Mr Stuart Meldrum appointed Dean of St Mark’s College

We are delighted to announce that Mr Stuart Meldrum, a psychologist and student support advisor at the University of Newcastle, has been appointed Dean of St Mark’s College with effect from late October 2020.

Stuart will succeed Professor Peter Tregear OAM, who has been appointed the inaugural Director of Little Hall, a new hall of residence at the University of Melbourne.

The position of Dean is a vital one, with responsibility for leading the day-to-day residential life of the College, engaging with students and student leaders, promoting student well-being, and upholding the values of the College.

Stuart and his wife Sarah (who also works in student services at the University of Newcastle) and their six-month-old son, Harry, will live in Walkley Cottage at St Mark’s.

A registered psychologist, Stuart graduated from the University of Newcastle with a Bachelor of Psychology (Honours) in 2005, and obtained his Diploma of Psychological Practice in 2009.

After work with the ORS Group in Brisbane and the NSW Central Coast, he joined the University of Newcastle as a disability advisor in 2010, moving to disability services work at the University of Sydney in 2014, before returning to the University of Newcastle as a student support advisor at their Ourimbah campus.

Stuart has worked as a health and wellbeing coordinator for University of Newcastle student residences, and has had extensive experience as a student counsellor.

Trained and accredited by the Full Stop Foundation as a trainer for “Sex, Safety and Respect”, Stuart is part of a small team awarded the 2019 VC Excellence Award for Health, Safety and Wellbeing at the University of Newcastle. He has also undertaken the L H Martin Institute’s “Emerging Leaders and Managers Program” for higher and vocational education.

Stuart’s community involvement has included five years as President of the Central Coast Christian Football Association in NSW.

Stuart was chosen as Dean after a rigorous and highly competitive selection process which attracted over 80 candidates from around Australia and overseas, many with impressive backgrounds in various aspects of higher education, schools, or related fields.

The selection process involved conversations with student leaders as well as with current staff, and interview by a panel comprising the Chair of the College Board (Ms Linda Matthews), the Head of College (Professor Don Markwell), the Director of Learning (Dr Rachel Buxton), the Deputy Principal of Flinders Living at Flinders University (Ms Andrea Rohde), and the Director-designate of Advancement (Ms Amanda Crawley).

Professor Markwell said that Stuart’s background as a psychologist, his decade of experience in university student support directly supporting the wellbeing of students, and his experience in student residences made him superbly well suited for the role of Dean.

“We very much look forward to welcoming Stuart, Sarah, and Harry to the College in October”, Professor Markwell said.

“Stuart brings with him many years of highly relevant experience working with university students. He also possesses strong values closely aligned to those of the College, and a warmth and approachability which will enable him to establish himself quickly within the College community.”

Stuart said: “Sarah and I are excited to join the St Mark’s community. We look forward eagerly to getting to know all the students of the College, and to supporting them over the years to come.”

Students say heartfelt “thank you” for life-changing scholarships

Over 80 students who have received scholarships to study at St Mark’s this year have written letters of thanks for the life-changing opportunities the scholarships have given them.

At the start of the academic year, scholarships were awarded to students on the basis (varying by scholarship) of academic merit, financial need, contribution to the College or wider community, or other criteria (such as field of study or where the student is from). Details of the College’s scholarships can be found here.

Almost all the scholarships are made possible through generous donations from alumni and friends of the College who, having experienced or seen the positive impact the College can have for students, have given generously to provide this opportunity to current and future students.

Many of the students receiving scholarships have said that they are determined to do the same, when they are able.

Students have written of how the scholarships they have received have enabled them to come to or remain in College and University when this otherwise might not have been possible, or at very least eased the financial stress on themselves and their families (in many cases worsened recently by the pandemic).

Students have also written enthusiastically of the great benefits to them from being part of the College community – including in easing the transition to university and to Adelaide, in academic, well-being, and social support from staff and fellow students in the College “home away from home”, and in friendships that are likely to last a life-time.

The Head of College, Professor Markwell, said that he joined with the students in saying a heartfelt “thank you” to donors for the scholarships provided. The details of financial need, as well as academic and other achievement, provided by students in the scholarship application process in January showed “immense financial need”, only part of which the College could currently meet.

Professor Markwell said that he hoped that, over time, the College could raise funds to enable substantially greater scholarship support to help students of potential from diverse backgrounds afford the great benefits of living and learning at St Mark’s. Scholarships (and the COVID-19 Student Support Fund)  will be the central focus of the College’s Annual Giving Campaign, and the College warmly invites donations for scholarships as well as other purposes.

