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

Honouring the fallen and the vision of our founders

Last weekend, in marking Anzac Day and Founders’ Day, our College community paid tribute to those who helped make us who we are today.

Honouring the fallen this Anzac Day, well over 50 students (over half those in residence during the pandemic) woke up early to “light up the dawn” in small groups at different vigil locations around College.

During the day, small groups (also observing social distancing requirements) took walking tours to show their respect at various war memorials around Adelaide city.

Our students also marked around the College pond the names of the 20 Collegians who died in World War II – whose names are forever recorded in a plaque in our War Memorial Building. Students have undertaken research on their lives, which has been posted on the internal student Facebook page.

As in many past years, the RAAF flag flew in the College for Anzac Day, acknowledging our historical connection to the Royal Australian Air Force. During World War II, from late 1940 on, the College was occupied by the RAAF and then the Women’s Auxiliary Australian Air Force.

Anzac Day is also St Mark’s Day. Our founders – many of whom had served in World War I, and all of whom were affected by it – named the College “St Mark’s” after the Saint on whose day the Anzac landings at Gallipoli had taken place in 1915.

Each year the College marks Founders’ Day on the Sunday closest to Anzac Day. The College’s annual observances honour the sacrifices of those who served and died in war and also the sacrifices of those who worked and gave to create and to sustain the College since 1925.

While unable to hold our normal Founders’ Day service and other planned activities under pandemic conditions, we honoured our founders, including these key individuals memorialised in portraits around the College: Sir Archibald Grenfell Price, Sir Henry Newland DSO, Canon Julian Bickersteth MC, Charles Hawker MP, and Dudley Turner.

We are grateful for their labours and generosity, which have created the College from which so many students have benefited and benefit today, and we commit to hand on this inheritance even better for future generations of students, for whom the College will continue to offer life-changing opportunities, as the founders intended.

Image: Nyah Bester, Miah Sherry and Rosie Costigan-Dwyer display student-made poppies in preparation for Anzac Day

Image: Sarah Whyte, Ashlee Nichol and Rosie Costigan-Dwyer display student-made poppies in preparation for Anzac Day

Image: St Mark’s students “light up the dawn” on Pennington Terrace

Image: Student-made Anzac Day tributes displayed in front of College

Image: The RAAF Flag flies at half-mast on the morning of Anzac Day

Image: Students prepared a tribute to fallen Collegians in chalk

Image: The names of fallen Collegians, remembered in chalk

Image: The memorial plaque in Memorial Building. Sir Archibald Grenfell Price wrote that to these names should be added Dr William Delano Walker and Flying Officer Alexander Charles Douglas, who were killed with the Forces before hostilities commenced.

Image: Sir Archibald Grenfell Price, first Master of St Mark’s College

Image: Sir Henry Newland DSO

Image: Canon Julian Bickersteth MC

Image: Charles A. S. Hawker MP

Image: Dudley C. Turner

Can we help you?

Current students in residence in the College have volunteered to help elderly, vulnerable or needy Old Collegians and friends of the College, and our neighbours in North Adelaide, with tasks that may otherwise be difficult for them during the pandemic – for example, with shopping, or household or garden jobs, or family responsibilities.

Already several students have spent many hours helping out in these ways.

If you live in Adelaide and would like help from College students at this difficult time, please let us know by emailing or phoning us on 08 8334 5600.

We’re all in this together!

Among the students offering help are, from left, Sophie Ludbrook (Charitable Foundation President), Ryan Williams (Library Assistant), Ashlee Nichol (Senior Academic Tutor), and Ben Jenner (Charitable Foundation Treasurer).

Marking Anzac Day and Founders’ Day 2020

A cross of poppies made in College and research on the lives of St Mark’s Collegians killed in World War II are among the ways that College students will mark Anzac Day and Founders’ Day this weekend.

The founders of the College nearly a century ago had all in some way been affected, in many cases very deeply, by World War I, which had just ended. They named the College “St Mark’s” after the Saint on whose day the Anzac landings at Gallipoli had taken place in 1915.

Each year the College marks Founders’ Day on the Sunday closest to Anzac Day. The College’s annual observances honour the sacrifices of those who served and died in war – including 20 members of the College killed in World War II – and also the sacrifices of those who worked and gave to create and to sustain the College since 1925.

