Graduate House Monday Dinner Seminars

An interesting line-up of speakers at the Graduate House “Dinner Seminar” series has dug deep into considerations about the future society into which our postgraduates will be emerging.

In Week 1 Jordan Baker, Chief Reporter at the SMH, spoke about the future of news and the future of education. Jordan was previously the senior education reporter and has often written about St Paul’s and the other colleges. Jordan focussed on the future of educational choice, government funding, and the need for more excellent teachers. 

In Week 2 Frances Foster-Thorpe, the founding director of NSW’s strategic foresight team – Shaping Futures and Data Insights, spoke about shaping the vision for the future within NSW Government. Her lifelong interest is in public policy and how the public service can be evidence-informed, effective and accountable. As a strategic policy professional, Frances has worked on complex, national reforms ranging from the NDIS, education, water policy and data for the Commonwealth, NSW Government and (briefly) as a consultant. As a senior executive over the past five years, Frances has become focused about how the public service can transform itself into the capable and trust-worthy institution needed to tackle the multiple challenges of our times. Her presentation raised many questions about ethics and public perception of politics and leadership and the important part university research can play in developing trust and respect for future governments.

Alumnus Angus Dawson (at Paul’s 1991-94) gave the Week 4 Seminar. He engaged those present with a global perspective on assumption versus fundamental belief in a world full of rapid change by asking the audience for their perspectives on WW2, the Cold War and COVID-19. Angus is Senior Partner at McKinsey & Company and is the former Managing Partner for McKinsey in Australia and New Zealand. He is one of the thought leaders at McKinsey and used world-wide resources from statistics to primary sources to well-researched scholarly articles that define the world in which we live and what leadership is needed. He shared his insights on where the world is going and what our future standard of living will look like. 

These seminars are very popular, drawing together post graduates, undergraduates, and staff. The discussion and debate kicked off at the seminars continues at formal dinner in the Refectory and after dinner back in the Chalmers Common Room.

Football or Soccer – the most popular ball game

On the heels of the FIFA Women’s World Cup, Intercol Soccer was being held. Football fever had certainly settled at St Paul’s for August; the Matildas were making history, the games all being broadcast on the big screen in the Salisbury, and the Rawson and Rosebowl teams were flying. Support for both teams was huge. The hard work given to both campaigns was evident with the men notching up their fifth consecutive campaign victory, and the women finishing the tournament in a valiant 3rd place.

RAWSON: Paul’s 3 def John’s 0; Paul’s 3 def Wesley 0; Pauls 2 def Andrew’s 0

ROSEBOWL: Andrew’s 2 def Paul’s 1; Pauls 1 def Wesley 0; Women’s 1 def Paul’s 0; Paul’s 1 def Sancta 0; John’s 1 def Paul’s 0.

Congratulations to the St Paul’s College Rawson Football team on their win. This brings the Rawson Cup into contention with Andrew’s on 21 and Paul’s on 17 points. With Basketball, Tennis and Athletics to go there is great hope in a Rawson Cup victory for 2023.

An Academic College – Semester One “the proof of the pudding”

Our Freshers have their first semester of uni under their belts, our Seniors have made a great transition to their increasingly demanding academic workloads, and the results are in!  The Senior Tutor, Katie Newcombe reports: “the overall picture is an exceptionally positive one.” The average Semester Average Mark (SAM) for the College was 72.29% with the Freshers scoring an average SAM of 74.3%. Over 43% of all students received a Distinction or High Distinction average – an impressive figure indeed!

Our top-ten undergraduate performers were: Mr Ed Taylor (Bachelor of Engineering/Arts II), Mr Ben Varela (Bachelor of Engineering/Bachelor of Science I), Mr Austin Markwick (Bachelor of Engineering/Bachelor of Science I), Ms Bella Taylor (Bachelor of Science (Medical Science I), Mr Aidan Riethmuller (Bachelor of Engineering/Bachelor of Commerce III), Mr William Defina (Bachelor of Engineering/Bachelor of Commerce I), Mr Jack Bouvier (Bachelor of Advanced Computing II), Mr Miku Sugimura (Bachelor of Science (Medical Science) I), Mr Andrew Brennan (Bachelor of Engineering/Bachelor of Science I) and Assistant Senior Tutor, Mr Riley Jones (Bachelor of Advanced Computing/Bachelor of Science III).

From this list, it’s clear our budding engineers and scientists gave quite a showing last semester. In these difficult degrees, these results are seriously impressive and we are very proud of these students’ hard work. Last semester, with the help of our fantastic senior engineering students, we also reformed the engineering College tutorial offering with all first year students having a College mentor for their various streams (mechatronic, mechanical, civil, etc) as well as for their professional engineering experience programme which we hope contributed to these outstanding results. Five out of our top 10 performers were also Freshers – indicating the College’s academic future is in safe hands!

