Vale Betty Amsden AO
The Monash University community was deeply saddened to hear of the passing of Betty Amsden AO, a valued friend and Distinguished Fellow of the University and an icon to the Victorian arts community. In addition to being one of Australia's most generous philanthropists, Betty was an active and passionate volunteer for much of her adult life.
Known as Melbourne's 'Arts Angel', Betty dedicated her life to improving the lives of others. Born in Sandringham, Betty was taught the value of giving by her parents at a young age. They told her that if she had sixpence in her pocket, she should give threepence to someone in need.
While she didn't have the opportunity to attend university herself, Betty was committed to supporting programs for young people from disadvantaged backgrounds as she believed that every person has the right to access quality education.
Her passion for educating young people led her to establish the Access Monash Betty Amsden AO Alumni Mentoring Program at Monash. The program sees 360 Monash students provide support and mentoring to more than 600 secondary school students from disadvantaged backgrounds. Around 30 of the Monash students will be selected as Betty Amsden AO Mentor Leaders, receiving financial support, leadership skills training, and one to one mentoring from our Monash alumni cohort, to guide them on a pathway towards career and life success.
Betty always felt her philanthropy was much more than the financial contribution she made. She led by example and believed it was important not just to give money but to immerse herself in the projects. It was the mentoring and support she provided which was truly at the heart of her contributions and she would always take the time to meet with Monash scholarship recipients to learn about them, listen to their aspirations and provide advice based on her own life experiences.
In 2014, Betty was made an Honorary Monash Fellow, a conferment that she was very proud of. Her passion, dedication and enthusiasm will be greatly missed by her Monash family.
Vale Betty Amsden AO