and Oxford, and Singapore

St Mark’s Collegians from the 1950s through to the 2020s met with the Head of College, Professor Don Markwell AM, at recent College reunion drinks in Hong Kong, London, and Singapore.

As well as exchanging reminiscences and reflections on their time at St Mark’s and hearing news of the College today, many Collegians expressed their excitement to return to Adelaide for the gala dinner to mark the Centenary of the College on Saturday 15 March 2025, the 100th anniversary to the day of the opening of the College in 1925. Other events are also being planned for that weekend in 2025, and for later in the Centenary year.

Professor Markwell hosted drinks for Collegians at the Mandarin Oriental in Hong Kong, The Clachan pub near Oxford Circus in London, and Raffles Hotel in Singapore.

He also met in Oxford with our Oxford-based Honorary Fellow, Professor John Finnis AC KC CBE (St Mark’s 1958-62). Professor Finnis is an eminent legal philosopher who was awarded a CBE in the United Kingdom’s New Year honours list this year. He is one of 29 St Mark’s students to have been awarded a Rhodes Scholarship to study in Oxford.

Thanks to a generous bequest of Professor Ivan Shearer AM, St Mark’s Collegians now also have the opportunity to go to Oxford or Cambridge as Ivan Shearer Scholars. Professor Markwell was delighted to catch up with the inaugural Ivan Shearer Scholar, Rebecca Keeley (St Mark’s 2012-14), who has spent the 2022-23 academic year in Oxford studying for a Masters of Business Administration.

Rebecca and her partner, Paddy Richards (St Mark’s 2011-13), were amongst the several Old Collegians and guests who took part in the enthusiastic London reunion.

Like John Finnis and former Masters Peter Edwards and Robin Ashwin, Professor Markwell first went to study in Oxford as a Rhodes Scholar. He was later the first Rhodes Scholar to be Warden of Rhodes House – the global CEO of the Rhodes Scholarships – and was back in Oxford for events marking the 120th anniversary of the Rhodes Scholarships, during which his contribution to the current vitality and evolution of the Rhodes Scholarships was warmly acknowledged.

Professor Markwell took the opportunity to meet with several academic and political leaders and others in Oxford and London, including former US President Bill Clinton and former British Prime Minister Liz Truss (one of his former Oxford students).

Further St Mark’s reunions interstate and overseas are being planned for the next 18 months, leading into the Centenary events of 2025 in Adelaide – at which all members of the St Mark’s community will be warmly welcome!

Here are some photos from the College reunions; from top to bottom, Hong Kong, Singapore and London.

Release of Catharine Lumby Report: “a gold standard approach”

The College has this week received a Report from Professor Catharine Lumby on what we do and what we can do better to prevent and respond to sexual misconduct, and the College Board has announced its commitment to implementing all of the Report’s recommendations.

As reported in May 2022, St Mark’s commissioned Professor Lumby, from the University of Sydney, to undertake an independent expert review of what we do to prevent sexual harassment and sexual assault from taking place within our College community, and how we respond when misconduct does occur.

Professor Lumby is one of the leading experts in this field, and has worked with Australian organisations including the National Rugby League, Google, Channel Ten, David Jones, Endemol Shine, and the Australian Defence Force.

Over the past five months Professor Lumby has undertaken extensive qualitative and quantitative research at St Mark’s, including focus group meetings with students, participation in a Student Leadership Retreat, administration of a comprehensive survey of students, multiple discussions with the Head of College, Professor Don Markwell, and consultations with senior staff. Professor Lumby has also reviewed relevant policies and other written materials. The Report received this week is the summary of the findings from that process.

The Report gives a very positive assessment of the College’s approach. Professor Lumby writes in the Executive Summary that

In terms of best practice, the College takes a gold standard approach to policy, practice, education, evaluation and to ensuring complaints are dealt with in a sensitive manner which respects due process. The commissioning of this Review further demonstrates the commitment of the College to ongoing evaluation and transparency.

Alongside this strong endorsement of the College’s approach, Professor Lumby provides a series of Recommendations which suggest changes that we can make to strengthen our practices further.

These Recommendations include ensuring that our policies are as straightforward and user-friendly as possible and continue to be reviewed on an annual basis; reviewing training and support provided to College staff; considering how best to communicate consequences of misconduct to the student community; and continuing to develop our training program for students in light of findings from the survey data.

The Chair of the Board, Ms Linda Mathews, warmly welcomed the Report and its Recommendations. She said that

Our foremost priority is the safety and wellbeing of our students, and Professor Lumby’s Report makes clear that our current approach is one which is proactive and informed. However we recognise that there is more that we can do, and we look forward to implementing in full the various Recommendations made in the Report.

The Report can be read in full at this link.

The most recent update on the College’s work on cultural renewal and upholding our values can be found here.

The College thanks all students who participated in the review by Professor Lumby.