Simply by participating – and we all participate in living as best we can – the potential for an impact or a legacy, either positive or negative, is activated. Therefore, it is important to consider the impact or legacy you wish to have or leave, and then set about delivering it.
Nigel Peck AM (OM 1945), whose moving funeral service was held in the Chapel of St Peter on Friday 7th April 2017, was an exemplar of great generosity to the School. Nigel, his wife Patricia, and the Peck Family have had, and continue to have, an extraordinary impact upon the life of students at Melbourne Grammar School as a result of their great philanthropy over many years.
Nigel and his family have contributed to the School’s Annual Giving Programme in every year since 1985 – more than thirty years of continuous financial commitment. In addition to financial contributions, Nigel has been very generous with his time, expertise and experience. He has served on the Melbourne Grammar School Foundation Board since 2000. He was also the inaugural Chair of the Witherby Tower Society Committee, serving from 1995 until 2008. Nigel has inspiringly supported the last three major capital campaigns.
He was the lead donor in the capital campaign for the Centre for Learning and Leadership, and the School named the building in his honour to recognise his outstanding generosity and service to the School community. Nigel also made a transformational gift in support of the Geoff Handbury Science and Technology Hub. And all Edwin Flack Park attendees will be familiar with the magnificent Louis Laumen bronze statue of Edwin Flack (OM 1890), known as the ‘Lion of Athens’ – yet another gift to the School from Nigel Peck AM. In addition, Nigel has left a substantial bequest to the School. Over a lifetime, he has created an extraordinary legacy for his family, his School and his community – Nigel, ave atque vale.
Since 1858 (that is, for 159 years), the philanthropy and support of Melbourne Grammar School’s parents, Old Melburnians, staff, and friends have created not only an inspiring tradition but also an enduring connection with all the School community members who have preceded us. The buildings and facilities at Grimwade House, Wadhurst and the Senior School remind us continuously that we and, most importantly, our children are benefitting today from the vision and philanthropy of previous generations. And we all know that the most important feature of any School building is the pedagogic activity which takes place within it.
Let me give you some examples, and may I emphasise that the following is, by no means, a comprehensive list. Opened in 1928, The Old Melburnians War Memorial Hall was a gift of Old Melburnians in commemoration of their 261 fellow students who died in World War I. All those Old Melburnians would be delighted, I am sure, by the later additions of those two very handsome and useful wings, which include the Shelmerdine Studio which opened in 2006, and the Handbury Family Cafeteria which opened in 2000. Both those families have been and continue to be great supporters of the School.
Grimwade House was an extraordinary gift to the School from four Grimwade brothers as a memorial to their parents. And, the School’s outdoor programme was transformed by the great generosity of the Dowd Family in 2000 and a bequest from Leslie Gladstone Robertson (OM 1899) in 1954. The Steele Memorial Ground is yet another example of a generous, heartfelt, and commemorative family legacy to the School.
The Headmaster reports on the outstanding success of our most recent New World of Teaching and Learning Campaign later in this magazine. With the support of nearly 600 donors, we exceeded our fundraising goal of $15 million. Of course, the transformational gift of Geoff Handbury AO (OM 1942) was essential to the success of the Campaign. Great leadership in the Campaign was also provided by Alan C Archibald Q.C., Angus Mackay, and Nigel Peck AM & Patricia Peck, as well as John Lin & Shirley Hsieh.
Leaving a legacy is also a way of saying ‘thank you’, and the following quotation reflects well on the theme of this discussion: “Thank you is the best prayer that anyone can say. It expresses gratitude, humility and understanding.”
Michael Bartlett Chairman of Council