This year, the COVID-19 pandemic prevents the usual gatherings, but resident students have initiated a number of activities to remember and to honour the fallen.

Throughout this week, a student who has been researching Collegians killed in World War II is posting accounts of their lives on the internal student Facebook page.

These names are recorded in the memorial plaque in the War Memorial Building, opened in 1950 following a post-war fund-raising appeal. (Photograph above.)

The names of the Collegians killed in World War II will be also written in chalk on stone pavings near the pond to honour them on Anzac Day.

Also throughout this week, students are making paper poppies which together will form a cross to be placed in front of Downer House on Anzac Day.

Within social distancing requirements and recommendations from the RSL, some students will “Light Up the Dawn” with a sombre 6 a.m. observance on Anzac Day. Later in the morning, The Last Post and, following a silence of reflection, Reveille will be played throughout the College.

The RSL has also suggested that, to mark Anzac Day, people may wish to visit a local war memorial at any time of the day, within exercise/recreation and social distancing conditions.

To help fellow students with this, some St Mark’s students have prepared a map with photographs to illustrate a walk that can be taken from the College to the National War Memorial on North Terrace, past various other war memorials along the way. This too is going on the internal Facebook page.

As members of the College reflect on the sacrifices of those who died in war, many will also give thanks for the labours and generosity of our founders. The Head of College, Professor Markwell, spoke to students and guests at the Commencement Service in February about the sacrifice and commitment to service of one of the founders, Charles Allan Seymour Hawker MP, who had been seriously injured on the Western Front in World War I, and the founding Master, Sir Archibald Grenfell Price.

They and others of the founders of the College – such as Canon Julian Bickersteth MC and Sir Henry Newland DSO, both of whom served in World War I – are remembered in various ways, including with inscriptions and portraits, around the College.

Members and friends of St Mark’s may wish to consider RSL suggestions (which may be found here  and here) for various ways of marking Anzac Day on Saturday – and may wish to raise a glass to toast our founders on Founders’ Day this Sunday.

Lest we forget.

Photograph: The memorial plaque in Memorial Building. Sir Archibald Grenfell Price wrote that to these names should be added Dr William Delano Walker and Flying Officer Alexander Charles Douglas, who were killed with the Forces before hostilities commenced.

The late Georgia Blain, Dr James Muecke AM, and Prof George Murrell recognised as Distinguished Collegians

The late novelist Georgia Blain, the current Australian of the Year Dr James Muecke AM, and distinguished orthopaedic surgeon Professor George Murrell have been recognised by the College Board as Distinguished Collegians.

Since 2007, the College has from time to time recognised a small number of old Collegians of particular distinction (academic or non-academic) as Distinguished Collegians. Their names are recorded – along with Honorary Fellows, significant donors, and major College office-holders – on honour boards in the entry to Downer House.

Georgia Blain (1964-2016) was a celebrated novelist and one of the first women to attend the College in 1982. Already a prize-winning poet when she entered St Mark’s, Georgia went on to be, in the words of one writer, “acclaimed as a novelist, short story writer and essayist who transformed the everyday into works of extraordinary beauty and clarity”.

After completing her Arts degree at the University of Adelaide, Georgia finished her Law degree at the University of Sydney.  Working first as a journalist and then as a copyright lawyer (who continued to write on copyright issues for many years), in the mid-1990s she turned to writing full-time, and her award-winning debut novel, Closed for Winter, set in seaside Adelaide, appeared in 1998. Her several subsequent books include the novels Candelo (1999), The Blind Eye (2001), Names for Nothingness (2004), Too Close to Home (2011), and Between a Wolf and a Dog (2016), the young adult novels Darkwater (2010) and Special (2016), and the short story collection The Secret Lives of Men (2013). Her Births, Deaths and Marriages: True Tales (2008) was published as she undertook a PhD in creative writing at the University of Western Sydney, and she continued with other writing, including regular columns for The Saturday Paper as she battled against brain cancer in 2015-16.

Several of Georgia’s books were shortlisted for major literary awards, and Between a Wolf and a Dog was awarded the 2017 Victorian Premier’s Literary Award for Fiction and the 2016 Queensland Literary Award for Fiction.  Closed for Winter was adapted for film in 2009, starring Natalie Imbruglia and filmed in Adelaide, and The Museum of Words: a memoir of language, writing, and mortality, was published posthumously in 2017.

