It has been more than 55 years since Emeritus Professor Richard Larkins AO (OM 1960), former Chair of School Council and former Vice-Chancellor of Monash University, attended Science classes at Melbourne Grammar School. However, the experiences of his formative years continue to shape his career and to motivate him to champion the development of a new Science and Technology programme at the School.
With an extensive background in research and academia, Richard understands the challenges that schools face in today’s global society.
“To find solutions to some of the world’s most complex problems, we must inspire our students to become leaders in fields that utilise Science and Technology,” says Richard.
On a rainy day in 2009, the School Council made a visit to the Bromby Building, the current home of Science at the School. The visit evoked feelings of nostalgia, however it was immediately clear that even major refurbishments would not accommodate the changing reality and ambitions of future students.
“While it was a new, cutting-edge building when I graduated in 1960, the Bromby Building can no longer accommodate the needs of the School,” says Richard. It was on this day that a new vision for Science and Technology at Melbourne Grammar School really started to take shape.
Thousands of students and teachers, both past and present, have passed through the halls of the Bromby Building. It has helped to nurture Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) at the School, playing a significant role in the professional lives of many of Australia’s leaders. This includes members of Council and Foundation such as Professor Graham Brown AM (OM 1964), the former Foundation Director of the Nossal Institute for Global Health. However, it is not only those working in Science fields who understand and value the importance of STEM. For example, Jim Cousins AO KStJ (OM 1961), patron of the Arts, has demonstrated his passion and commitment by chairing the School’s Buildings and Grounds Committee.
As well as bricks and mortar, it was evident that a new pedagogical approach to Science and Technology was needed.
“Schools such as ours must introduce new educational approaches that promote experimentation, collaboration and discovery. We need to create flexible and collaborative learning spaces, equipped with new technologies,” says Richard.
Working alongside Richard and Sandy Clark (OM 1962), our Campaign Patrons, are the members of the Melbourne Grammar School Foundation Board and School Council. Since the silent phase of our New World of Teaching and Learning Campaign began in January 2014, 100 per cent of the members of these groups have pledged their financial support. They are also working to involve more members – in all areas of our community – to give back to the School.
“The Foundation members are truly inspirational people,” says Lloyd Thomas, President of the Foundation Board. “Not only do they volunteer their time to support the School in setting the highest educational standards, they are also leading us into an exciting new world.”
By December 2016, we aim to raise an ambitious $15 million to support our philanthropic Campaign. By transforming Science and Technology education, we can spark the ingenuity of future generations of students and inspire them to play a role in shaping the world that we live in.