18 December 1997

A dedicated group of volunteers at the University of Queensland has given away more than $1 million in fellowships since 1972.

The money has been raised by members of the Australian Federation of University Women Queensland Inc (AFUWQ) through academic dress hire.

The Fellowship Fund branch owns and runs the hire business which stocks around 1000 gowns and another 3500 hoods and caps (trenchers) which are worn by students for graduation ceremonies.

Basic academic dress hire costs $35 and from this income, plus the sale of gowns and revenue from investments, the Fellowship Fund is now able to distribute around $130,000 through fellowships for women every year.

Fund president Lesley Bryant said the number of fellowships had increased steadily over the years to seven. However, with an average of 250 to 300 top quality applications each time it was never easy choosing the successful candidates.

One fellowship annually is reserved for a woman planning to study at the University of Queensland; other recipients may be at the University, at other institutions or abroad. Last year four fellowships went to University of Queensland women studying overseas.

This Friday (December 19), at the last of the 1997 graduations, the group will mark its 25th anniversary with an informal function at 4pm in the foyer of the Forgan Smith building.

The branch has around 120 members, of whom about half regularly help at graduation ceremonies, and many are expected to attend on Friday. Mrs Bryant said some of the present fellowship holders would also be there.

For more information, contact Lesley Bryant (telephone 3352 6869).