“Your donation can help to change the lives of students”, he said.

These are just a few of the many expressions of gratitude the College and donors have received:

“Your generosity has allowed me to continue to get the best academic support, be accompanied by some of the most amazing people and have some of the greatest experiences.  I honestly can’t thank you enough.”

“I am so grateful for the range of academic opportunities and lifelong friendships that I have made while being a resident at St Mark’s.  I know these would not be possible if it wasn’t for the scholarship you have provided.”

“By giving this scholarship, you have not only lightened the financial burden, but given me extra motivation to contribute and give back to the exceptional community that is St Mark’s.  I hope one day I will be able to support future collegians as you have done.”

“If it was not for generosity like your own, students like me would not be able to travel from rural areas and attend university.”

“The academic and pastoral support that St Mark’s provides far surpasses any support I would otherwise receive. Without your generosity, my family would have found it much harder to provide me with an opportunity to receive a higher education, and it certainly would not have been possible to stay at St Mark’s College and be a part of this wonderful community. Receiving this grant has helped me to be the first person in my family to attend university.”

“To say I love it here is an understatement and I know that, when I leave here, I will remember it as an immensely special time in my life.  I cannot imagine how I would be attending University without the support that St Mark’s has offered me since I graduated Year 12. However, my time here at College would not be possible without this scholarship.  Due to my father’s work being affected by a drought and other personal circumstances at home, our financial status was not where we expected it to be.  This scholarship took a major financial burden off my fees for which myself and my father are grateful.  If I were not residing at St Mark’s, I do not know where I would be living, and I cannot honestly say if I would be studying my degree here in Adelaide.  I know that my educational pursuits would not have been as achievable without the generosity of the Margaret and Harry Scott Scholarship.”

“St Mark’s College has fast become like a family for me, particularly in the last few months.  I am sure you will be glad to hear that we have come together as a community, sticking together as one big family.  Moving to Adelaide from a small country town was intimidating and stressful, but everyone at St Mark’s has made the experience pleasurable and memorable.  St Mark’s has become a safe haven where I am comfortable enough to be my very best self, whilst being supported by my fellow collegians.  I am so very thankful to call this place my home away from home.”

“This scholarship has enabled me to stay at the College and continue my studies in a safe and secure environment amid this unforeseen pandemic.  Without this grant, that may not have been possible. As I stated in my initial application, I wanted to spend more time on my studies and therefore improve my overall GPA.  I am pleased to confirm that my results have improved dramatically.”

“I am extremely grateful to be given a scholarship which allows me to live at St Mark’s for a further year and continue my growth and development as a student and leader. I will forever be grateful for this scholarship and the opportunities St Mark’s College has given me.”

“From the friends I’ve made, to the academic support and mentorship I receive from staff, St Mark’s has allowed me to exponentiate in all aspects of my life. Thank you so very much for giving me the ability to continue my university journey at my second home, surrounded by friends I will have for a lifetime.”

“This has meant so much to me as a rural female student experiencing financial hardship and wanting to complete a degree at the University of Adelaide. This scholarship has made the difference to me attending college and ultimately studying in Adelaide, as my family is unable to financially support me in my studies.”

“St Mark’s has greatly eased my transition into life away from home, both in terms of study and social life. … the college atmosphere and kindness I have been shown by both students and staff has made it almost impossible not to feel at home here.  In these very different times the College has, in my opinion, strongly succeeded in adjusting to these new normalities, whilst maintaining the high level of support I was expecting from such an institution. I hope that in future years I will be able to continue being a collegian of St Mark’s and hopefully contribute to the College community as much as it has helped me to improve.”

“Without this scholarship, I would not be able to afford St Mark’s and I would be missing out on so many opportunities to develop and improve.  I cannot express how thankful I am for being awarded this scholarship.”

“Having moved 700 kilometres away from home, I was worried that I may not settle into college, but I felt on my feet instantly, as all the students and staff welcomed myself and all the other new students to their home. … my parents unfortunately could have never afforded to send me to university or St Mark’s College.  I am unable to truly express to you how grateful I am, that you have awarded me this scholarship.  What may seem like a kind gesture to you has quite literally changed the prospects of my life.  I will forever be grateful and only hope that one day I will be able to pass on the kindness you have given to me, to another future student at St Mark’s.”

