Training begins for 2021 student leaders

Today marked the start of our 2021 leadership training program, with a two-day program for students applying for leadership positions for next year. Once selected, student leaders will engage in future intensive training programs before commencing their roles next year.

Beginning with a session by the MATE Bystander program, this two-day intensive includes sessions on values-driven leadership, promoting positive mental health in yourself and peers, leading cultural change, alcohol and drug awareness, event planning and risk management, and leadership in action.

One of the great advantages of living at St Mark’s is the leadership training and experience our students gain. Accountable student leaders, working in partnership with College staff, play a crucial role in establishing a healthy, respectful, inclusive and welcoming culture.

Student leadership positions provide students with unique challenges and opportunities to develop their skills in communication, resilience, risk management, event planning and pastoral care while gaining confidence to act proactively as leaders among their peers.

The residential team of student leaders, working with the Dean and led by the Assistant Deans, incorporates the Residential Advisors, Indigenous Student Advisor, building wardens and Duty Tutors. This team provides day-to-day wellbeing support to their peers. They are a student’s first point of contact for a wide range of wellbeing issues and ensure that support is available to students 24/7. These senior students are appointed by the College for their maturity, compassion and reliability.

The academic team, working with the Director of Learning and led by the Senior Academic Tutor, incorporates the Academic Coordinators and 60+ academic tutors, and works to provide a stimulating and exciting academic and professional development program. Their aim is to ensure each student gets access to support that will help them achieve their best possible academic results, while also having opportunities to expand their minds, develop professional skills and networks, and embrace a love of life-long learning. Members of this team are appointed for both their academic prowess and their commitment to supporting the learning of others.

Elected student representatives serve their peers as members of the College Club Committee and the student Charitable Foundation. Working in partnership with the residential and academic teams and staff, these students work to promote a culture of respect and inclusion that aligns with the core values to the College. As part of this, they are responsible for coordinating a wide range of sporting, cultural, wellbeing, social, environmental, and charitable activities that promote a spirit of friendship, service and excellence among their peers.

Following a competitive selection process, Ashlee Nicholl and Kate Beltakis have been appointed as Assistant Deans for 2021. Elections for the College Club Committee for next year will take place on 13 October, and students will be appointed by the College to other positions, such as Residential Advisors and Academic Coordinators, subsequently.

A College to be proud of – outstanding academic results, and leading in the High Table Cup

Hot on the heels of superb academic results in first semester, St Mark’s has again taken the lead in the inter-collegiate High Table Cup competition – with a convincing win yesterday in men’s football, and a strong second in women’s football.

The year began with St Mark’s winning the inter-college tennis and then swimming. After the resumption of inter-college competitions following the easing of pandemic restrictions, St Mark’s has come third in women’s netball and fourth in men’s netball, third in debating (live-streamed from Lincoln College), and now second in women’s football and first in men’s football.

St Mark’s now leads the High Table Cup, and looks ahead hopefully to a strong end to the year with the inter-collegiate athletics in October.

This strong performance in inter-college competitions has been combined with excellent academic results, a strong focus among students on community service, and the resumption of some social activities within the constraints of continuing pandemic precautions.

The academic results of our students for Semester 1 were outstanding. 22% of all grades received by St Mark’s students were High Distinctions, and 29% of all grades were Distinctions – making 51% of all grades at HD or D level, compared to 39% last year.

Our first-year students did particularly well, with 60% of all first-year grades being High Distinctions or Distinctions.

Individually there have been some standout performances, with nine students achieving four HDs in Semester 1, and 10 students securing three HDs.

Hearty congratulations to our students on these superb results!

It is an exceptional achievement, individually and collectively, and reflects hard work by our students in the testing circumstances of the pandemic – during which the College has strongly maintained academic support for students, online as well as face-to-face, including for those students who went home for some weeks or months.

Now halfway through Semester 2, with almost all students back in College, College life has clearly settled into a new normal, with our students as vibrant, active and engaged with their studies, sport, cultural and community pursuits as we would expect, adapted for the challenging times we’re currently living in.

