Inspired by his own university experience, leading funds manager Matt McLennan has donated $1 million to The University of Queensland Law School to provide students with collaborative learning spaces.
The UQ alumnus and Head of Global Value for First Eagle Investment Management in the US made the gift to help shape the development of tomorrow’s legal professionals.
Mr McLennan said creating the right environment where talented students could collaborate would foster engagement and creative thinking.
“If we can create a world-class facility, it’s going to attract the best students, the best staff and ultimately, it’s going to produce the best law school in Australia and elevate UQ Law in the global rankings,” Mr McLennan said.
“As I think back over the last decade, the combination of digitalisation and the globalisation of education has produced a much richer learning environment and one that requires, I think, more collaboration skills,” he said.
“Some of my fondest memories at UQ were moments of collaboration – working with other students to solve complicated problems or working with a great thesis supervisor to come up with an independent point of view to help address an issue.”
Following the recent refurbishment of the law school, students are benefiting from interactive breakout areas, greater access to technology and a more comprehensive range of library resources.
Mr McLennan praised the work of the Law School’s Pro Bono Centre, saying it provided challenging experiences to students.
“The Pro Bono Centre enables students to volunteer their time and to hone their legal skills to help social justice causes,” he said.
UQ Vice-Chancellor Professor Peter Høj said the generous gift supported the University’s vision to give law students the most relevant and engaging legal education.
“Matt shares our vision of putting students at the heart of everything we do and, by partnering with UQ, he has helped many of our talented students reach their potential,” Professor Høj said.
“We are grateful that Matt has decided to invest in the future of law at UQ and give so generously to his alma mater,” he said.
Mr McLennan said his passion for supporting education stemmed from his love of lifelong learning.
“I think learning has played a big role in what’s given me joy over the years and I think to be a supporter of that is only natural,” he said.
“I’ve seen learning lift students from poverty and transform their lives and their families’ lives.
“It is truly rewarding and a joy to give back, and I would encourage others to consider taking a similar step.
“One of the things that UQ does well is that it doesn’t just give students the content they need, but it gives them leadership capacity.”
Mr McLennan has a Bachelor of Commerce (Hons) and a Master of International Commercial Law from UQ.
He is also a board member of Not If, When – the Campaign to Create Change, which is UQ’s first philanthropic campaign.
In addition to his donation to the Law School, Mr McLennan has supported UQ through the establishment of the Australian Institute for Business and Economics, and a joint scholarship with UQ graduate Richard Howes to encourage teamwork between high-performing Honours students from the UQ Business School and School of Economics.
UQ’s Law School ranks 36th in the world in the 2018 QS World University Rankings by Subject and 54th in the world in the Times Higher Education World University Subject Rankings.