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. 

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