Dr Beryl Collier Bequest
Beyond a lifetime: the gift of education
Dr Beryl Collier, an esteemed gynaecologist and obstetrician, understood the value of quality education. She was fortunate to have had parents who could support their daughter throughout her studies.
However Beryl was conscious that not everyone has the same opportunities and support to learn as she did. Particularly through her volunteer work with the Central Coast Reconciliation Group, Beryl saw the hurdles that Indigenous people must overcome to access higher education.
Following Beryl's death, a bequest of $300,000 was given to the University of Newcastle Foundation. Her gift established the Dr Beryl Collier Indigenous Education Scholarship, which offers its recipients $6,135 plus $5,000 for HECS fees - a blessing for financially struggling students.
Long-time friend and executor of Beryl's Will, Betty Leach, said that Beryl was not one to remain idle.
"Beryl grew up at a time when education was highly respected. She believed that everyone had potential, but because of a lack of financial support, they couldn't realise that potential."
The winner of the inaugural scholarship was Joni Letson. Joni is studying psychology at the University's Central Coast campus.
"This scholarship is life changing for me. I'm a single mum, who was struggling financially. This now takes the pressure off.
"It is also recognition that I'm working hard at my studies. I've always done things the hard way but I'm so happy that other people believe in me," said Joni.
Mrs Leach said the scholarship was a practical solution that honours Beryl's respect for both education and the Indigenous community.