A man and his wife donate $50 million

Graham Tuckwell, a global commodities trader and billionaire, has made the largest ever donation to an Australian university. Amidst an atmosphere of funding cuts and teachers’ strikes, Mr Tuckwell and his wife have donated $50 million to the Australian National University (ANU) to set up an Australian version of the Rhodes Scholarship.

Every year 25 ‘Tuckwell Scholars’ will be chosen from across Australia to study at ANU. They will be given a scholarship valued at $100,000, and will partake in a program designed to encourage good citizenship as well as academic excellence. Mr Tuckwell will personally take part in the selection process, and intends to mentor the students throughout the year.

Graham Tuckwell had an ordinary upbringing in suburban O’Connor, ACT. He attributes his success to his education, especially his time at ANU. His own children will receive some money, but he says that it is their education which will be the focus, as he expects them to work hard to build their own success.

He says of the decision, “I suppose I could have bought a yacht, and then sat on it… Or I could have spent it on fancy holidays, and alienated myself from my friends, or bought half a dozen houses, but then how could I sit in church every Sunday?”

You can read more in the article Billionaire gives back with $50m uni donation at the Canberra Times website

Opinion – Education trumps charity

Have you heard the one about the billionaire, the comedian and the orang-utan? No? Then let me tell you a true story…

Donald Trump is in the process of suing a comedian for $5 million. The comedian had joked that if Donald Trump could prove his father wasn’t an orang-utan, the comedian would pay him $5 million. Instead of ignoring the (not especially funny) joke, Mr Trump sent the comedian his birth certificate as proof, and proceeded to sue him for the money when the comedian didn’t pay up. Trump has indicated that the money will go to a charity of his, Trump’s, choice.

What a self-indulgent waste of time. The only reason Trump hasn’t received more of a media caning is his comment that he will donate the money to charity. Surely a man like him could be doing so much more than harassing comedians and giving money away without bothering to step up himself and shape how, and where, it is spent?

Graham Tuckwell, on the other hand, has (in my opinion) donated to one of the most important causes of all: his country’s future. And he hasn’t just thrown money at ANU and washed his hands of the donation. He is taking an interest and personally getting involved to make sure that the students receiving those scholarships get as much out of the experience as possible.

I can’t comment on what Mr Tuckwell is like as a husband, a father or a friend, but as a public figure all I have to say is – “what a guy”.

Do you think that Graham Tuckwell should have donated his money to a better cause? Is it being wasted on a select few, or do you agree with Rachel that education is of the highest importance?