Two gifts in one week from the Freemasons
27 March 2012
The Freemasons Charity and Freemasons Roskill Foundation overwhelmed the University when they announced two gifts in one week: a three-year pledge totalling $247,813 towards a post-doctoral fellowship at the Centre for Brain Research (CBR) and a pledge of $100,000 for a PhD fellowship focusing on macular degeneration within the Department of Ophthalmology.
The Freemasons announced the CBR fellowship gift at a recognition event for the Centre's major donors on 25 November. The new fellowship will provide a link between the School of Chemical Sciences and the Department of Pharmacology and Clinical Pharmacology to open up exciting possibilities for the efficient development of drugs to treat neurodegenerative disorders.
Later in the week, at a special celebration event to mark their thirty-year relationship with the University, the Freemasons revealed their support for a PhD fellowship in Ophthalmology. This fellowship will focus on age-related macular degeneration research and will enable the translation of novel drugs and delivery vehicles, developed by the Department of Ophthalmology, into clinical trials.
Freemasons Roskill Foundation's Executive Officer, Judith Miller, believes that these fellowships not only suit the concerns of the Freemasons membership, but provide talented researchers with reasons to remain in New Zealand.
"A lot of people actually want to stay in this country after completing their doctorate. These fellowships mean that talented researchers who don't necessarily want to move overseas have sufficient opportunities available here."
The Freemasons' consistent philanthropic contributions to the Faculty of Medical and Health Sciences trace back to the long-established Freemasons Chair in Geriatric Medicine. As part of November's thirty-year celebration of this support, a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the University and the Freemasons was signed.
"We feel we have a huge sense of partnership with The University of Auckland and the Faculty of Medical and Health Sciences. It's not just a good relationship with the professors and fellows themselves but with the wider University. We value the open communication lines," says Freemasons Roskill Foundation Chairman David Mace.
Engagement with the community is one of the University's primary concerns and Faculty of Medical and Health Sciences Dean John Fraser believes the close relationship with the Freemasons is a strong example of this.
"The special partnership between our Faculty and the Freemasons highlights the University's obligation and commitment to serve its community. We are indeed privileged to receive such generous support from the Freemasons, support that not only fosters world-class medical research, but also the next generation of medical scientists."
Photo caption: Mr David Mace (Freemasons Roskill Foundation), Professor Iain Martin (Deputy Vice-Chancellor Strategic Engagement), Mr Selwyn Cooper (Grand Master, Freemasons New Zealand), Professor Stuart McCutcheon (Vice-Chancellor) and Mr Mark Winger (The Freemasons Charity).