Featured News $34m support for ground-breaking JCU programs and research

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Wed, 6 Sep 2023

$34m support for ground-breaking JCU programs and research

The Roderick's bequest of $34 million into trusts will be invested into a number of programs at JCU.
The Roderick's bequest of $34 million into trusts will be invested into a number of programs at JCU.

A generous bequest of $34 million into trusts that honour two champions of Australian literature will pave the way for an exciting array of research and other programs at James Cook University.

The funds, set aside in trusts by the late Colin and Margaret Roderick to support JCU, will see the creation of:

  • a new research centre for mental health and illness,
  • a revitalisation of/significant boost to JCU’s literature studies programs,
  • an expansion of medical training programs,
  • and a boost to the Foundation for Australian Literary Studies.

The Rodericks have a long history of supporting JCU, and with the passing of Margaret Roderick in 2020, their estate will now fund these additional programs.

The couple arrived in Townsville in 1965 following Colin Roderick’s appointment as an English Professor at the then University of College of Townsville.

The Rodericks’ passion for celebrating and promoting the best of Australia’s literary minds led to the establishment of the Foundation of Australian Literary Studies (FALS) in 1966, and the Colin Roderick Literary Award the following year.

JCU Vice Chancellor Professor Simon Biggs has paid tribute to the generosity of the Rodericks, and their enduring support for the University.

“We are extremely grateful to the Rodericks’ altruism and philanthropy. Their generosity – and their legacy – will have a lasting impact at JCU,” Prof Biggs said.

“The Rodericks have been long-term supporters of JCU, and with the passing of Margaret Roderick, the full impact of their support can be realised.”

The funds will establish the Margaret Roderick Research Centre for Mental Health and Illness – an exciting, trans-disciplinary hub that will undertake research and provide new insights into mental health in our communities across a broad range of perspectives including diagnosis, management, policy and regulation.

JCU Deputy Vice Chancellor, Academy, Professor Marcus Lane said the centre will bring together university experts and external professionals across a broad range of disciplines. including psychiatry, psychology and social work, to tackle the mental health issues facing our communities.

In addition, the funds will lead to a significant revitalisation of JCU’s literature studies, with the creation of the Roderick Centre for Australian Literature and Creative Writing to be based at JCU in Townsville.

“This investment will position JCU as a hotspot for comparative research and teaching in Australian literature studies,” Prof Lane said.

“It will support comparative literature studies, research, learning and teaching, external engagement, creative writing, workshops and training.

“It will have a lasting legacy, as we boost engagement with schools to increase love of literature, school prizes.”

The Rodericks’ support for Medicine at JCU will also be expanded, with an estimated $1m to be invested every year in medical training.

FALS, already funded by the generosity of the Rodericks, will receive a substantial funding boost in 2024.

FALS Chair Dr Paul Hardisty paid tribute to the Rodericks’ legacy, generosity and dedication to advancing the cause of Australian literature.

“Since its establishment in 1966 by the late Colin and Margaret Roderick, the Foundation has gone on to become part of the fabric of Australia’s rich literary history,” he said.

“This generous bequest greatly enhances the prestigious Margaret and Colin Roderick Literary Award, placing it firmly amongst the top literary prizes in the country that recognise and celebrate our storytellers.

“That the Foundation continues to play such a vital role in celebrating Australian authors is testament to our mission objectives, one of which is to promote, foster, develop and assist studies in Australian literature and language at JCU and elsewhere.”


Media enquiries: michael.serenc@jcu.edu.au