Back in May we shared stories of how our students were finding ways to stay in touch online, with many of their peers heading home temporarily. Highlights at that time included live-streamed table tennis competitions, virtual quiz nights, participation in activities like the May 50K fundraising jogging challenge, planting succulents, baking competitions, and coffee club catch ups under the Learning Commons balcony.

Alongside this, our students stepped up their service to others, helping vulnerable members of our community with shopping, gardening and other activities, and achieved the truly outstanding academic results mentioned already.

Returning for Semester 2, our students have adapted to the changing dynamics of the pandemic by finding new ways to enjoy favourite activities and events.

Our much-enjoyed arts evenings are back, with our musicians performing to an audience that made use of the spacious Learning Commons to enjoy a socially-distanced show.

Highlights on the social scene have included – for example – a delightful “Christmas in July”, complete with Christmas tree and decorations, a visit by Father Christmas, and a traditional festive dinner (socially distanced). The annual Ball (minus dancing) was also a hit. After careful planning, the College Club Committee were delighted to host this highly popular event at Adelaide Oval, where they could balance good food and great company with COVID-safe service by the Oval staff, all with a classic Hollywood theme.

As classes resumed, we have welcomed the return of Formal Hall, which was put on hold in Semester 1. Some careful adjustments to service and seating arrangements have allowed this much-loved tradition to return safely.

Alongside these activities, service to others has remained at the heart of our College values and is being wholeheartedly embraced by our students. The student Charitable Foundation has been very active this year, both onsite and offsite – for example, with successful fundraising efforts in support of Rural Aid, Taboo and Drought Angels, running a quiz night as well as regular coffee club events (including on Open Days) in the newly completed student buttery in the Junior Common Room (pictured above). A fundraising car wash and coffee event also brought together the efforts of our football players and the Charitable Foundation.

Teaming up with Habitat for Humanity, our students have got their hands dirty helping with bushfire recovery efforts in the Adelaide Hills, including helping with tree planting and fence mending activities. Other student activities – including a “vegie patch” in College – have also promoted environmental sustainability.

Amongst other causes supported has been Wear It Purple Day (to support LGBTIQ+ young people), and just in the last week, over $2500 has been raised by students for the Black Dog Institute for mental health research.

Alongside all of this, and buoyed by superb results in Semester 1, students have settled back into their studies. After the abrupt transition by universities to online learning in first semester, the hybrid online and on-campus teaching this semester is a more comfortable norm. Our College academic program continues to expand, with over 60 tutors providing support to students studying 97 different degrees. The Dean (Professor Peter Tregear) and Director of Learning (Dr Rachel Buxton) have been undertaking Learning and Well-being Reviews with every student again this semester.

Faculty events have also resumed, with Faculty Evenings providing students the chance to hear from professionals from their fields. Meanwhile, the student book club has enjoyed lively discussion of their current read, Tony Birch’s The White Girl.

One of the major developments for St Mark’s in 2020, eagerly welcomed by students, has also been the expansion of the College carpark, made possible by the generosity of Ian Wall AM and Pamela Wall OAM. The expansion work, soon to be completed, adds an extra 60 car park spaces – a great asset for the College and especially our students.

In reflecting on the year so far, we are proud of the compassion, resilience and leadership so many of our students have shown in finding a safe and enjoyable ways to engage with their community.

Times of adversity have a way of highlighting what is most important, and in these challenging times connection, compassion, service to others, and the pursuit of excellence shine through. It is, as we all know, a strange year, but one in which our students have given us much reason to be proud.