“St Mark’s College has fast become like a family for me, particularly in a time of crisis.  I am sure you will be glad to hear that we have come together as a community, uniting from different corners of the country.  St Mark’s has become a safe oasis where I am comfortable enough to be my very best self, whilst being supported by my fellow collegians.  I am so very thankful to call this place my home.”

“There aren’t any words to express how grateful I am.  It’s changed my life.”

If you would like to help change students’ lives, please give now to support scholarships at St Mark’s. Click here for further details.

Update on COVID-19 Pandemic

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the College has been taking many measures to help prevent the spread of the virus, and is grateful to everyone who has been doing everything possible to help with this.

The College’s top priority is the health and safety of our students, staff, and the wider community. Everyone is encouraged to do what is best for their health and safety.

The College continues to be fully operational, and students are welcome to stay in residence in the College, continuing their studies here. The College is ready to respond appropriately and urgently should there be a suspicion or diagnosis of a COVID-19 case in the College.

For resident students who have been significantly adversely affected financially because of the pandemic, we have invited applications for help from the Student Support Fund we have created. Applications to the Student Support Fund from students in residence should be received by 4pm on Thursday 26 March.

To help students continue their studies online, we are moving this week to a one gigabit connection, which will enable all students to watch lectures online at the same time without any lag. Academic tutorials and other support for resident students will also continue.

Should a student wish to suspend their residence at the College because of the pandemic, they are free to do so without financial cost to the student. That is: despite the terms of your contract, you will not pay fees during the period after today during which you are not in residence during the pandemic. What this means in practice regarding fee payments and, in some cases, refunds will vary depending on individual circumstances.

Any student suspending their residence at the College should advise the Head of College in writing in advance of leaving. Please email the Head of College copying the Registrar. Any student who has already left and has not yet advised the Head of College (copying the Registrar) should do so now.

Any students choosing to suspend their residence are asked to clear their room fully in case it is needed while they are away. If students have already left and left items in their room, it may be necessary for the College to pack these up at a later date. All care will be taken.

We look forward to welcoming all students back to the College at appropriate dates. Please be in contact with the Registrar regarding your return date.

We will prepare “Frequently Asked Questions” covering more details in the next day or two.

In coming days we also anticipate developing a non-residential package open to students who have elected to suspend their residence at College to enable access to the academic program and other support offered by the College.

Every member of the College – like every member of the wider community – is urged in the strongest terms to continue to apply the hygiene and “social distancing” requirements which are essential to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. If you have any guests (e.g. a family member), they too must abide by these requirements in College (as well as in the wider community). This is the urgent responsibility of ALL of us.

The current pandemic, massive though it is, will not last forever. We will get through this together, and life, including College life, will return to normal.

As always – stay safe, and stay kind.

St Mark’s College Library Sundowner Event

St Mark’s College Library Sundowner was held on Friday 6 September in the Ian & Pamela Wall Academic Centre. A wonderful evening was enjoyed by over 25 students, staff, Old Collegians and friends of the Library as they came together to listen to Anthony Zammit deliver an enlightening talk on rare book restoration.

Guests enjoyed sampling delicious wines by John Duval Wines and canapés by Sodexo whilst admiring the various rare book displays prepared by the College Librarian, Pirjo Rayner. Our interim Head of College, Darren Pitt, conducted the proceedings and Tim Duval (alumnus 2001-03) provided the commentary.

St Mark’s College Library Sundowner

Guest speaker, Anthony Zammit, a highly respected book and paper conservator and expert on rare book restoration, delivered an intriguing presentation titled The book conservator’s point of view”. He spoke about paper conservation and his search for improved restoration techniques as well as his professional involvement as a conservation advisor and educator. He encouraged us to think about practical preventative strategies which we can take for preserving our papers, books and photographs. And finally, he reminded us that worth and value is not only measured in monetary terms, but also in terms of our emotional connection to specific materials, such as family ‘treasures’. His great passion for his profession shone through.

St Mark’s College Library Sundowner

The library displays included the 10 rare books which had been wonderfully restored by Mr Anthony Zammit, due to the generosity of various donors who participated in our inaugural Adopt-a-Rare-Book Program (2017). Also, on display were another seven books chosen for future restoration (one was adopted on the night), as well as a selection of new books and recently donated materials.

St Mark’s College Library Sundowner

Do you have a love of rare books and are interested in participating in our Adopt-a-Rare-Book Program? If so, click HERE.
Are you interested in learning more about book restoration? Click HERE to watch a video about Anthony Zammit’s wonderful work, produced by St Mark’s College talented student, Yardley Smeaton.

