Our Old Melburnian community has an important role to play in supporting and mentoring younger graduates. The Old Melburnians Dick Cotton Fellowship is one example of this process in action.
Named in honour of medical researcher Professor Dick Cotton OAM (OM 1958), the annual Fellowship supports an Old Melburnian under 30 to undertake a community service project.
The Fellowship recognises Dick’s contribution to the Old Melburnians Council, and reflects his values of commitment, concern for the underdog, enthusiasm for life and desire to make a difference.
2020 recipient Olivia Vizard
Olivia (Liv) Vizard (OM 2015) used her Fellowship to establish a radio broadcasting skills program in Tennant Creek, where she works as a teacher.
“We invited professionals from 8CCC and the ABC to teach students about radio formats, broadcasting technology, public speaking and storytelling,” Liv explains. “When you live in a small, isolated town, your voice needs amplifying if you are to be heard.”
“In 2021, Tennant Creek High School Radio was the only show on the airwaves from our remote community,” Liv adds. “It now airs weekly in Alice Springs and across the vast Barkly Tablelands, giving students a platform to share their stories, interests, information and opinions. It’s an ongoing source of personal and community pride.”
2019 recipient Shaun Edwards
Larrakia man and former AFL player Shaun Edwards (OM 2011) used his Fellowship to create House of Darwin, a 100% Indigenous-owned social enterprise that delivered $20,000 worth of sports and learning equipment to Arnhem Land communities in 2019.
“We were motivated knowing we may just inspire the next Australian sports champion,” says Shaun. “We travelled over 3000 kilometres of dirt roads, creek beds and highways to deliver the goods.”
“Sport is a universal language that transcends geographies, ideologies and cultures,” he adds. “It provides discipline and positivity that permeates players’ lives, and opens doors for people from all walks of life to excel. I left Arnhem Land more inspired than ever.”
Since completing their Fellowships, Shaun (who works in his local community as a graphic designer) and Liv have been in contact with each other and are collaborating to produce t-shirts custom designed by Tennant Creek High School students.
2021 The Old Melburnians Dick Cotton Fellowship applications
Applications for the 2021 Fellowship are now open and will close Monday 2 August 2021. This year the projects that support Indigenous communities will be prioritised. Old Melburnian Council member Anton Leschen (OM 1983) leads this initiative and he is willing to share his expertise with interested applicants. Further information is available at mgs.vic.edu.au/om-fellowship