Students enjoy a socially-distanced “Christmas In July” dinner

The Charitable and Environmental Groups assist Habitat for Humanity with bushfire recovery efforts in the Adelaide Hills, including fence repairs

Our students took part in tree planting in Morialta Conservation Park in the Adelaide Hills

Beach clean ups help keep our oceans healthy for future generations

Our men’s and women’s football teams gave outstanding performances

SAAUCC sports returned with a highly contested netball carnival


The Charitable Foundation runs regular fundraisers to raise money for charity

Open Days started a little drizzly, but ended up being a beautiful weekend

Even in mid-winter it was nice to relax in the sun


Car park renovations are providing much-valued extra spaces for students


The Environmental Group replanted the student vegie patch with some winter greens

The Aboriginal Flag flew over College to mark National Reconciliation Week.

Commerce scholarship created in memory of Michael Shearer AM

A new scholarship for Commerce students at St Mark’s has been created through a bequest by a former Chair of the College Council, Michael Shearer AM (1941-2019).

The Michael Shearer Scholarship will be for a St Mark’s student of Commerce who is of good academic standing, is in financial need, and makes a contribution to the College.  The Scholarship (which may be shared) will be awarded for 2021, and in each year in which there is a suitable recipient.

The Scholarship is a fitting memorial to Michael Shearer, a chartered accountant who gave outstanding service to St Mark’s over many years, and to many other institutions and organisations – for which we remain deeply grateful.

Michael Monteith Shearer was born in Adelaide on 14 January 1941. After studying at St Peter’s College, he came to St Mark’s in 1960 to study Engineering at the University of Adelaide. One of the highlights of his time at St Mark’s was meeting his future wife, Raels Harvey, who was studying at the SA School of Arts. In 1962, Michael was a member of the winning State Senior VIII Championship rowing crew, but he withdrew from his Engineering studies and the College later that year due to severe illness.

Michael instead went on to study with the Institute of Chartered Accountants and joined the firm of Peat Marwick Mitchell & Co in Adelaide, later working with other chartered accountancy firms, including Arthur Young & Co as a Partner. He became a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in 1973.

In 1985, Michael established the accountancy firm of Shearer & Ellis, and around the same time commenced some of his most significant community service through governance roles in education. From 1985 to 1994, he served on the Council of Walford Anglican Girls’ School, becoming chair of its Executive & Finance Committee, and Chairman of the Council from 1989; he was also actively involved with Walford’s Foundation.

In 1984, Michael became Bursar of St Mark’s College, in which role he served until becoming Chair of the College Council in 2000. The citation for Michael’s later election as an Honorary Fellow of the College said that “through the 1990s Michael’s guiding hand and financial prudence was an essential part of restoring and reshaping the College finances”.

The same citation said that consultation and inclusion were “the hallmarks of Michael’s methods” as Chair of the Council. His term as Chair – from 2000 to 2007 – largely coincided with the Mastership of John Bannon. Throughout this period, Michael was heavily involved in the physical development of the College, including the North-West building redevelopment; the engagement of the alumni, fundraising, and representation of the College in the wider community; and review of the College Constitution and governance.

It was said of Michael after his retirement as Chair of Council that “every aspect of College life and activity during his years on Council, both as Bursar and Chairman, has been positively affected by his energy and enthusiasm, and the wisdom of his advice. He has also been a generous financial benefactor.” Michael was recognised both as an Honorary Fellow of St Mark’s College, and as a Benefactor of the St Mark’s College Foundation.

In 2008, the year in which he became an Honorary Fellow of the College, Michael was appointed a Member of the Order of Australia (AM) “for service to the community through financial management and governance advisory roles of educational institutions in Adelaide”.

Michael’s many other roles in community service and leadership at various times included Chair of the David Roche Foundation, leading the establishment of the gallery in North Adelaide; President of the Wanslea Emergency Home for Children; Treasurer or Honorary Auditor of various bodies, including the Rotary Club of Unley, the National Parks Foundation, Medic Alert, and the St Peter’s College Mission; and Chairman of the Committee of the Adelaide Club.

Michael passed away on 8 August 2019, and is survived by Raels, five children, and 12 grandchildren. His son Adam had served as Dean of St Mark’s from 1997 to 2002.

