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Generous philanthropist honoured

Philanthropist Mr Basil Sellers AM, once described as ‘the turnaround king’ for his ability to make a success of struggling enterprises, is on the Gold Coast this weekend to celebrate two milestones. 

Last night, the Cerum Theatre, Bond University’s largest lecture theatre, was re-named the Basil Sellers Theatre in honour and recognition of the philanthropist, who has had a successful career as a Chief Executive and major shareholder of a large number of companies as well an accomplished sportsman and former director of the NSW Cricket Association (now Cricket New South Wales).

At the naming ceremony Mr Sellers pledged $250,000 over five years to upgrade the facilities of the Basil Sellers Theatre.

On Saturday, February 9, his ties with the Gold Coast will be further strengthened with the inaugural tour at the Gold Coast City Gallery of the prestigious $100,000 Basil Sellers Art Prize, one of the richest in the country.

Launched in 2008 at the Ian Potter Museum of Art in Melbourne, the Gold Coast City Gallery will be the first venue outside Melbourne to present this exhibition, being the third in the bi-annual art prize.

The exhibition will feature a range of artists and has the theme ’15 Artists Tackle Sport’.  It will run until March 31.

Basil has a long association with Bond University reaching back to 2004 when he first provided support to the University to renovate the main theatre, and he has continued to provide additional support.

It was then named the Cerum Theatre, after a business that Basil was involved with on the Gold Coast. Now that Cerum is no longer operating on the Gold Coast, the University thought it fitting to re-name the facility in honour of Basil Sellers.

Vice-Chancellor Professor Brailsford said the theatre has the capacity to accommodate 500 people and is one of the busiest theatres on campus.

“The theatre is used on a daily basis for student lectures, forums and information sessions. It has also been widely used as a community resource hosting conferences and special events including a showcase of short films by Bond Film and Television students; the launch of the former Prime Minister The Hon John Howard’s biography; and for community events such as the launch of the Centre for Autism Spectrum Disorder,” said Professor Brailsford.

“We greatly appreciate Basil’s generosity and philanthropy to support our world class facilities for teaching and learning,” he said.

About Mr Basil Sellers AM
Basil Sellers was born in India and migrated with his family to Australia in 1948.  He was educated at Kings College, Adelaide.

Basil Sellers has been recognised as a keen art collector and patron collecting for more than 35 years. The Basil Sellers Art prize was launched in 2008. First prize of $100,000 is awarded to an Australian artist who produces a piece of art which incorporates an image of sport.

In addition to his sporting, business and art interests Basil’s generosity also extends to his birthplace, India. He funded the purchase of a property in Chennai for the education of young girls from the slums. Up to 800 students a year graduated as a result of his involvement and it is intended to expand this educational charity initiative to other cities in India of which the first is likely to be Bangalore.

Basil Sellers never went to University, but instead said he learnt his business skills on the job. After leaving school at 16 he started work at the Bank of South Australia and after two years joined a stock broking firm. 

He has been quoted as saying, “Stock broking was great fun. It was the foundation for all my experience because I was learning about raising funds and evaluating stocks – all of the things you have to do as an entrepreneur. That was my university.”

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