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Issues from 1998
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Quiet Philanthropy at Scotch

Dr Donaldson and Trustees

Since 1978, more than eighty boys have been the unknowing recipients of an extraordinary vision and generosity which has enabled them to benefit from a Scotch education. The Alexander Wright Wales Scholarships for students in financial need are extraordinarily generous and epitomise the true nature of educational philanthropy.

Born in 1859 into humble circumstances, Alexander Wright Wales came to Melbourne in the 1890s and became a road contractor with an interest in a quarry. In 1900 an explosion in the quarry blinded him, yet despite this tragedy and a subsequent severe depression in the building industry, he never lost spirit, nor did he cease to care for his family of seven children. He thrived in his business and died, much loved and revered, in 1939 at the age of 79.

Although not well educated, Alexander had loved reading good literature before his accident, and valued education most highly. Unable to do anything to improve his own educational lot, he understood the opportunities which Scotch College offered and wished that boys like him could be offered the chance of such an education.

Wales' eldest daughter, Mrs R A M del Cott, identified with her late father's wishes and similarly had a high regard for the educational values and opportunities offered by Scotch.

A woman of strong Christian belief, like her father, she established an educational trust in his memory through her will. Mrs del Cott died in 1975 and the first scholarships were awarded in 1978.

The trustees solely administer the trust, and the Principal submits names of potential recipients of the Alexander Wright Wales Scholarships to the trustees each year. The number of scholarships awarded each year depends upon the performance of the trust itself, but in 2002, three scholarships have been awarded to bring the total of current Alexander Wright Wales scholars at Scotch College to 11. These scholarships cover full tuition fees and extra fees associated with other activities undertaken within the school. At the discretion of the trustees, boarding fees may also be covered. Given the current school fees at the College, it is clear to see the extraordinary generosity and value of these scholarships.

One of the key features of these scholarships is their anonymity. There is no public recognition of who the scholars are, quite deliberately. This allows the boys to conduct their daily lives at Scotch without any undue or extra pressure or expectations.

The conditions attached to the scholarships are simple. It is expected that Alexander Wright Wales scholars should show good character and ability and demonstrate satisfactory academic progress within the school. It has not been uncommon for scholars to excel at Scotch in the areas of academic study, sport and citizenship and to go on to make notable contributions to society once leaving school.

In this way they have fulfilled the expectations and hopes of an extraordinary man and his kindly and charming daughter. They had no connection with Scotch College and came from humble and trying backgrounds.

Yet their belief in the education that Scotch College can provide, and their magnificent legacy to generations of boys who otherwise could never have attended Scotch, stands testament to a vision of undeniable Christian and educational philanthropy. Both Scotch and the Alexander Wright Wales scholars are grateful recipients of this beneficence.

Updated: Monday 24 June 2013