The College’s tribute to Michael on his passing said that “he was deeply passionate and committed to the importance and significance of collegiate life and the impact of the college community on the development of future young leaders”.

A later tribute in The Advertiser said that “his daily routine when leaving for the office was to announce to Raels: ‘Carpe Diem! I must get out there and make a difference.’”

The Michael Shearer Scholarship at St Mark’s College will certainly make a difference in the lives of future young leaders at St Mark’s for generations to come. We are deeply grateful for this, and for the difference Michael himself made at St Mark’s over so many years.

Photo: Mr Michael Shearer AM

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.”

Amanda Crawley appointed as Director of Advancement

Ms Amanda Crawley, who is currently Director of Advancement at Munich International School in Germany, has been appointed as Director of Advancement at St Mark’s, with effect from 1 October.

The Director of Advancement is responsible for engagement with Old Collegians and friends of the College, fundraising (including through supporting the St Mark’s College Foundation), and communications, such as the website and e-newsletters.

Amanda Crawley has been Director of Advancement at Munich International School since August 2016, and for nearly three years before that was Director of Admissions and Communications there.

Amanda was an undergraduate at the University of Melbourne, where she was a resident student at Trinity College. She completed a BA in 1990, and a DipEd in 1991 – and later an MBA at the Melbourne Business School (2001).

After teaching at Methodist Ladies College, Melbourne, Amanda served from 1995 to 1999 as Director of Admissions for Trinity College Foundation Studies, the highly-regarded university preparation program for international students wishing to enter the University of Melbourne.

After completing her MBA, Amanda re-joined the full-time Trinity College staff in 2001, first as Deputy Bursar and Deputy Director of Trinity College Foundation Studies (Strategic Development) (2001-04), and then as Director of Human Resources (2004-07).  In 2006, she served for six months as Acting Deputy Warden of Trinity College.

Following her work as a Red Cross volunteer, Amanda worked in the National Office of Australian Red Cross from 2007 to 2012, first as Project Manager for a major organisational review and then as a National Manager in the Strategy, Planning & Research team, before moving to Germany and, after studying German in Bonn, taking up her position at Munich International School.

Amanda, who will come into residence in the College when she starts as Director of Advancement, said: “I am really looking forward to joining the St Mark’s community and getting to know students, Old Collegians and friends of the College. I am particularly excited to help prepare to mark the 40th anniversary of co-education at St Mark’s in 2022 and the College’s centenary in 2025, and to help build further support for scholarships, other support for students, and other projects.”

In announcing her appointment, the Head of College, Professor Don Markwell, said: “The College is delighted to attract to this important role such an outstanding person as Amanda Crawley, with her wide-ranging skills and experience, and whose strong values align so well with those of the College.”

“The whole St Mark’s community will benefit from her professionalism, her enthusiasm to engage with all members and supporters of the College, and her passionate commitment to helping to provide the best opportunities we can for current and future students of the College”, he said.

 

Congratulations to Professor Peter Tregear OAM, inaugural Director of Little Hall, University of Melbourne

Many congratulations to the Dean, Professor Peter Tregear, both on his recent award of a Medal of the Order of Australia, and now on his appointment – announced today – as the founding Director of Little Hall, a new hall of residence at the University of Melbourne, with effect from December this year.

The University of Melbourne has today announced Professor Tregear’s appointment to Little Hall, which has been founded with a $30 million donation from the Hansen Little Foundation, and will be home to many of the University of Melbourne’s Hansen Scholars and other students.

Professor Tregear advised St Mark’s that he was a candidate for the post in Melbourne before he was appointed as Dean of the College for 2020 in January.

He will continue to serve as Dean of St Mark’s until the end of the academic year.

St Mark’s is immediately commencing a competitive search process for the next Dean. Details are available here.

In warmly congratulating Professor Tregear on his appointment to Little Hall, the Head of College, Professor Don Markwell, thanked him for his outstanding contribution to St Mark’s so far this year.

