2024 starts with “a spring in our step” – and a big win in the swimming!

The 2024 College year is off to an exciting start, with much positive energy in the College – reinforced by a convincing win in last night’s inter-college swimming carnival, with three records for St Mark’s swimmers.

We entered 2024 with a spring in our step, following:

    • strong enrolments for 2024 – one of the largest enrolments in our history (currently 248 students),
    • excellent academic results in 2023,
    • one of our fourth-year students, Oliver Douglas, being chosen as Rhodes Scholar for South Australia,
    • the purchase of the Cathedral Deanery, providing a home in College for seven St Mark’s students, thanks to a most generous donation to the College, and
    • our exceptional staff team being joined by our new Chaplain, the Rev’d Canon Steve Daughtry.

The summer saw detailed planning for the new academic year, including preparation of a new College Handbook which gives an overview of how the College works today (available here ), a calendar of events for the year, and a lively but balanced program for Welcome Week.

After extensive training of our excellent team of student leaders for 2024, we welcomed new students and returners in mid-February. Many parents and friends joined us for the Admission Ceremony in which our new students of 2024 signed the same Roll of Members as new students have signed since 1925.

Welcome Week included important training for new and returning students, many opportunities for new students to become familiar with the College, their university, and the local area, and lots of fun activities and events.

The week ended with the Commencement Service in the Cathedral, attended by many family members and friends of the College, and the Commencement Dinner held in beautiful weather on the College tennis courts. The tennis courts were in use again the following day for a relaxed afternoon of Old Collegians tennis.

The Commencement Service focussed on the start of the academic year as a “new beginning” for us all, and continued the strong focus on upholding good values – including those in the student-written Living Document of Values which, for the second year in a row, our students have pledged to uphold. For the Commencement Address by the Head of College, Professor Don Markwell AM, in the service, click here, and for the sermon by the Chaplain, the Rev’d Canon Steve Daughtry, click here.

The start of the new College year has seen our student leaders organise many superb events and activities – such as Charitable Foundation charity volunteering and coffee mornings, “salty sips” when some dozens of our students brave a 6am start to yoga and swimming at Henley Beach or Glenelg, a heart-warming celebration of International Women’s Day, and a lively panel of experts discussing key issues in women’s health. The energy and vision of our student leaders is inspiring.

The academic, wellbeing, and practical support offered to St Mark’s students by staff and student leaders alike is greatly appreciated. Amongst much else, academic skills training sessions for new students on such topics as academic referencing and writing have been held, the tutorial program is underway and growing, and Study Hall – students studying together in the Dining Hall with tutors on Tuesday evenings – has resumed.

Having missed retaining the High Table Cup by just one point last year, we are keen to do our best to reclaim it in 2024. Our tennis players played with passion and determination in the inter-college contest on 3 March, and – with only narrow margins between the top four teams – were unlucky to come in fourth. The inaugural winners of the new inter-college tennis trophy – the Andrew and Albertina Douglas Tennis Trophy, donated by recent St Mark’s Old Collegians Oliver and Patrick Douglas – are St Ann’s, whom we congratulate on their win.

Congratulations also to the St Mark’s swimmers who won last night’s exciting inter-college swimming carnival with scores:

St Mark’s              85
Aquinas                67
St Ann’s                51
Lincoln                  43
Flinders                28

Our women’s sports officer, Eloise Wills, broke the records in the women’s 50 metres backstroke and women’s 50 metres freestyle, and our team set a new record in the mixed medley relay.

A brilliant achievement by our swimmers!

Meanwhile, several dozens of our students whose ability to be at St Mark’s depends on scholarships have written very moving letters of thanks for the support that generous donors have given them. Extracts from some of these letters of gratitude will be published here in coming weeks, as will news of the creation of a further scholarship endowment through a generous donation, and news of further activities at the College.

Top photo: “Salty sips” at Henley Breach

Middle photo: Senior staff and College Club Committee members on the day of the Commencement Service and Dinner.

Photographs by Estelle Wollin and others.