Francine McNiff’s brilliant legal career began at Monash University Law School in 1966 and included becoming a lecturer in law, a renowned criminal barrister and the first woman in Victoria to be appointed to a judicial post.
After her death in 2015, she bequeathed Monash $3.8 million to establish a Chair in Criminal Jurisprudence and a scholarship fund to support students studying criminology.
Recipients of the Francine V McNiff Scholarship
For Criminology PhD candidate Anthony Vitale (pictured on the right), the scholarship helps continue a transformative legacy in criminal justice. His PhD focuses on developing best-practice standards of countering violent extremism through a humane approach to offender rehabilitation.
“As a mature-age student, the scholarship has allowed me to start the transition into academia from public service and offender management,” he says. “Francine made significant contributions to the legal system in Victoria, both as an esteemed lawyer and as a woman,” says Vitale. “Continuous improvement in the justice system obviously mattered to her. I’m happy that I can contribute to her vision in my own unique way.”
Laura Vidal, another recipient of the Francine V McNiff Scholarship, is researching the experience of young women in Australia impacted by forced marriage, work that has the potential to transform Australia’s response to the issue.
“Without the financial support of this scholarship I would not have been able to commence this research and so contribute to safeguarding the rights of these women and girls affected by forced marriage,” says Laura. “Entering into postgraduate study was not something that I had previously thought possible. The scholarship has allowed me to take this next step in my career.”
Learn more about how you can support education and research by leaving a bequest to Monash.