The recent publicity surrounding the decision to rename a school of UNSW's College of Fine Arts after the well known philanthropists and arts patrons Dr Gene Sherman and Brian Sherman has focused a good deal of attention on the role of philanthropy in funding our universities, writes Jennifer Bott, Chief Executive of the UNSW Foundation.

"The renaming of the School of Art History and Art Education was one of the ways the university decided it should acknowledge a generous gift of $2 million from the Shermans to help fund a new arts facility planned for Oxford Street as part of the redevelopment of the college campus at Paddington. The gift will also be acknowledged by naming one of the two exhibition spaces within the facility the Sherman gallery (the second gallery, which the Sherman gift will help to support, will be named after the late Nick Waterlow). However, it's the renaming of the school that has sparked concern, albeit it would seem from only a small number of staff and students," she argues in an opinion piece published in the National Times.

"As the chief executive of the UNSW Foundation, the body charged with raising philanthropic funding for the university, I make no apologies for saying that the foundation and the senior management of this university will continue to look for every opportunity to encourage private philanthropic support, as well as industry partners and corporate supporters, within strict protocols. These contributions are vital to supporting scholarships, research, academic leadership and capital investment."

Read Jennifer Bott's full opinion piece here.