The Great Hall has a special place in the heart of ‘Friends of the University’ President Vic Levi.
In 1974 Levi was one of the first graduates to receive a degree during a ceremony in the recently completed Great Hall. That memory is why he has remained connected with the University ever since.
Formed in 1981 to provide a connection between people wanting an involvement with the University, the ‘Friends’ raises money for projects ordinary University funds do not cover. More than $500,000 has been raised since its inception.
Levi said the money was garnered almost exclusively through the group’s Book Fairs held in the Great Hall every odd-numbered year.
"During the week of our Book Fair we consistently raise more than $60,000," Levi said. "We had more than one million items up for sale at recent events, including many books not found anywhere else.
"Every three months we also host a ‘Lunch With a Writer’ with well-known authors, such as Helen Garner and Peter Yeldham.
"All of these events are held to bridge the University and the broader community and provide a point of connection for everyone."
Projects funded by the Friends include a contribution towards the Great Hall’s organ and funding for the pavilion overlooking the University Wetlands.
The Friends also purchase and restore books for the Auchmuty Library’s Rare Book Collection. Significantly, the Friends have donated ‘milestone’ books to the University libraries including the one-millionth volume.
"All members of the Friends are motivated by a love of the University and the pure enjoyment of remaining connected to it," Levi said.