Faculty of Health

A generous bequest encourages women to pursue the field of neuroscience

Female students will be encouraged to consider the field of neuroscience or neurosurgery, thanks to a generous bequest to the University of Tasmania.

A $290, 000 scholarship was provided by the late Dianne Eerden, who in the ultimate gesture of generosity, also willed her body to the University’s bequest program for the study of the rare head and neck cancer she lost her life to.

Ms Eerden, who also battled splenic marginal zone Lymphoma, hoped her estate and her life would better serve humanity.

Before she died Ms Eerden said;

“In the big scheme of things it is but a drop, but let it fall where I wish and cause ever widening ripples,”

“I want to encourage a young person who has their mind set on a future in medicine, neurological cancer and research or blood cancers.

“I want what I have worked for and left to help a young female person with their heart set on improving the lives and living prospects of other Australians”.

Ms Eerden, who was only 66 years-old when she passed away, was born and raised in Adelaide, South Australia.

In later years she sailed to Tasmania, to retire to the Huon Valley town of Cygnet.

Throughout her working career, Ms Eerden took up many roles involving caring for others including fitting shoes for children with foot disorders, working as an aged care nurse and taking riding classes for children living with disabilities.

Ms Eerden also had a strong creative side which led to her love of making character dolls, painting, pottery, writing poetry and to complete a Creative Writing course at the University.

Young Dawkins, Executive Director, Advancement, and head of the University of Tasmania Foundation said the scholarship would go a great way to encouraging top female students to consider careers in the sciences.

“The drive to attract and then retain more top women students pursuing careers in the sciences is a global effort,” he said.

“This bequest from Dianne Eerden is just the sort of practical support that will help promising University of Tasmania students reach their fullest potential.”

This Dianne Eerden Elite Research Scholarship was introduced earlier this year, with the successful applicant set to be announced shortly.

The scholarship provides $9,500 a year living allowance for three years for the successful applicant.

Due to the significant amount of the gift, Ms Eerden’s bequest will support the scholarship in perpetuity, making lasting legacy for talented female neuroscience students.

For information regarding making a gift in your Will to the University contact Gaye French, Advancement Coordinator for the University of Tasmania Foundation at: Gaye.french@utas.edu.au