“We are immensely grateful that Peter Tregear agreed to come to St Mark’s as Dean for 2020, and that he will serve through to the end of second semester”, Professor Markwell said.

“Both before and during the pandemic, Peter has worked tirelessly to promote student wellbeing and uphold the values of the College.

“We have been very fortunate to have benefited greatly from his exceptional experience of collegiate education and his clarity of vision of how a residential academic community such as St Mark’s can enhance the all-round educational experience of students.

“It is little wonder that the University of Melbourne has chosen him to lead the creation of a new student community there”, Professor Markwell said.

Professor Tregear said: “It has been a great pleasure to be able to get to know, and work alongside, such a high-calibre team of staff and students at St Mark’s. I shall miss them all and wish them every success into the future. I will continue to be an enthusiastic supporter of the College and its values.”

Professor Tregear’s appointment as inaugural Director of Little Hall comes just weeks after his being awarded a Medal of the Order of Australia in the Queen’s Birthday honours list in early June.

The award was “for service to music education, and to professional organisations”.

The official Order of Australia citation and details of Professor Tregear’s career published at the time of his award can be found here.

Peter Tregear is a graduate of the University of Melbourne in music and arts, and secured his PhD in Musicology at Cambridge in 1999.

As a Fellow of Fitzwilliam College, Cambridge, from 2000 to 2006, he was college lecturer and Director of Music at Fitzwilliam and Churchill Colleges.

Professor Tregear served as Dean of Trinity College, the University of Melbourne, from 2006 to 2008.

Subsequent roles have included Executive Director of the Academy of Performing Arts at Monash University, Professor and Head of the School of Music at the Australian National University, and Teaching Fellow and Director of Undergraduate Studies at Royal Holloway, University of London.

“Peter’s deep experience in colleges in Australia and the UK has helped him to enrich the student life of St Mark’s so far this year, and we greatly look forward to his continuing contribution as Dean in second semester”, Professor Markwell said.

Further details of the position of Dean are available here.

Remembering Honorary Fellow Richard Watson

The College community mourns the passing of our Honorary Fellow Richard Wyndham Watson (5 September 1936 – 14 June 2020).

Richard was a medical student at St Mark’s from 1956 to 1961, and later served the College in many capacities, including as a member of the College Council from 1976 to 1993, in which year he was elected an Honorary Fellow of the College.

Our deepest sympathy goes to Mrs Mary Watson and their sons, Mark and Guy, and their families.

There will be a private funeral for Richard on Thursday 25 June. It will be live-streamed, and details are here.

Richard Wyndham Watson was born in Yorketown, South Australia, in 1936, and was educated at St Peter’s College, where he was a House Prefect and took part in rowing, football, and the debating, science, and music societies.

Richard came to St Mark’s in 1956 as a resident student while studying medicine at the University of Adelaide. He rowed for the College from his first year on, and also rowed for the University of Adelaide, representing the University interstate at intervarsity rowing, and gaining a University Blue.  In 1961, he served on the Blues Committee of the University Sports Association, and the University Boat Club Committee.

Richard was also very active in other aspects of College life throughout his six years in residence at St Mark’s. His College Club roles over the years included Comptroller of Coca Cola, Curator of Telephones, Buttery Curator, and member of the College Club Committee in 1960 and 1961. He served as College Archivist in 1961.

At the end of that year, Richard graduated MB BS, and subsequently added FRCS (Edinburgh) (1968) and FRACS (1972) to his medical qualifications. His early medical work including lecturing in Anatomy at Guy’s Hospital, London, in 1964-66, and working mainly in plastic surgery in Bristol and Glasgow (1967-71).

Richard returned to Adelaide as Senior Visiting Specialist (Plastic Surgery) at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, from 1972, and helped set up and was head of the Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery Unit there from 1989. From 1972, he also lectured in surgery at the University of Adelaide.

