Dr Gordon Young (EdD 1998) is proud to have been involved in the educational field for most of his life and he has seen first-hand how funding and support can enhance a student's life. He has committed the first-ever bequest to Monash University's Faculty of Education.
Dr Young has had a varied career. He has been a teacher from beginners to doctorate level "only missing out on teaching Year 12"; an educational administrator for 22 years; a school counsellor; and a business management consultant to schools and universities. His most recent role is as Chairman of the Australian Scholarships Group (ASG) – an independent, not-for- profit friendly society that helps parents plan for their children's future educational expenses.
Studying his first degree in Canada and completing summer school at Harvard University was Dr Young's first glimpse into what could be achieved with funding support from alumni and the greater community.
"The latest I heard Harvard is up to $34 billion just in endowment funds from graduates and the general public! Little wonder that they're acclaimed worldwide for their standard of education," he said.
Dr Young's decision to make a bequest to the Faculty of Education stemmed from social reciprocity values instilled in him from an early age. He feels privileged that his parents gave him a comprehensive education. Receiving a full-time scholarship during his Doctor of Education studies at Monash further cemented that he "should try in some small way to repay that".
"I believe that without alumni support a university's faculties cannot build beyond the limitations of their annual budget," he said.
It is Dr Young's hope that the endowment fund ("to build up a heritage for the future") created by his bequest will allow the faculty to fund its most critical needs.
"I don't believe in tying things down," he said.
He would be happy to see student support initiatives such as full-time PhD scholarships – similar to what he received – to alleviate the pressure of working at the same time as intense thesis writing. He also hopes that his gift may be used to attract lecturers to the University who have strong academic skills and teaching experience to build on the considerable reputation of Monash and its educational offerings.
"I truly felt part of a 'learning community' during my time studying at Monash," he said. "Teachers who have graduated from Monash may not stop to think about the considerable benefits from studying here. The Faculty has always been at the forefront in the education world, and every little bit of money counts to continue this legacy."
Dr Young encourages others to give to the University in the form of a bequest.
"I well understand that most teachers don't build up sufficient fortune to give money in their lifetime," he said. "However, they could consider setting aside a percentage in their Will so that successive generations can also benefit from a high-calibre Monash education."