On her death in December 2016, just days before the death of her mother, the journalist Anne Deveson, Georgia Blain was described by one obituarist as “one of Australia’s finest writers”. “There is”, the obituarist wrote, “no better way of remembering Georgia than reading her work.” Georgia Blain is remembered at St Mark’s with warm admiration, now officially as a Distinguished Collegian.

Dr James Muecke AM, who was a resident student at St Mark’s throughout his medical studies at the University of Adelaide (1982-87), was named Australian of the Year for 2020 in recognition of his outstanding leadership in blindness prevention.

While at St Mark’s, James secured brilliant academic results and was also a superb sportsman, representing the College in swimming, soccer, football, basketball, athletics, tennis, and volley ball, and serving as Sports Secretary in 1986 (amongst other leadership roles).

The official announcement of James’s award as Australian of the Year says:

“Since starting his medical career in Kenya, 56-year-old Dr James Muecke AM has been passionate about fighting blindness. His focus now is the leading cause of blindness in adults – type 2 diabetes – a spiralling epidemic that’s impacting nearly one-in-ten Australians. It’s the fastest growing cause of vision loss in Aboriginal people and the sixth-biggest killer in this country. James wants to challenge our perception of sugar and the impact it has in the development of type 2 diabetes.

“Previously, James co-founded Vision Myanmar at the South Australian Institute of Ophthalmology in 2000. The $1 million program has developed and operated eye health and blindness initiatives in Myanmar. Inspired by this program’s success, James also co-founded Sight For All, a social impact organisation aiming to create a world where everyone can see. With 80% of world blindness avoidable – and almost 90% in poor countries – James treats blindness as a human rights issue.”

In 2012, James was made a Member of the Order of Australia “for service to ophthalmic medicine, to the provision of eye health services and rehabilitation programs for Indigenous and South East Asian communities, and to professional organisations”.

St Mark’s has been delighted to be the venue for fundraising events for Sight for All, and has warmly congratulated James on his appointment as Australian of the Year – and now on his fitting recognition as a Distinguished Collegian.

For our news story about James’s appointment as Australian of the Year, including more details of his years in College, click here.

Professor George Murrell is a distinguished orthopaedic surgeon and Director of the Orthopaedic Research Institute at St George Hospital, Sydney, and Professor at the University of New South Wales.

George was a resident student at St Mark’s from 1978 to 1983 (except in 1981), and – as well as securing excellent academic results – was a champion athlete, served as Sports Secretary, and (amongst other awards) was awarded the Collegians Prize for most outstanding contribution to the College in only his second year in College.

The 1984 Rhodes Scholar for South Australia, George earned a Doctorate in Philosophy and university blues in athletics in Oxford, and was awarded the Royal College of Surgeons Arris and Gale medal. After a year in Cambridge teaching and rowing, he completed his orthopaedic training at Duke University in the United States. During a two-year fellowship in sports medicine, shoulder surgery and research at the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York, he gained a National Institutes of Health First Award, and an American Orthopaedic Association North American Travelling Fellowship.

George’s research has focused on the understanding, diagnosis, and management of disorders of the shoulder, and as a practising surgeon, he specialises in shoulder surgery and has a special interest in arthroscopic methods to repair and restore damaged ligaments and tendons.

George’s extensive work in orthopaedic research has been recognised with awards in a number of countries, and his co-authored volume on Research in Medicine, first published in 1990, is now in its third edition with Cambridge University Press. George serves on the editorial boards of the Journal of Shoulder and Elbow Surgery, Shoulder and Elbow, and Techniques in Shoulder and Elbow Surgery. His team has won over 30 awards for their work and his fellowship program attracts surgeons from around the world.

George (who has been followed at St Mark’s in recent years by his son, Alexander) has described his five years at St Mark’s as “wonderful and special”, and the College is proud to recognise him as a Distinguished Collegian.

When the current pandemic recedes, an event will be held at the College to honour Georgia Blain, James Muecke AM, and George Murrell. Details will be advertised on the Events page of the website, and all will be welcome!

