Group’s fundraising help realise student’s dream

An Australian alumni group’s fundraising efforts have helped realise first-class Harvard graduate and lightweight rower Jack Kelly’s dreams of studying at Oxford.

The Oxford University Society (OUS) of South Australia raised more than $10,000 to help support Jack to study for a DPhil in Engineering Science at St Edmund Hall by arranging a quiz night and silent auction in Adelaide.

The fundraising event at a packed Adelaide Rowing Club was backed by Jack’s old school, Prince Alfred College in South Australia, and family, friends and supporters as well as the Adelaide Rowing Club itself. OUS South Australia committee members helped find auction items, calling on wineries, businesses and politicians for help and donations.

Helen Ujvary (former-President of OUS South Australia) and committee member George Ujvary provided Jack (pictured above) with additional sponsorship support, whilst other committee members also provided mentoring and careers advice, as well as access to international contacts and relevant influential figures in the field.

Donations, entry tickets, a raffle and the auction helped raised more than $10,000 towards Jack’s tuition and expenses.

OUS South Australia President Prof Hilary Winchester said: “Fundraising isn’t our usual practice, but we thought Jack was a worthy cause and we were pleased to help support him.
“We know in comparison to three years’ international student fees, accommodation and living expenses that $10,000 doesn’t go far.
“However, it’s good to know that, in combination with others, we may have been able to help him realise his ambitions.”

Despite family financial difficulties, Jack became the fifth generation Kelly to attend Prince Alfred College in South Australia and it was there his love of academia and rowing blossomed.

He went on to study for a BSc in Engineering Sciences at Harvard, where he also joined the prestigious rowing team. He gained selection onto the senior Australian Rowing Team in 2018, competing in the World Cup regattas in Austria and Switzerland.

Jack moved to Oxford in August and is now buckling down to his studies and training hard for the rowing season.

He said: "I am truly grateful to OUS South Australia, who initialised the idea of having a fundraiser to help support my DPhil studies at Oxford.
“As an international student it is difficult to provide a financial guarantee with limited funding streams available to you, and having a fundraiser gave me the confidence to do so.
“For this coming year, I can now set my sights on my academic goals and sporting goals within Oxford which may not have been possible without the support of the Oxford alumni society."

Read more about Jack Kelly here.