In the 1950s, Richard had undertaken National Service in the Royal Australian Navy, and during the years spent in the UK from 1963 to 1972, he joined the British Army as a medical officer, was made a captain, trained as a paratrooper, and was subsequently appointed patron of the British Airborne Forces Association of South Australia, a position he held until his death. He also served from 1972 as a consultant plastic surgeon to the Australian Army and RAAF.

Richard’s other professional service from the 1970s to the 2010s included as a foundation member of the Australian Association of Hand Surgeons, Chair of the AMA Medico-Legal Committee, and member of the SA Heath Commission Task Force on Patients’ Rights. He served as ship’s surgeon twice on supply ships to the Antarctic, in 1982-83 and 1986-87, charged with recording the bird logs on both expeditions, and as ships surgeon on Pacific Island cruises from 2003.

Soon after his return to Australia from his medical work in the UK in the early 1970s, Richard resumed his active involvement with St Mark’s which continued until prevented in recent times by ill health. Richard served on the College Council from 1976 to 1993, including on the Executive and Finance Committee from 1979 to 1993, and on the Education Committee from 1986 to 1993.

Richard also served on the Committee of the Old Collegians’ Association from 1977 to 1981. He was active in fundraising for the College from the 1970s, including as a member of the Foundation Board from 1984 to 1989. Amongst many other gifts, Richard donated the equipment which enabled the College to set up a drafting room for engineering and architectural students, and an anatomical skull for use by medical students.

One of Richard’s most important contributions to St Mark’s was to the Library. In 1988, at his instigation moves were made to set up a Library Sub-Committee, of which he became the enthusiastic chair, and a professional librarian was appointed. Richard chaired the Library Sub-Committee until he went to Oxford in 1993 for graduate studies, and rejoined it in 2001, serving until 2009. He had a strong commitment to the modernisation of the Library, including the security and expansion of the collection and the preservation and display of the rare books.

Pirjo Rayner, the professional librarian whom Richard helped to appoint over 30 years ago and who continues to serve as our Librarian today, has written that we owe Richard “a great debt of gratitude” for his commitment to the Library, “his unwavering support and also for his very enjoyable company”.

This enthusiastic involvement with the St Mark’s College Library (and also with the library at the Adelaide Club) reflected Richard’s wider literary and scholarly interests. For some years he wrote book reviews in the weekly literary section of The Advertiser. His interest in history and classics led him in 1989 – in his 50s – to undertake the secondary schools’ matriculation course in Classical Studies, which he passed as equal top student in the State.

This led on to Richard’s decision to go back to the UK to study History at Christ Church, Oxford, which he did in 1993-95, graduating with an MPhil – and making life-long friends among students there, just as he had done in his six years at St Mark’s nearly four decades before. For several years following graduation from Oxford, he applied his historian’s skills by leading numerous groups on tours through Europe and Turkey and providing lectures on specific histories of the regions.

Before going to Oxford, Richard’s outstanding services to the College were recognised with his election as an Honorary Fellow of the College, and a dinner in his and Mary’s honour in the Senior Common Room.

Richard’s service to the College continued after his return from Oxford – including serving as Acting Master during Master Robin Ashwin’s leave of absence in April and May 1998, serving again on the Library Sub-Committee, and until recently on the Honorary Fellows Committee.

Richard and Mary have been great supporters of College events, and Richard continued as a generous donor to the College (including for building works and scholarships) and was recognised as a Benefactor of the College Foundation.

Richard is remembered in the St Mark’s community as a kind, gentle, warm-hearted, humble, amusing and engaging man, who was also confidently decisive in a collegial way: in the words of one who knew him well, “a true delight”.

We give thanks for the life of Richard Watson, and his outstanding service to St Mark’s College over so many years, and again send heartfelt condolences to Mary and their family.

Image: Richard and Mary Watson in Oxford, with Dr Laurence Claus, at Richard’s graduation from Oxford, 1995

Generous donors help students hit hard by pandemic job losses

Generous donors have so far donated over $42,000 to the Student Support Fund which the College has created to help students adversely affected by the pandemic.