Photographs: The late Georgia Blain, Dr James Muecke AM, and Professor George Murrell

College fund helps students in need due to the COVID-19 pandemic

St Mark’s College has established a Student Support Fund to support resident students whose financial circumstances have been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Because of the pandemic, many students have lost casual employment on which they depended to pay their College fees, and many parents of students have also lost their jobs or had incomes slashed.

Students already in receipt of this help have warmly expressed their deep gratitude, and that of their families, for this support. Many have said that it enables them to stay in College, and to continue with their studies, when all this was at risk, and is helping them cope through the stress and uncertainty of this time.

Following the decision by the College Board to create the Student Support Fund to meet this urgent need, students whose financial circumstances were significantly adversely affected by the pandemic were invited to apply for help from the Fund with their College fees, and to provide detailed information on their financial position.

Allocations have been made after careful assessment of this information.

As well as expressing gratitude for the support they have already received, students have committed to community service within the College and in the wider community – a tangible expression of their gratitude and commitment to “give back”.

The College has also enabled students who choose to return home for this period to do so without financial cost to them. Over half of the College’s students are continuing in College, and nearly half have chosen to go home during the pandemic. The College is maintaining strict social distancing and hygiene requirements to combat the pandemic.

The College will soon embark on a fundraising campaign to seek support from Old Collegians and friends of the College to fund this support for students – alongside scholarships and bursaries to enable students from diverse backgrounds to live and learn at St Mark’s over years to come.

Upon hearing of the College’s creation of the Student Support Fund, one Old Collegian and her partner immediately donated $5,000 towards the $240,000 Fund, for which our heartfelt thanks.

Donations (which are fully tax deductible) can be made through the Giving page on the College website here.

Are you able to help?

The College and all the students who are helped will be deeply grateful for your generous support.

Some of the many testimonies from students already supported by the COVID-19 Pandemic Student Support Fund include these expressions of thanks:

“…my family and I have been significantly affected by the current pandemic, on top of what was already difficult times for us over the past few years. The support provided by this fund will allow me to remain a contributing resident member of the College. I am very much looking forward to being able to continue here and play my part in allowing our community to remain a healthy, happy place to belong, through our support of each other.”

“The scholarship has removed an immense amount of stress from my daily life. It has enabled me to re-book the medical appointments I had postponed and or cancelled completely. This has now also improved my mental health. It has been the difference between living in Adelaide and continuing my studies or deferring and moving back to [regional South Australia].”

“Thank you is all I can say. … it is unbelievably heartening and humbling that the institution that I gratefully call home has my back when I most need it. I love living within our community, and because of this fund I have been given the opportunity to contribute to it for the coming uncertain months. I have seldom been more grateful.”

“I am so very thankful for this at this point in time following my Dad not having his contract renewed. It truly has taken a huge amount of financial burden off my family’s shoulders, and we are so grateful for this. Residing at St Mark’s during this difficult time has also been absolutely brilliant. The support that the college is willing to give and how the college has been keeping us all updated with the situation has been fantastic. It really is like a big family away from home, and that is something that at this particular time I have really cherished and appreciated.”

“This support will significantly aid in releasing the constant financial pressure on my family as we are unable to provide a regular income to pay for college fees. Most importantly, this financial aid will allow me to focus on putting more time and effort into my university studies and encourage me to participate more in the St Mark’s community so that I get the most out of my time here.”

“I would like to express my many thanks for the support the college are offering me financially and in other ways during these crazy times! The allocated funds will enable me to continue studying while residing at college. This will alleviate the stress and pressure that is placed on me during these times. “

“I would like to write to thank you for the financial support that you have extended to me following my application. It means a great deal to be supported without judgement in such uncertain times as we are experiencing now. From my first week at College, I felt welcomed and at home. I was constantly amazed with the amount of encouragement from the staff, senior collegians and the other first years. I feel that at St Mark’s, I am in an environment that I can thrive and focus all my time on my studies and achieve the very best that I am capable of.”

“… it is lovely to know that I can still call Mark’s home until the end of this year from the generosity of the fund.”

“In January I also started a new casual job, working a few days a week to contribute to college fees. Unfortunately due to the current circumstances, I no longer receive shifts there which has substantially affected my income. I greatly appreciate this financial assistance as it allows me to push on with my studies and enjoy my final year of college and university.”

