Western Sydney University scales great heights for Giving Day, but Chancellor peaks too early

Chancellor's Challenge at Giving Day

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Western Sydney University is launching its very first Giving Day on Wednesday 4 September – a flagship fundraising event that will ask supporters to donate to any one of the University initiatives they are most passionate about, including scholarships, the student-led solar car team, and world-leading research conducted by the MARCS BabyLab.

As part of Giving Day activities, Western Sydney University Chancellor Professor Peter Shergold AC has created the ‘Chancellor’s Challenge’ – a nine-storey abseil down the Peter Shergold Building named in his honour, featuring well-known alumni, community leaders and friends of the University.

However, in an unplanned twist, the dare-devil Professor Shergold may have peaked a little early, with a ski-field accident rendering him unable to participate in his own abseiling Challenge.

"Unfortunately, in a white-out I skied off a three-metre crevice. I dislocated my right shoulder and I had to be brought down the mountain in a stretcher. It was a rather desperate way to avoid abseiling!", joked Professor Shergold.

Valiantly stepping in to take the Chancellor’s spot will be Acting Vice-Chancellor, Professor Scott Holmes, who will be joined by fellow abseilers, including Western Sydney University law alumnus and human rights advocate Deng Adut, award-winning journalist Hugh Riminton, Olympian and Western Sydney University medical student Jana Pittman, and coaches from the Western Sydney Wanderers.

“I will still be closely involved in the Chancellor’s Challenge - with my good arm, I’ll be supervising the ropes as these brave and dedicated individuals fundraise for various University programs. I personally will be supporting the MARCS BabyLab and its ground-breaking research into language development in young children and the profound impact this can have on their future,” he said.

Celebrating its 30th anniversary this year, Western Sydney University has grown to become one of the world’s leading universities and the largest, most established higher education institution in Western Sydney, playing a pivotal role in the social and economic transformation of the fast-growing region.

“Western Sydney University has a proud tradition of providing transformational educational opportunities for the people of Western Sydney and conducting world-leading, impact-driven research that is making a difference, particularly in the lives of people from our region,” said Professor Shergold.

“I invite our friends and supporters to join with me to get behind Giving Day, and support our life-changing scholarship programs and educational and research initiatives that have demonstrable impact in the communities we serve. Together, we can make a difference.”

Key Giving Day causes:

Scholarships – every year the University awards more than $24 million in scholarships and grants to students. The University is raising funds to expand its scholarship program and develop the transformative educational opportunities it can deliver.

MARCS BabyLab – a specialised infant research centre that is producing world-leading research into language disorders, including dyslexia, to ensure the success of our next generation.

Western Sydney University Solar Car – In 2018, University’s student-led solar car team became the first international and first Australian team to win the American Solar Challenge. The team, made up of Engineering, Industrial Design and Visual Communication students, are inspiring the next generation of sustainable energy experts.

About Western Sydney University:

  • For 30 years Western Sydney University has been changing lives in Greater Western Sydney through high-quality education and research.
  • Among its many achievements, the University is ranked in the top 2 per cent of universities worldwide, ranked number 1 in the world for addressing gender equality, and rated number 1 university in NSW for employer satisfaction.
  • 85 per cent of the University’s research in the Excellence in Research for Australia (ERA) assessment was named as "world standard or above”.
  • 65 per cent of whom are the first in their family to attend university.
  • The University is a community of more than 48,000 students, 3,000 staff and 190,000 alumni, and is located in Australia’s fastest-growing economy, Greater Western Sydney, home to more than 2.5 million people.

To learn more or to donate, please visit the Giving Day website (opens in a new window).


4 September 2019

Media Unit