Many students have lost casual jobs (such as in hospitality or retail) on which they depended to cover their College fees and other living expenses, and many families have been hit by parents losing their jobs or other income. It appears likely that many of these jobs will not return quickly, or in some cases at all.

Since the Student Support Fund was created, and funds allocated after careful assessment of applicants’ financial positions, many members of the College community have stepped forward to help out.

Donors include parents and grandparents of other students, alumni (including recent alumni), and friends and staff of the College. We are extremely grateful to them all, and invite you to join them in helping our students through donating to the Student Support Fund. There’s more information about the Fund here, and you can give  here.

Students already helped by the Fund have written heart-warming messages of thanks, and have committed to community service within or outside the College. For example, amongst other community service, some have been helping older or at-risk members of our local or alumni communities with tasks, such as shopping or gardening, which would be harder or impossible for them during the pandemic.

Amongst many other messages of thanks written by students – many quoted here  – are these examples of the difference that support from the Fund is making:

“Due to the coronavirus pandemic, my father has lost his job and my mother has had her hours cut back, hence my family also expresses their immense appreciation of your generosity to help us through these financially tough times.  This support fund also helped me with peace of mind to approach my studies to the best of my ability, without the financial stress.”

”I have been very fortunate that with the support of the grant, I have been able to stay at College despite losing my part-time job.”

“I’m writing to express my utmost gratitude and appreciation for financial support during this uncertain time. It’s an understatement to say that, without this invaluable support, I would not have been able to continue my studies at the level I have. For that, I am very thankful.”

“Due to recent global circumstances and as I do not currently hold a job, this truly makes the difference between finding another place to live and staying with college and my friends.  The grant is of great help to both me and my family in these trying times.”

One student wrote:

“To whom it may concern, 

I am writing this letter to express my gratitude for the contributions made to the student support fund here at St Mark’s College. Currently I am a third year student at St Mark’s and I very much appreciate the support provided by the college and its donors during these times.  

In my time here at the college over the past three years I have learnt many things and one of those things is the college community extends far beyond the four walls we live in. Coming to Adelaide from regional Victoria, I did not have a support network in Adelaide. Now in 2020, I have discovered the college community and its support network is stronger than ever. It is reassuring to know that the wider St Mark’s community is willing to come together to support each other. 

Recently as part of the college’s actions to combat COVID-19, I received some financial relief provided from the student support fund, which I can honestly say I would not know what to do without. Words cannot describe my appreciation of the support this college has provided to me and others over the years. 

People often speak about paying it forward and the impact even a small random act of kindness can have on someone’s life. In my experience it has definitely helped me through some tough times and I will be forever grateful. The college community is second to none, I hope that it grows and develops to support students like me in the years to come. 

Kind regards…”

Can you help?

You can support our students now through the Giving page.

There’s information about positive activities in College during the pandemic here , and other details of the College’s response to the pandemic on the News pages of this website.

THANK YOU for your generosity to our students in need!

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.

Creatively promoting community during the pandemic

Our students and staff have been working together in creative and energetic ways to promote community and connectedness – and to help others – during the pandemic.

It has, as we all know, been a strange and unsettling few months. Our normal ways of doing things, which ordinarily form part of our way of life and of belonging – eating together at formal hall, hanging out together on a corridor, walking to a lecture, giving a friend a hug – have been thrown out the window, and like the rest of the world we’ve had to adjust and adapt at speed.

But, in living with restrictions we would never have anticipated, and certainly would never have asked for, we have also seen new or different aspects of College life emerge and flourish, and it has been terrific to see how our students have chosen to respond. Over half our students have remained in College throughout, and many of those who went home are beginning to return – with almost all students expected to be back in residence by the start of next semester (with 14-day isolation arrangements as needed for inter-state students).

Our students have generally adapted well to online study, and the College’s tutorial program and other academic support have continued strongly, both for students in College and those at home. All students have recently had individual Learning and Wellbeing Reviews with the Director of Learning, Dr Rachel Buxton, and the Dean, Professor Peter Tregear.