“This is my third year at St Mark’s College, and it would be an understatement to say that I have cherished every moment and experience that I have had while residing here. Not only has this amazing place been supportive of me through my studies, but it has also helped me develop into a positive, social and confident individual and I do not believe I ever would have been able to come this far if it wasn’t for St Mark’s. The importance of receiving such assistance with my college fees means that I am able to continue these developments and have many more experiences that I will hold on to for the rest of my life. After having work cancelled indefinitely due to the pandemic, I was very worried about how I would be able to earn money to put towards college and necessities. I really appreciate having this opportunity because it means I can continue paying off my fees without having to cause financial stress on my family. I am also now able to put more focus back on to my studies knowing that I have support to help me get through the rest of the year. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.”

“Such a generous support fund will go a long way to help me staying in Adelaide despite losing a considerable amount of my income… I cannot thank you and the College enough for all of the support you have given me over the years. I have worked incredibly hard to pay my own way since leaving home but I would not be where I am today or the person I am today without the college’s support not only financially but in so many other ways as well.”

Other details of the College’s response to the pandemic can be found on the News pages of this website.

You can support our students now through the Giving page. THANK YOU for your generosity to students in need!

Ms Cecilia White and Mr Darren Pitt join College Board

Human resources adviser and lawyer Ms Cecilia White and educational leader and former Acting Head of College Mr Darren Pitt have today joined the College Board.

In announcing their appointments, the Chair of the Board, Ms Linda Matthews, said that Ms White and Mr Pitt would bring very valuable skills to the Board, together with a deep commitment to ensuring the best all-round educational experience for students of diverse backgrounds at St Mark’s.

Cecilia White and Darren Pitt have been appointed to the Board for initial three-year terms commencing today.

They succeed Dr Angela Evans AM and Mr Alister Lee, who retire from the Board after 14 and nine years of distinguished service, respectively.

Ms Matthews paid warm and deeply grateful tributes for the outstanding and tireless contributions which Dr Evans and Mr Lee have made to the College and its students, and looked forward to their continuing active involvement with the College.

Ms Cecilia White, BA, LLB (Adel), is a Director of Perks People Solutions, providing expert outsourced HR advice and support to employers across the private, public and not-for-profit sectors.

Prior to this, Cecilia spent nearly 10 years in private practice as an employment lawyer, advising and representing South Australian employers across a broad and diverse range of workplace and industrial disputes, enterprise bargaining negotiations, workplace investigations and workers compensation matters.

Cecilia also held a senior management role in the South Australian Equal Opportunity Commission for eight years, where she gained experience in discrimination and sexual harassment disputes, community and stakeholder engagement and policy development. It was during this time that Cecilia developed a passion for equity and diversity and supporting leaders to create inclusive organisations.

Cecilia is a Nationally Accredited Mediator with the Resolution Institute of Australia, a Board Member of the Victim Support Service of South Australia, and a member of the Law Society of South Australia and the Australian Human Resources Institute.

Mr Darren Pitt, BA (Hons), PGCE, MEd, is an educator, educational leader and educational consultant with over 25 years’ experience working in schools in the United Kingdom, Queensland and South Australia, where he has demonstrated success in delivering exceptional outcomes in learning, wellbeing and holistic education in a number of high-performance organisations.

Currently in role as Executive Project Manager at Seymour College and working with the College Board, Darren is responsible for a number of high-level projects to improve organisational efficiency, performance and stakeholder experience.

Darren has also held roles as Principal of The Springfield Anglican College in Brisbane, and prior to that as Deputy Principal at Seymour College and Director of Teaching and Learning at St. Peter’s College, both in Adelaide.

In August-November 2019, Darren served as Acting Head of College at St Mark’s College, between Ms Rose Alwyn leaving to be Warden of St John’s College at the University of Queensland, and Professor Don Markwell commencing as Head of College at St Mark’s.

In his various educational leadership roles, Darren has gained extensive experience in developing and delivering on strategy, and in improving organisational culture and business performance.

Darren has also served on a number of Advisory Boards and Executive Committees in curriculum development, wellbeing and sport, and is experienced in delivering key note lectures on education and literature in universities in England and Australia.