St Mark’s College Library Sundowner
St Mark’s College Library Sundowner
St Mark’s College Library Sundowner
St Mark’s College Library Sundowner
St Mark’s College Library Sundowner
St Mark’s College Library Sundowner

St Mark’s College farewells Master Rose Alwyn

A lively night of tributes and well wishes to farewell the Master of St Mark’s College, Ms Rose Alwyn, was recently held in the Learning Commons on 22 August 2019

Over 180 Old Collegians and friends of St Mark’s came together to share their stories and memories of Rose as a Collegian, friend, Dean and Master of St Mark’s, and to celebrate her contributions and achievements within the College community over her years of service.

Rose has had a long association with the College, culminating in her appointment as the eighth Master of St Mark’s College in 2008, and as the first woman head of the College.  Prior to that she was the Dean of the College for five years.  Rose was a student at St Mark’s from 1984-1986 whilst studying a Bachelor of Arts degree at the University of Adelaide and was Secretary of the College Club in her final year.  

During her time as the Master, Rose has worked with and inspired hundreds of young people.  She has been fully committed to developing future leaders, both among the St Mark’s students in her care and the alumni that extend across Australia and abroad.

To ensure that financial support was not a barrier to attending College, Rose worked hard to increase the value and number of scholarships that are awarded annually through the generous philanthropic support of our College community.  She has also worked to significantly expand the academic support offered by the College to ensure that every student was given the best opportunity to achieve their personal best.

The College grounds and facilities have also continued to flourish under her leadership with the opening of the Learning Commons, East Wing and multi-level car park, and the College Green, along with key refurbishments and upgrades to most of the buildings around the College.

On behalf of the College Board, the Chair of St Mark’s College, Ms Linda Matthews spoke of how Rose “has been a passionate advocate for students and the reputation of the College”.   During her leadership Rose has demonstrated great “…tenacity, relentless and dedicated focus, and strength of purpose and will” as she continued to effect change to ensure we were responsive to the needs of each generation of students.

Linda presented Rose with a gift on behalf of the College community, an original painting by our Indigenous Scholar in Residence, Dr Jessa Rogers, who as an artist developed the painting using the key colours of St Mark’s.

Dr Ian Walker, representing University Colleges Australia, spoke of Rose’s role in supporting and promoting residential Colleges at a national level through her in involvement with University Colleges Australia, including her time as President from 2016-2018. He spoke of her “energy and leadership” and her “encouragement and support of all our Colleges and Halls … to be the best possible places of scholarship and safety, of community and care, of respect and renewal, of collegiality and (where needed) change. No-one has been nor is more committed to this task.”

Rose has formed constructive working relationships with the UCA Executive Committee, the Human Rights Commission, Universities Australia (UA), and the Australian Sex Discrimination Commissioner to change attitudes, perceptions and behaviours in and about residential colleges to ensure a safe, respectful and inclusive environment for all.

In providing a history of the College and its evolution over the years under the various Masters, Associate Professor Rob Cheesman AM (alumnus 1960-1964) spoke of the important role that Rose has played in furthering the College Master Plan and providing significant leadership to the College community. 

On behalf of the students who were at St Mark’s during Rose’s leadership, Ms Sarah Dowd (alumna 2012-2014) shared how Rose diligently challenged and broadened students’ thinking and supported and inspired them to greater success.   “Master was a driver for change and challenged us to begin to motivate change for the better. In doing this, she also inspired leaders that are morally responsible and deep thinkers”. 

Over the years Rose “spent countless hours getting to know the students, their families and friends who have stepped through the gates of St Mark’s” and Sarah stated that “many of us have Rose Alwyn to thank for where we find ourselves in our careers and lives.”  She was the person who believed in “every one of the students, even when we had stopped believing in ourselves” and it is this “genuine care and interest in each and every one of the students that sets her aside from the rest. Under your leadership,” Sarah said, “you allowed us to grow, to have fun, to make mistakes, to learn.”

On behalf of the Old Collegians’ Association, Alex Hadden (alumnus 2003-2007) thanked Rose for her support of and contribution to the College and the Old Collegian’s community over the years and presented her with a gift.

Guests were entertained during the evening with jazz music performed by current student Ryan Casey (2017-current) and brother Andrew Casey (alum 2015-2017).

We thank Rose for her tireless leadership of the College and wish her well in all her future endeavours.

Thank you to all who attended the event. 

St Mark’s is a leading university residential College for students of the universities of Adelaide.  For further information click here