UOW welcomes fourth intake of Ramsay Scholars

Mar 10, 2023 | Announcements, News & Media

Friday 10 March 2023: The University of Wollongong (UOW) has officially welcomed 27 high-achieving students who have been named as UOW Ramsay Scholarship recipients for 2023.

The 2023 UOW Ramsay Scholars were welcomed at a reception on the UOW campus attended by Senior Professor Daniel Hutto, Head of the university’s School of Liberal Arts (SOLA). The event was also attended by Ramsay Centre CEO Professor Simon Haines, and two members of the Ramsay Centre Board, Dr Michael Easson AM, and Mr Peter Evans.

This is the fourth cohort of UOW Ramsay Scholars. Thanks to a partnership agreement between the Ramsay Centre and UOW, the scholars are supported in studying UOW’s Bachelor of Arts in Western Civilisation degree, through scholarships worth up to $32,000 p.a. for up to five years. The scholars are taught in small class groups and receive academic mentoring throughout the degree.

Selection is based on academic achievement and leadership qualities, as well as desire to study the great works of Western civilisation. As in past years, scholars come from a variety of geographical areas across NSW and Australia. There are now 115 students enrolled in the program across all four intake years, all studying masterpieces of art, literature, philosophy, politics, religion, and science in the Western tradition.

Speaking at the reception, Senior Professor Hutto thanked the Ramsay Centre for its partnership with UOW, which he said has provided unparalleled opportunities for the study of liberal arts and humanities at the university.

He said students in the program reported being attracted to the degree’s originality and its distinctive structure and felt it answered a particular educational need. He said that need is, in the words of Simon Haines, “…an education in the old and important sense, one that works on each individual to make them more thoughtful, more reflective, more articulate, more authentic, more self-possessed.”

Professor 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.

Turning attention to the books covered in the program, Professor Haines encouraged the scholars to embrace the challenge of reading difficult texts, reminding them that “the process of finding meaning and interest in the act of reading a complex book, is also the process of making meaning and interest in the mind of the reader, enlarging and deepening the mind by immersing it in or infusing it with the reality of the book.”

In the final address to the new scholars, 2022 UOW Ramsay Scholar Benjamin Tauaalo praised the degree: “…with the rare luxury of smaller tutorial groups, every voice is heard, and more significantly everyone is encouraged to contribute.” He described the degree as the “…broadest and most free-thinking program I have witnessed or engaged with.”

“A space to respond appropriately and respectfully in discourse with thinkers from all walks of life, this is the new, improved and utterly transformed version of Plato’s Academy,” Benjamin said.

“It is not often in contemporary society that you are gifted an opportunity to freely discuss your informed opinion without causing offence or having uneducated rebuttals hurled back at you, so to the SOLA staff, thank you for encouraging us to speak our minds. This is an opportunity sadly denied to many students today.”

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.

To learn more about UOW’s Bachelor of Western Civilisation degree visit the SOLA website: https://www.uow.edu.au/the-arts-social-sciences-humanities/schools-entities/liberal-arts/

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

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