Bond University will host an official opening of the Balnaves Foundation Multimedia Learning Centre today in honour of their long-time, generous benefactor, Dr Neil Balnaves, AO.
A former Bond University Council Member and now Member of the Board of Trustees, Neil put forward his Foundation’s name, his expertise and a grant of $1.5million to create the popular, technology-rich centre 18 months ago.
Breaking new ground in using multiple technologies and making innovative space for teaching, learning and research, the $3.4 million student facility incorporates a laptop bar, study booths, digital art displays and collaborative learning rooms with state-of-the-art equipment.
The Centre also incorporates a multimedia gallery showcasing the work of Film, Multimedia and Games Design students and its foyer is graced by two prestigious sculptures by Australia’s pre-eminent sculptor the late Robert Klippel – also granted to Bond by the Balnaves Foundation.
A successful business leader, philanthropist and father, Neil created the Balnaves Foundation in 2006, following a serious boating accident in 2002 that precipitated what he calls a ‘life rethink’ and led him to retire from his 40-year media and entertainment career to begin his new chapter as a philanthropist.
Selling his business, Southern Star, which he had grown to become Australia’s largest television production company, he created the Balnaves Foundation, which now disperses more than $2 million a year to support young Australians through education, medicine and the arts.
Neil says the $1.5million gift to Bond to create the Multimedia Learning Centre is a reflection of his passion for education, the arts, and supporting young Australians.
“To be involved in something so cutting edge was a real buzz for me. We’d all talked about how it was going to be, but what was really stunning, what knocked my socks off, was when I first walked in there I said, ‘This is even better than I could have expected’.
“The execution, the idea of consulting Alumni, staff and students so it was something that they were all personally involved in, I think that made the Multimedia Learning Centre not an expression of outside individuals, but the University’s own creation,” Neil said.
In a mark of his tremendous generosity and ongoing support for Bond University, Neil will use today’s launch to announce a further donation of $150,000, to be provided over three years and matched by the University, to ensure the maintenance and continued advancement of the Centre’s cutting-edge technology.
Bond University Vice-Chancellor Professor Robert Stable expressed his thanks to Neil and the Balnaves Foundation.
“On behalf of the Bond community, I would like to express our deep appreciation to the Balnaves Foundation, and to Neil himself, who has committed himself tirelessly to help ensure Bond’s place as a world class university,” said Professor Stable.
“The very generous and much appreciated initial donation, which made the creation of the Balnaves Foundation Multimedia Learning Centre possible, together with the ongoing commitment towards its maintenance, will ensure this fantastic facility continues to be an enriching Bond experience for all our students,” he said.