A 50-year reunion becomes a $224K philanthropic donation

In March 2022, 50 years after the Chemical Engineering class of ‘72 graduated, a group of alumni gathered to give back to the Monash community — by funding two prizes for Australia’s future engineers.

It all began when a small group of alumni came together for a reunion in 2021. While they had initially gathered to reminisce about the ‘good old days’, they left feeling inspired by their former classmate who had designed a scholarship in her own name. While this alumna had sadly passed away at the peak of her career, her generosity left a legacy that will support generations of Australian female engineers for years to come.

Feeling inspired by her generosity, they began a conversation with the Head of Chemical & Biological Engineering about funding a potential prize or scholarship. Together, they decided to raise $240,000 to fund prestigious prizes aimed at enabling students to enrich their education by participating in experiences that complement and enhance their learning.

With the help of Monash, this group of dedicated alumni were able to reach out to the class of ‘72 Chemical Engineering alumni in their search to fund two perpetual student Entrepreneurial Prizes. Before long, they had found an engaged group of alumni who were ready to meet, reminisce and donate.

The reunion lunch they organised was bigger, better and more meaningful than ever. The class of ‘72 alumni talked about their 50-year journeys since graduating and shared memories of their time at Monash. Family members of those alumni who have sadly passed away even attended the lunch to share in the opportunity to give back. Most importantly, the alumni raised enough to establish the prizes for Monash’s future engineers.
Nearly as remarkable as this amazing achievement was the trip back to the 1970s that this reunion offered. In those days, university was free and opportunities were plentiful for engineering graduates.

Thanks to the generosity of this alumni community, the class of ‘72 will be funding two Entrepreneurial Prizes each year, indefinitely. These prizes will be open to all 3rd and 4thyear students from the Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering who have demonstrated entrepreneurial potential. Alumni will even be able to attend the end of year presentations and  share their expertise by mentoring students (based on interest).

The Entrepreneurial Prizes that have been established can provide aspiring chemical engineers with the kickstart they need in the industry. The prizes have the potential to completely change a student’s university experience and support them to achieve their ambitions in engineering. The Prize also includes a commitment from the Faculty to support entrepreneurial scholarship winners with full access to Monash's departmental facilities to use throughout their entrepreneurial projects.

For the inaugural class of ‘72 Entrepreneurial Prizes in 2022, our awardees are Evangeline Wan Wai Leong and Piet Dimitriadis.

Evangeline Wan Wai
Piet Dimitriadis

One of Evangeline's stand-out Monash highlights has been founding, as co-CTO, the student-led and globally recognised Monash Carbon Capture & Conversion team. She says she is "shocked, but proud and immensely grateful" to receive the prize, and that it will allow her to develop her entrepreneurial and leadership skills through formal training, micro-credentials, and mentor/mentee-ship with the alumni class of '72.

For Piet,  his journey into Chemical Engineering has been inspired by Fritz Harber and Carl Bosch, whose invention for converting atmospheric nitrogen into ammonia has made a huge impact on human history. Piet aims to use the prize to work towards his entrepreneurial goals in soil remediation technology, with his mission being “to divert our current industrial processes to sustainable alternatives, and to remediate destroyed ecosystems”.

The Chemical Engineering class of 1972 encourages other graduate cohorts of the discipline to consider raising funds for additional scholarships, and are happy to share their learnings.

Thank you class of ‘72 for these incredibly generous donations. With your support, we can empower the next generation of future engineering leaders. Please reach out to the Monash STEM Development team to discuss supporting this fund or others like it - donor.relations@monash.edu.