Graham Russell (BCom ’65) and his wife Joanne have been supporting UNSW Business School students for over ten years.

Through the Ena and Jack Russell scholarship, named after Graham’s parents, the couple has so far supported six Indigenous students to study business at UNSW. Now Graham and Joanne have established The Russell Family Scholarship endowment, ensuring that future generations of talented Indigenous students are able to reach their full potential at the UNSW Business School.

The Russell Family Scholarship supports Indigenous students with a scholarship for the length of their undergraduate degree. Awarded to highly motivated and talented students, the scholarship ensures financial obstacles don’t prevent students from completing their business studies.

“Receiving the Scholarship enabled me to cut down on work and really focus on my education,” says Ashley Walker, who graduated with a combined Bachelor of Commerce and Law degree in 2012.

“The support provided by this scholarship was a crucial part of my progression from university student to junior lawyer in the corporate advisory team of Gilbert Tobin, one of Australia’s top commercial law firms.”

Graham and Joanne have a long history of giving back to the community. For fifteen years, working with the St Vincent de Paul Society, they helped manage properties in eastern Sydney providing accommodation and other support to newly arrived refugees and asylum seekers.

Asked why they established the scholarship, Graham says, “My mother and father encouraged me to go to university, and I was lucky enough to do so while I was working in the Commonwealth Public Service, with my fees paid by my employer. After my mother died, I wanted to use part of her estate to help others get a university education, particularly in my old faculty. After consultation with the faculty, we agreed to offer the scholarship to Indigenous students.”

With the support of the Scholarship, Bachelor of Commerce student, Makenzie Russell was able to relocate to Sydney to study business.

“The Russell family have given me wonderful opportunities and opened doors to new and exciting experiences,” says Makenzie.

“Graduating at the end of 2015 is very exciting as I step into a new chapter of my life. I’m hoping to build a career with my business degree within the sporting industry as this is an area I’m passionate about.”

After completing her Bachelor of Commerce with the support of the Russells, Yanti Ropeyarn is now completing a Masters of Business Administration while tutoring Indigenous students at James Cook University.

"Words cannot express the generous hearts of Joanne and Graham Russell who I was fortunate enough to meet having being the recipient of the Ena and Jack Russell Scholarship while undertaking my bachelor of commerce studies at UNSW,” says Yanti.

“Their support came at a crucial time. If it wasn't for their generous donation, I wouldn't be continuing my education now. One day I want to walk in their shoes and provide much needed support so others can excel in their field of interest."

Joseph Masters is the most recent recipient of the Russell Family Scholarship. The 20 year-old, already working as a pilot with Jetstar, has begun his first semester of a combined Bachelor of Commerce and Bachelor of Aviation Management degree.

The Russell Family Scholarship endowment will ensure that future generations of talented business leaders like Ashley, Makenzie, Yanti and Joseph have access to a world class education at the UNSW Business School.