Aunty Linda Cruse scholarship supports First Nations students at UOW
The University of Wollongong’s (UOW) Woolyungah Indigenous Centre and UOW College Australia have launched a new scholarship to support Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students.
Named in honour of Aunty Linda Cruse, the full fee-paying scholarship covers all tuition fees that would normally be borne by the student. All UOW College courses, including pathway courses to a bachelor degree at UOW or courses for career-ready qualification in fitness, nursing, ageing support or individual support, are eligible for the scholarship.
Aunty Linda was a committed activist who paved the way for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students to access educational pathways through UOW. Her scholarship is open exclusively to Indigenous students who aspire to achieve a higher education or vocational qualification through study at UOW College.
In the 1980s Aunty Linda successfully lobbied for funding to establish an Aboriginal Education Centre (AEC) at UOW. The approved building was purposefully built at the westernmost point on campus, right under the feet of Djeera (Mt Keira).
Members of Aunty Linda’s family attended a ceremony to officially launch the scholarship at the Woolyungah Indigenous Centre. They were joined by community members and members of the senior leadership teams from UOW and UOW College, including Vice-Chancellor Professor Patricia Davidson.
Professor Davidson said the University and UOW College were honoured to recognise an extraordinary Aboriginal leader with so many of her family members present, and proud to continue the realisation of Aunty Linda’s vision.
“This is such a great opportunity for UOW College to recognise a powerful, resilient and humble woman who did so much for our community,” Professor Davidson said.
“We recognise that increasingly financial barriers prohibit people from coming to university. Even if you defer the tuition payment, you’ve still got to get here and pay rent. So we’re trying as many strategies as we can to support our students financially and the Aunty Linda Cruse scholarship is one of those means.”
It is not only the financial contribution that makes a difference, she continued, but also the support and the symbolism and the mentorship that comes with these scholarships.
“And importantly, with our Woolyungah Indigenous Centre here, there is connectivity to culture, to community, to country, but also that support that is critically needed.”
“The name of the scholarship will be emblematic to the students who follow Aunty Linda and we think this is a wonderful way to honour her memory. We are very excited to see the phenomenal young Aboriginal people who are going to follow in her footsteps.”
Scholarship recipient Mace Beveridge, 15, will be one of those following the path Aunty Linda Cruse made.
“I’m doing the UEP, which is a university entrance program, and that’s just basic scientific thinking, language and maths. And with that I can do medicine (Diploma of Medical and Health Sciences) next year,” Mace said.
“The scholarship means a lot to me actually, because if I can successfully complete my UEP and start my medicine degree at the age of 15, then it might encourage other people to get the scholarship and that would be really great.”
Applications for the Aunty Linda Cruse Scholarship are now open, further details are available here. Image shows Aunty Linda’s family at the launch.
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