Darren holds a Master’s degree in Educational Leadership, an Honours degree in English Literature, and post-graduate certificates in Leadership and in Education.

To see the full membership of the St Mark’s College Board, click here.

FAQs and new requirements in relation to COVID-19 pandemic

The College has today published “Frequently Asked Questions” about the COVID-19 pandemic, providing information and requirements both for students staying in College and for those suspending residence.

As Government requirements evolve rapidly to try to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, the FAQs below (also available in PDF at this link) include important new specific requirements for students in College which must be observed.

These FAQs will be updated from time to time.


There are two sets of FAQs below:

SECTION A: Information and requirements for those staying in College; and

SECTION B: Information and requirements about suspending residence.

In drawing up these FAQs, our top priority is the health and safety of our students, staff, and the wider community.

Please note: any breaches of the requirements set out below will be regarded as serious breaches of College discipline, as well as of community expectations and State and/or Federal law.

Students staying in residence must abide by these requirements, both to ensure that we stop the spread of the virus, and to enable the College to remain open.

Every one of us has a responsibility to act and behave appropriately and safely, both inside College and in any essential trips we make outside College. Not doing so is not only thoughtless and dangerous, but in many cases is now an offence under State and/or Federal law. This is serious.



1. Can I stay in College if I want to, and/or if I’m unable to go home?

Yes, we are continuing to stay open and operational, and you are very welcome to stay in College and continue your studies here.

If you stay, you are required to abide by relevant State and Federal requirements and the requirements stipulated by the College regarding hygiene and social distancing set out below. We will update these in light of evolving advice and legislation.

We have moved to a one gigabit connection so you can all watch your online lectures and attend online tutorials at the same time, and academic tutorials and other support for students are continuing.

2. What if I want to stay but can’t afford to pay my fees? 

If you have been significantly financially affected because of the pandemic, and/or family members who would usually provide you with financial support have been significantly financially affected, please apply to the Student Support Fund we have created – the deadline for the first round of applications is 4pm Thursday 26 March:

We don’t want you to have to leave because you can’t currently afford to be here. If you are in this position, please talk to us.

3. What if I want to leave College because of the pandemic?

Please see Section B below, about suspending residence.

4. How is College implementing the updated State and Federal legal requirements and expert advice around social distancing?

It is essential that all students in residence abide by the following requirements:

(i) Distance rule

  • At all times, there must be at least 1.5 metres between people.
  • This is essential whether you are standing, walking, queuing, eating, playing sport, etc.
  • It applies inside and outside College.

(ii) Hall

  • Entry to Hall is staggered in three groups, as follows:
    • Lunch – from:
      • 15: Newland
      • 40: Memorial and East Wing
      • 00: Flats and Hawker House
    • Dinner – from:
      • 00: Memorial and East Wing
      • 20: Flats and Hawker House
      • 40: Newland

We will review and amend this as numbers alter in different parts of College.

  • You must keep 1.5 metres apart from others when queuing, whether inside or outside the Hall: make use of the green taped markers on the floor.
  • There must be no more than 4 people per table in Hall, maintaining appropriate distance.
  • There must be no more than 4 people on each of the outside tables, which have been separated so there is no longer one long table. Appropriate distance must be maintained.

(iii) Gatherings and limits on numbers of people

  • There must be no gathering of more than 10 people, indoors or outdoors – and this is only permissible in spaces that allow this while also observing distance of 1.5m.
  • There are specific limits on numbers in specific spaces, in keeping with the 4m2 rule, as follows:
    • Tutorial rooms:
      • LC1 = 3 people max
      • LC2 = 6 people max
      • LC3 = 6 people max
      • LC4 = 3 people max
      • AC1 = 6 people max
      • AC2 = 6 people max
      • AC3 = 4 people max
    • Music room = 5 people max
    • Chapel = 6 people max
    • Ballroom = 10 people max
    • Council Room = 9 people max
  • There are to be no more than 2 people in a student room at any one time, including the occupant. The only exceptions to this are where there are extremely large rooms where an increase in the cap of 2 students has been explicitly approved in advance by the Dean. At all times, there must be at least 1.5 metres between people.
  • Corridor chats are only permitted if there is 1 student per door entrance, so that social distancing is maintained.
  • In flats, the same rule applies as for student bedrooms: there are to be no more than 2 people, including the occupant, in a bedroom at any one time. In addition:
    • There are to be no more than a total of ‘n+2’ in a flat at any one time, where ‘n’ is the number of residents currently living in that flat.
    • That is: if a flat has 3 occupants, there can be no more than an overall total of 2 visitors at any one time in that flat, so no more than 5 people at any one time in that flat. If a flat has 2 occupants, there can be no more than an overall total of 2 visitors at any one time in that flat, so no more than 4 people at any one time in that flat.
    • There can be no more than 2 people in a flat bedroom at any one time, and no more than 3 in a shared living / kitchen area at any one time. At all times, there must be at least 1.5 metres between people.
  • Any larger gatherings will be subject to disciplinary action.

