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Memorial grant captures the essence of giving

by Kelly Stone

Grant winner Mark Murray at City West campus.People give for all sorts of reasons – and a gift that supports education is a gift that keeps on giving.

SA Water recently moved to establish a memorial grant in honour of Shahid Talpur, a valued employee who tragically passed away last year. He is survived by his wife and three daughters.

The $2500 SA Water Shahid Talpur Memorial Grant is offered to a passionate and high achieving UniSA student studying Information Technology (IT).

SA Water recruitment programs coordinator Emma Hale said Talpur was a popular and knowledgeable network analyst who represented the SA Water Information Systems team with passion and genuine love of his job.

Hale said Talpur’s excellent technical skills and commitment to his job had motivated SA Water to establish the grant in his memory.

“SA Water decided to offer the SA Water Shahid Talpur Memorial Grant to a UniSA student studying in Shahid’s field this year,” Hale said.

“We’re delighted the grant has been awarded to UniSA Bachelor of IT student Mark Murray (pictured above). Mark is a very worthy recipient, being a high achieving student and having a sincere passion for the IT industry.”

Murray, 52, said he was honoured to receive the grant, which would provide some assistance with finances, while he balances study, work and supporting his family.

“This scholarship also shows that someone independent has acknowledged my study efforts and it will help me stand out in the crowd when I graduate and look for a job in the IT industry,” said Murray, who is in the final year of his degree, majoring in software development.

Murray's previous work background was as a chemical engineer and most recently as a winemaker, making sparkling wine, until he was retrenched.

He decided to make a career change and chose IT, which he is passionate about and he believes it suits his logical and analytical style.

“I seem to have found my niche as I’m doing well academically, enjoying the learning and the challenge and having a busy, but exciting, time,” he said.

“Once I finish my degree, I want to work with the business sector in either application development or web-based applications. I have worked in a few industries and with different companies and I can see there are a lot of opportunities to enhance business processes. IT can improve the way business operates.”

Murray feels lucky to receive the Shahid Talpur Memorial Grant and is enthusiastic about a long-term career in the industry when he graduates.

UniSA Vice Chancellor Professor Peter Høj said over the year, around 3100 students will benefit from 154 different scholarships and grants schemes worth more than $3.8 million.

Prof Høj said donations received by the University play an important role in helping students meet the costs of university study, and can also provide chances for students to benefit from international travel or to undertake postgraduate or other research projects.

“Without significant and sustained generosity from our corporate and private donors, our students would miss out on the invaluable educational opportunities and experiences these donations afford,” he said.

Scholarships and Grants Ceremony

Disadvantaged students and those with outstanding academic ability received important financial assistance towards their studies at the June 2012 Scholarships and Grants Ceremony.

The ceremony acknowledges generous support from corporate and private donors that is helping many UniSA students achieve their academic dreams.

This year’s ceremony celebrated 120 awards, valued at more than $600,000.

Pro Vice Chancellor: International and Development, Mr Nigel Relph, who hosted the ceremony, said the awards all contributed in different ways to advancing opportunity in higher education.

“The University is very grateful for the ongoing support of its donors and partners,” Mr Relph said.

“I am pleased to report that 16 new scholarship schemes are being offered in 2012, which through philanthropic support has increased the number of scholarship schemes available to students by 74 per cent since 2008.

“This is truly a reflection on the generous support we receive from both private and corporate donors.”

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