Former Westpac CEO Gail Kelly has given the Sydney-based University of New South Wales $1 million to build education ties between Australia and her native South Africa.
UNSW said on Tuesday that the gift would set up a student exchange program with the University of Cape Town, where Ms Kelly did her arts degree, majoring in history and Latin, and trained as a teacher with a diploma of education.
It will fund, in perpetuity, the Gail Kelly Global Leaders Scholarship, which will give one business student a year from each university the opportunity to spend one semester at the other institution during the final two years of their degree.
Each scholarship is worth $20,000 and includes on-campus accommodation and meals.
Ms Kelly said she was grateful to the two universities for supporting the scholarship, because it linked the two countries most special to her.
“I look forward to meeting the scholars over the years to come,” she said.
The scholarship includes mentoring and leadership advice from Ms Kelly both before and after the exchange.
UNSW chancellor David Gonski said the gift was a “truly generous gesture”. He said it would be a tremendous opportunity for young people at the beginning of their careers.
UNSW Business School dean Chris Styles said the scholarship would help create the next generation of leaders in business.
“Few students have access to the business acumen and advice of one of Australia’s most successful CEOs,” he said.
“Over time, this scholarship will generate a community of scholars and a global network of business leaders who have been afforded this unique experience.”
Undergraduate students in the UNSW Business school will be able to apply for the scholarship. They will be selected based on academic merit, leadership potential and a demonstrated commitment to contribute to the Australian and South African business community. The first scholarship winners are expected to take up the exchange in 2018.
The announcement of the scholarship follows the publication of Ms Kelly’s recent book Live Lead Learn: My Stories of Life & Leadership,
While at Westpac she oversaw the bank’s announcement of $100 million scheme to offer scholarships and education awards each year.