(iv) Gym

  • No more than 4 people are permitted in the gym at any one time.
  • All users must observe the 1.5m distance requirement.
  • You must not use a piece of equipment if someone is using a piece of equipment next to it.
  • It is essential that the requirements on notices in the gym – e.g. about wiping down all equipment that is used, both before and after use – are observed in full.
  • No guests are permitted.
  • If these requirements, and those already posted in the gym, are not observed in full, access to the gym will no longer be possible.

(v) Cars and carpooling

  • There are to be no more than 2 people in a car: the driver in the front, and a passenger in the back.

5. Are visitors allowed in College?

The National Cabinet’s latest advice is that we all must ‘stay at home unless it is absolutely necessary you go out’.  Visitors to the College therefore must be kept to an absolute minimum, both in number and frequency.

We have an overriding need and responsibility to keep the community as self-contained as possible in coming days and weeks in order to limit the risk of virus spread.

  • Visitors are strongly discouraged, and ideally there would be none;
  • No guests other than partners and family are permitted except with prior approval of Dean;
  • No guests are permitted at meals;
  • No guests are permitted in the gym, Academic Centre or other shared facilities;
  • No one may have more than one guest at a time;
  • External tutors will only tutor online; and
  • You are responsible for the behaviour and actions of a visitor at all times.

Government regulations or decrees may require a complete ban on visitors to the College in the near future.

6. What if I need to go into self-isolation?

There are several categories of student who may need to self-isolate:

1. Those who are self-isolating within their existing accommodation because they are at risk (e.g. because of their own medical circumstances, such as compromised immunity or asthma). If you are in this category and would like additional support from the College (e.g. around meals, shopping, cleaning, access to shared spaces), please let us know;

2. Those who have been in contact with a confirmed or suspected case of COVID-19 and who need to self-isolate while awaiting test results, or for 14 days, as instructed by their healthcare professional;

3. Those who are unwell with COVID-19 symptoms, or who have been diagnosed with COVID-19, and need to self-isolate for 14 days; and

4. Those who are required to self-isolate because they are returning from interstate. If you are planning to return to College from interstate while self-isolation requirements remain in place, please remember to allow yourself enough time to fulfil these requirements (as of 23 March 2020 all individuals entering the State must self-isolate for 14 days from their return).

The College has allocated specific areas where self-isolation can occur, and we can provide you with meals etc. Peter (Dean) and Kathy (Registrar) will be able to advise you on this.

Students in categories 2, 3, and 4 will have a notice on their door making clear that there is to be no entry to that room, except with prior approval by the Dean. (Students in category 1 – voluntary self-isolation due to risk to themselves – are welcome to have such a notice if they wish.)



7. What if I want to leave College because of the pandemic?

We completely understand that some of you may wish to leave College for some or all of the duration of the pandemic. We want you to be able to make the right decision without financial pressures being a determining factor.

If you wish to suspend your residence because of the pandemic, you are free to do so without any financial cost to you – that is, you will not pay fees for the period after Monday 23 March during which you are not in residence.

If you wish to suspend your College residence please let us know in advance: email the Head of College (Professor Markwell), copied to the Registrar (Kathy Radoslovich).

If you have already left but not yet advised us by email, please do so now – again to the Head of College copied to the Registrar.

If you inform us that you are suspending your residence, and you have a College car parking space, we expect that you will take your car with you unless you let us know otherwise. Please see FAQ below about car parking spaces.