For Graduate House, students studying taught courses (around 1/3rd of Graduate House) received an average SAM of 70%. We have a wonderfully diverse range of taught courses in Graduate House this year – from the Juris Doctor, to Masters of Social Work, to a Masters of Architecture. It was also fantastic to see our research students all have a successful and enjoyable start to their degrees – from PhDs to Honours projects!

As usual, 1st year medical students and allied health students had a busy semester working through their introductory blocks in the muscular skeletal system, the respiratory system, and cardiology, and learnt clinical skills such as taking patient histories. Our Graduate House medical students are also using their knowledge to help out undergraduates this semester, tutoring undergraduate medical science and helping aspiring medical students ace the GAMSAT. Within Graduate House, our comprehensive medical tutorial programme, for all years 1 and 2 learning blocks, continues under the guidance of our Assistant Senior Tutor (Medicine), Meheer Zaveri.

Other good news for the student body was the return to in-person exams for most students in Semester 1. Technical issues in exams, and the stress which comes with them, were significantly reduced. For some students, the first in-person exams during their university career was an adjustment! But we are ably supported by our army of capable tutors and other seniors who provided tips and tricks to survive exam season.

Semester 1 also saw another successful semester of in-College tutoring. 675 tutorials took place across College in Arts, Languages, Commerce, Economics, Engineering, Health Science, Law, Mathematics, Medicine, Nursing, Programming, Education and Life and Physical Sciences. Assistant Senior Tutor, Riley Jones, reports: “Through the college tutorial programme, Seniors and Freshers have worked together to foster an academic-driven environment.” 

In the early weeks of Semester 1, Riley encouraged our students to see tutorials as a great way for Freshers to get to know Seniors, benefit from their experiences both at university and in College, and feel more quickly at home at St Paul’s. The Freshers’ commitment to the tutorial programme has been impressive with over 90% of students making use of the tutorial programme. Our students report that tutors: “go the extra mile in helping others understand concepts”, and are “extremely encouraging and set [students] on the right track to achieve excellent results.” Of one tutor, a student said, “Quintessential Pauline. Puts others before himself.”

We are so proud of all the young people who teach in our tutorial programme – more than tutors, they are wonderful academic leaders and role models. College tutorials began for Sem 2 this week, and we’ve already logged 26 tutorials! So we’re off to another great start.

Judged on Semester 1 results, the St Paul’s community is committed to academic excellence: “The proof is in the pudding!”

Summer Soiree

A perfect winter’s day for the Parents’ Lunch on the Lawn

To celebrate the students’ return to College for Semester 2, we invited all parents to attend a lunch in the Quad on Sunday 30 July. It was wonderful to see so many parents come along, eager to catch up with old friends, meet new ones and enjoy a relaxed lunch on the lawn. We were spoilt with a glorious sunny day and our St Paul’s caps sold out before lunch. Lunch turned out to be a long one, with many parents enjoying the chance to visit the new renovated Salisbury Bar after lunch.

This event was also an opportunity to tell everyone a bit more about the new Waddy Performance Centre and gym expansion, that is due to open later this semester. The Warden Spoke about the importance of philanthropy throughout the history of St Paul’s, and current parent and Old Pauline, Stephen McMillan, shared with us his own story of supporting the College through his generous philanthropy over many years. Both emphasized the important role that all supporters of the College play in making a fundamental difference to the lives of future students, learning and leadership.

If you would like to make a contribution to the Waddy Centre building fund*, please click here.

*All donations are tax deductable.

Arnott Years Remembered

By the second half of the 20th Century, at the time of the College centenary, St Paul’s was a substantial and integral part of the University community. These years were a time of change and growth. By the mid-sixties, enrolments at the University of Sydney had increased to more than 15,000, and applications to St Paul’s outstripped supply many times over. The 120-150 College residents were, for the most part, undergraduates at the University of Sydney, and many of these young men came from outside Sydney. St Paul’s gave them a home away from home, just like it does today.

These post war years were overseen by Rev’d Dr (later Bishop) Felix Arnott CMG, Warden from 1946 to 1963. The changes and additions made during the Arnott years have left a lasting mark on the College, thanks to the leadership of Warden Arnott, the vision and commitment of the fellows, notably Charles Salisbury, and the contribution of the Paulines, including the 634 Freshers that came to College across these years.

Some notable changes during these years were; the creation of Mummers drama group and the Wine Cellar club, the opening of Dennison Wing, the Chapel and the Arnott Wing, the passing of the much loved Matron, Miss Amy Hart, and the removal of the less loved temporary structure in the Quad, known as the Hut.

Recently we invited the Freshers from the time of Warden Arnott to visit College and catch up with fellow Paulines from those foundational years. We were pleased to welcome 24 Paulines, accompanied by 11 partners, back to their old home for a reunion lunch on Sunday 16 July.