Many students have also stepped forward to take the lead in a host of different areas which have enabled students both in residence and at home to stay socially connected to each other while upholding the necessary demands of social distancing  – be it running online “Kahoot!” quiz nights, College Bingo (with squares marked off for completing activities such as playing an online game with a friend, making an origami figure, posting a photo of your study space, and so on), or zoom or snapchat catch-up sessions.

This month some of our student leaders have also organized an “Alliances” game in which students form teams comprising those both in College and those out of residence which then competed in a range of mini challenges and activities for which they earned points for their Alliance. Our Sports reps have also set up a St Mark’s team to participate in the “May 50K” to raise money for Multiple Sclerosis – we now have over 30 team members, and have raised more than $3,000 to date.

Our communal veggie garden is thriving, a mural is being created overlooking the tennis courts, and many of our students have been discovering a real pleasure in volunteering to help some of the more vulnerable members of our local and alumni communities with tasks, such as shopping and gardening, that they may otherwise struggle with during the pandemic.

Other COVID-safe activities have included table tennis matches in the JCR live-streamed to fellow students watching via Facebook, and small groups undertaking activities from yoga and pilates to painting and sculpture. Over half the students in residence took part in (socially distanced) vigils around the College at 6am on Anzac Day to “light up the dawn” and to remember those, including 20 Old Collegians killed in World War II, who have died in war.

Amongst much else to promote student wellbeing, we were also very fortunate to welcome to St Mark’s at the end of last term clinical psychologist Diana Gibbs Ludbrook who ran a superb session for students around strategies to manage anxieties and develop resilience in relation to COVID-19.

A key theme in much of this has been gratitude: recognising the positive in our lives even if things might be difficult. The Equity Officers are currently running “Warm and Fuzzies” in which students write anonymous messages of thanks and encouragement to each other, and “Love Week” in which those participating undertake to show love to a fellow student who has been allocated to them, for example by buying or make small gifts, writing notes, and generally performing kind gestures.

Focusing on all they are grateful for in College life, many students have written letters of thanks for the scholarships they were awarded at the start of the year, and for the support they have received from the COVID-19 Pandemic Student  Support Fund to help those who have lost much-needed income because of the pandemic. Many have said that they are determined, when they can, to do all they can to pass on this support to future students.

Another important and happy recent development has been the creation of a new section of our website: “Thrive at Mark’s”. This is a one-stop shop for students both in and out of residence, covering

  • study skills (including tips for online study and time management);
  • wellbeing (including links to useful resources and recommendations for apps and podcasts); and
  • careers support.

“Thrive at Mark’s” builds on the new St Mark’s College Graduate Careers Directory, and helpful tips for students posted by the Director of Learning on the internal student Facebook page.

With end-of-semester exams and other assessments fast approaching, and a healthy focus in College on preparation for these, we’ll be adding to “Thrive at Mark’s” over the coming weeks with a section on revision and exam strategies.

So, while many aspects of College life have had to adapt and change this semester, a wonderful energy and positivity has nevertheless been evident, and we have every expectation that this creative approach will continue into the future, whatever that may hold for us and for our wider community.

The Dean, Professor Peter Tregear, and Director of Learning, Dr Rachel Buxton, spoke with all students (both in residence and at home) for Learning and Wellbeing Reviews

Students prepare to mark Anzac Day

Pot plants and gardening help students de-stress

Live streamed table tennis championships bring entertainment to all

Over 30 students signed up for the May 50K challenge to raise money for MS Research Australia

Technology helps students keep in touch

Students volunteer to help members of our wider community – with gardening, shopping, and more – during the pandemic

Good food and experimental cooking from students brings a smile to everyone’s face

Baking is an excellent pastime for any student

Competitive baking bring excellent results

Academic tutorials continue online and face-to-face, providing academic support for students

Thinking about their futures, students were able to attend a University of Adelaide webinar on postgraduate scholarship opportunities