8. How will calculations regarding fees be made if I am suspending residence? 

First, we need to know when you’re leaving so we can keep track of dates – so please keep us informed if you are moving out, and let us know when you intend to move back in again (once you know this yourself).

We can’t process refunds or make alterations to payment schedules unless we have received notice from you in writing (i.e. by email). Please also note that it will take us some time to make all of the necessary calculations – be assured that we are moving as quickly as we can!

There are then two options available to you:

1. If you have an anticipated return date – for example, your degree programme has paused and will restart on 27 April, so you plan to be back a few days before then (or 14 days before then if you will be coming from interstate and will need to isolate – more on that below) – we will be able to sort out a bespoke arrangement with you to cover that anticipated period of time.

We recognise, of course, that things are changing from day to day and that your plans may therefore change, and we can be flexible around your changes.

2. If you would prefer not to provide an anticipated return date, we will calculate what your fee position is from the date that you move out, and make arrangements accordingly from that day on. When you then return to residence we will restart your fee payment schedule from your move-in date.

In some cases a student will be in credit to the College and sometimes a student will be in debt – Lorraine (Finance Officer) will be able to let you know what applies in your case.

If you do elect to suspend your residence, that means that, for that stretch of time, you will not have access to the College’s physical premises and facilities, including the gym, Academic Centre, Hall, etc, unless you have made an explicit arrangement with the College to do so. This is because we need to keep the community as physically self-contained as possible in coming days and weeks in order to limit the risk of virus spread.

9. If I leave, what do I do with the belongings in my room?

If you are leaving, please clear your room out completely if you can. This is because we may need your room for other purposes, eg if we need to move students to facilitate periods of isolation. If this will be difficult for you, please let us know.

If you have already left College, and left items in your room, it may be that the College will need to pack your belongings up for you at a later date – all care will be taken if we need to do so.

10. If I suspend my residence, will I still have access to College academic and other support, even if I’m not paying fees?

Yes, you will. We recognise that moving out of College is likely to have been a tough decision for you, but want to reassure you that you remain a full member of the community and we want to continue to support you in every way that we can even though you won’t be paying residential fees. So, even though the support will be virtual rather than in person, you are still very welcome to make full use of it. Over the coming days we will be looking into how best to develop our online provision and will circulate further details.

However, if you do suspend your residence, you are not able to return to College unless you have made an arrangement with us to do so. We need to keep the community as self-contained as possible in coming days and weeks in order to mitigate risks of virus spread.

11. What about my car park if I suspend my residence?

If you suspend your residence, we will assume you will be taking your car with you. You will receive a pro-rata refund of the College’s car parking fee. If, however, you needed to leave your car at College, you would need to inform the College of your intention and leave a set of keys with the College in case for any reason the vehicle needed to be moved.

Please be reminded that the car park will be under construction from around Easter.

12. If I suspend my residence will I get the same room back when I return?

Yes, that’s definitely the College’s expectation: when you come back, you’ll move back into the same room (unless exceptional circumstances prevent this).

13. I have been appointed as an Academic Tutor for the semester – can I continue with this remotely if I suspend my residence?

Absolutely! The Academic Program will continue, and will be more important than ever, so we’re very keen for you to continue. Please communicate your change of circumstances to the students you’re tutoring and make the necessary arrangements to support them remotely, and please continue to fill in your timesheet so that we can compensate you for the tutoring.

If you feel unable to continue as an Academic Tutor because you have suspended your residence, please let Rachel (Director of Learning) know so we can find a replacement Tutor.

14. I hold a student leadership position – what happens if I suspend my residence?

We’d love you to continue in your leadership position if you’re able to do so remotely – e.g. via Facebook or messenger. This sort of support is going to be vital to enable our community to continue to grow and flourish, even though we’re a bit more spread out than planned! We certainly have no intention of asking any of you to step down from your leadership position because you’re temporarily out of residence.

We recognise that performing a role online is less possible for some aspects of roles than for others (certainly you won’t be able to be Duty Tutor, for example), but we’d still like you to contribute to the leadership of the community in whatever forms are possible. Please come and chat with us if you’re in this situation, and we can discuss things on a case-by-case basis.

If you have any questions not answered by the above, please send the Dean and Director of Learning an email. 

We’ll be updating these FAQs over the coming days.