UOW welcomes third intake of Ramsay Scholars

Feb 21, 2022 | Announcements

Sydney, 21 February 2022: The University of Wollongong (UOW) has officially welcomed 30 high-achieving students who have been named as UOW Ramsay Scholarship recipients for 2022.

The 2022 UOW Ramsay Scholars were welcomed at a reception on the UOW campus by Chancellor Christine McLoughlin AM, Vice-Chancellor Professor Patricia M. Davidson, and several university executives. The event was also attended by Ramsay Centre CEO Professor Simon Haines, and three members of the Ramsay Centre Board, Professor Ann Brewer, Dr Michael Easson AM and Peter Evans.

This is the third cohort of UOW Ramsay Scholars. Thanks to a partnership agreement between the Ramsay Centre and UOW, the scholars are supported to complete UOW’s Bachelor of Arts in Western Civilisation degree, through scholarships worth up to $30,000 p.a. for up to five years. The scholars are taught in small class groups and receive academic mentoring.

The scholars are selected based on their academic achievement and leadership qualities, as well as passion to study western civilisation. Like past years, they come from a variety of areas across NSW and Australia.

Billed as a course for the ‘intellectually fearless’, UOW’s Bachelor of Arts in Western Civilisation is designed to help students discover the enduring insights of the greatest thinkers, poets and artists of Western civilisation’ and ‘become part of a conversation about ideas that have changed the world as we know it’.

UOW Chancellor Christine McLoughlin said students undertaking the popular BA in Western Civilisation degree were among the highest performing and most satisfied of students enrolled in any course across the university. She noted there was a 30 per cent increase in applications this year, with students saying they were attracted to the program because they loved the subject matter and because they ‘…could find nothing else quite like it anywhere in Australia.’

“We are very very appreciative of the strong partnership with the Ramsay Centre which has seen a major investment in the humanities and the arts at UOW,” Ms McLoughlin said.

Ramsay Centre CEO Professor Simon Haines acknowledged the extraordinary generosity of the late Paul Ramsay AO, founder of Ramsay Healthcare, who left a large part of his endowment to foster the study of ‘the great formative works and institutions of our civilisation’, making the special partnership with UOW possible.    

He also praised the UOW School of Liberal Arts for its tremendous support of the students in the difficult teaching circumstances of the past two years, enabling their continued high performance.

Specifically addressing the incoming students, Professor Haines said the degree presented a rare study opportunity, offered at only a handful of places in the world including the Centre’s other partner universities, and was well suited to the times.

“This model of a liberal arts course is unique in this country: an exposure in small groups to multiple modes or styles of thought, conceptual, imaginative and historical, all within one degree, inside a modern research university,” Professor Haines said.

“In these turbulent times – a global pandemic, anxieties about the condition of the planet, and various geo-strategic conflicts threatening to break out – it would be natural for young people to ask why do old books matter, what does reading matter?

“Well, what is needed to deal with these wicked challenges, both from individuals and societies, and especially from our leaders, is not various kinds of panic, which appears to be the default human response, especially in an age of social-media driven emotions, but clear and well-articulated and deeply rooted (‘disinterested’) thought about complex human phenomena – just the kind of thought this course is designed and intended to bring out of you, literally what the word ‘education’ means.”   

In a vote of thanks, 2021 UOW Ramsay Scholar Miah Nottage said she remembered reading the course handout and being ‘…blown away by the depth and breadth of the degree’. She said one of the first topics in the course was “the magic of Ancient Greek mythology”.

“Homer’s The Iliad and The Odyssey reinforced the creative imagination within all of us,” she said.

“Not only that, the stories raised many important ethical questions about heroism and power. Throughout discussions in seminars and tutorials, I was challenged by the different perspectives offered by my peers on the topic of who should be commended as a hero in society today. By thinking critically and engaging with the thoughts from those around me, my mindset was broadened, and I obtained a more considered understanding of heroism. I believe that these types of conversations make a difference on how the next generation of leaders and thinkers will rise up in different professions. This is just one of many examples of how the degree offers a sense of inspiration to learn from the past, be critical of the present and strive to be better in the future.”

“I am one year into this degree, and I can certainly say that this course is exceptional in every way.”

The Ramsay Centre and UOW entered a partnership in 2019. Worth approximately $50 million over eight years, the partnership enables UOW to offer at least 150 undergraduate scholarships over that period and to hire world-class educators to teach its Western civilisation program.

Media contact: Sarah Switzer 0407 816 098/ sarah.switzer@ramsaycentre.org

For more information on the centre please visit our website: www.ramsaycentre.org