The kindness of a UNE lecturer and his wife towards an international student in the 1960s has prompted a $300,000 donation to the University of New England, which will go towards providing ongoing lectureship for classical Greek language at the well-known university in Australia.

Mr Wai Kwun Lam, from Hong Kong, was a boarder at The Armidale School in the 1960s when he met Alfred McCready and his wife Irene, and they enjoyed a lifelong friendship.

Mr Lam and his wife Pansy have made the donation in memory of the McCready’s “to whom we owe so much as a family for their many kindnesses.”

The donation will establish the A.G. and I.C. McCready Honours Scholarship for Classical Languages, to be offered for the first time in 2019, and seed a new A.G. and I.C. McCready Lectureship in Ancient Greek.

The Lams said the gift, in memory of the McCready’s, both of whom were Greek and Latin scholars and teachers, aims to be the catalyst to provide for an ongoing lectureship post for classical Greek.

Director of Advancement, Communications, and Events at UNE, Mr Robert Heather, said the donation has inspired a fundraising campaign to raise the remaining money required to create the new A.G. and I.C. McCready Lectureship in Ancient Greek as an endowed position so that the study of classical languages is firmly embedded in the University’s curriculum.

“Many universities have ongoing teaching or research roles that are supported by donations invested into an endowment fund, with the income generated supporting the salary and other costs of the position,” Mr Heather said.

“UNE has a long and proud tradition of teaching the Classics – they have been a core offering since the university commenced in 1938. We are the only regional university to offer courses in classical languages and Ancient History, and the University has long prided itself on attracting dedicated teachers and high achieving students.”

“There has been a resurgence in interest by employers and businesses in recruit people who know how to think, rather then what to think. Humanities courses such as the Classics provide students with core values and abilities that can be incredibly valuable throughout their career, and graduates in this field are increasingly sought after.”

Mr Wai Kwun Lam and his wife Pansy have previously made several donations to UNE’s Museum of Antiquities in honour of their friendship with Alfred McCready, who taught classical languages at UNE from 1958-76, and his wife Irene.

*Mr Alfred McCready

Alfred & Irene McCready

Alfred Glen McCready (1916-1996) was a lecturer who taught classical languages (Greek and Latin) at the University of New England from 1958-76. Growing up in the northern Queensland town of Mackay he was an accomplished student who went on to study at the University of Queensland where he was a Classics Gold Medallist (and met his wife Irene, who was also a classical scholar) and later lectured there before joining the staff of UNE.

Both Alfred and his wife Irene (1926-2003) shared a passion for ancient cultures and languages and were active in the Armidale community. Irene taught Latin at the New England Girls’ School and organised classes in Modern Greek for students from Greek and Cypriot families.

After Alfred’s death in 1996, Irene was instrumental in establishing the AG & IC McCready Fund to support the work of UNE’s Museum of Antiquities and make this outstanding collection more accessible to visitors, students and researchers.

Together with the generous donation by the Lam family, the University has now raised $420,000 towards the goal of $1.5 million required to create an endowed lectureship position and has approached previous donors and alumni with an interest in the areas of Classical languages, Ancient History and the Humanities to support the McCready Lectureship Appeal.

Further information about the Appeal is available on the UNE website.


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