Their visit started with a tour of one of the new buildings, Graduate House. There was great interest in the current students and the future of the College and our guests enjoyed meeting current students Alex Back and Sharon Chou who were a great help conducting the tour and explaining their involvement in the life of the College.

It was then time for a few drinks and much catching up in the Quad before heading into the Junior Common Room for lunch. We were so grateful to have Freshers from 1949 up to 1962 in attendance and it was wonderful to hear their stories and reminiscences. We were delighted that during lunch Tony Scott (1957 Fresher), and several others spoke about the more memorable events of their time at Paul’s

Most importantly, it was wonderful to see our Pauline’s met again with old friends from their youth, and talked like it was only yesterday that they were residents at back at College.

Paulines of 1993 – 30 Years On

A rather exclusive group gathered in the JCR for a 30 year reunion dinner on Saturday 15 July. The Freshers of 1993 are actually a large group – Matt Gerber, one of the organisers, took us through the whole 1993 list and discussed who was where and who was doing what. It was pointed out that, surprisingly and happily, all of them are still in ‘good shape’. In classic Pauline tradition the room was loud with stories of the 90’s and Matt read a fitting message from the Warden of their time, Revd Dr Ivan Head, who has been undergoing hospital treatment and was unable to join them. Ivan wished them good fortune with their lives, families and future.

Great interest was shown in the future of the College and half the group visited the McMillan Building to have a quick look at Graduate House.  Many of our three-decades-out Paulines now have sons and daughters about to emerge from secondary school and there was some hope that a Sydney Uni degree might be selected and residency at Paul’s might be possible. Many of the cohort were committed with school holiday family activities or are living overseas and sent their apologies.

A key discussion, particularly afterwards in the Salisbury Bar, was how glad they were to have been at Paul’s and not anywhere else. Their time at college – “some of the best years of my life” – forged amazing friendships, founded their working lives and led to many-a-romance from across the fence at Womens and further a-field at Sancta. They were impressed with the new-look Salisbury which we remind everyone is operating as a cafe from 7.30 am weekdays and the bar opens at 7.30pm Monday to Thursday and can be accessed from the back drive between Physics and Wesley.

Paulines of 1963 – 60 Years On

A group of Freshers of 1963 and a number of their spouses gathered on 15 July at Paul’s for their 60 year reunion. This was more than a reminiscence of the past, it was a celebration of the current and future College.

The tour of the buildings and grounds for them was firstly a ‘trip down memory lane’ seeing the Arnott Wing which was brand new and shiny in 1963! They told us that as Freshers they were not allocated rooms in the new building and had to share rooms in Blacket and Radford – how times have changed! They were impressed to see the refurbishments and new facilities for co-res students and remembered the Arnott Tutorial Room as the “TV Room” with one 15-inch black and white TV for the whole College.

The Chapel was a highlight for them too. It was also a new facility along with Chapel Court rooms. Many had not heard the Flentrop pipe organ, which was installed in 1972 thanks to the generosity of the Albert Family, and Richard Morgan gave an impromptu performance for them. The 21st Century buildings impressed the gathering where they saw the Chalmers Common Room, the Refectory and then stayed on the Roof Top Terrace and Lee Common Room for drinks.

Lunch in the Dining Hall began with Grace by the Warden and a speech by Prof Nick Cowdery AO KC, one of the organisers of the day. He reminisced about their time in College, with some great stories of past ‘exploits’ and the reunions the group has been having ever since – a regular gathering at a restaurant in Sydney’s Chinatown and a few key reunions back at Paul’s, the last one being 20 years ago. The genuine interest in the current students was enhanced by the support of Alex Back and Sharon Chau who were a great help conducting the tour and explaining their involvement in the life of the College. We had many questions about numbers of students and the layout of the new buildings, and “how can we support the Waddy Centre?”



Old Treasures

It is remarkable what old treasures there are out in the Pauline alumni community. We recently received a wonderful gift of memorabilia from the family of the late Dr Edward Summerbell (in College 1944-47). These 1940s college photos, in good condition, were items that were some of his cherished mementos of his time at Paul’s.

The St Paul’s College Archive is a great repository for historical material relating to the lives of the people who came and went from 1858 to the present. We are always grateful for donations of documents, photos and artefacts pertinent to the life of the College.

Eisteddfod Win for Choir

On 20 June members of the St Paul’s Chapel Choir entered the Sydney Eisteddfod Vocal Ensemble and were awarded 1st Place! They now proceed to the Championships next Tuesday evening at the Sydney Town Hall, which will be broadcast on The Australian Digital Concert Hall.

The College community congratulates the Director of Music, Jack Stephens, and those members of the Choir who performed.

Pictured (l to r): Matthew Ren, Molly Ryan, Michael Burden, Professor John Pollard AM (sponsor), Donald Mayes OAM (sponsor), Jack Stephens, Alison Tung