Earlier this year, Lizzy Barnes-Keoghan found herself at Monument Valley in the United States, watching the sunrise and reflecting on her future and her past.
Several years earlier, she’d moved from Hobart to Melbourne to study Biomedicine at the University of Melbourne, fulfilling a goal and a dream she’d held since she was 14.
Watching the sunrise, she knew all she had achieved would not have been possible if she had not moved into Janet Clarke Hall (JCH) or received a May Dunn Scholarship.
“College gave me so much more than a place to sleep and make friends. If not for JCH… I would have left the University in first year and gone back to Tassie because I was finding everything pretty darn hard,” Lizzy said.
Getting through my first year of living away from home and completing the first year of a competitive degree was possible because of the JCH community – there was always something to come back to and something else to become involved in.
It was during her second and third years at the college that Lizzy received the May Dunn scholarship. It was a scholarship set up 17-years ago when an unexpected benefactor, Charles Dunn, walked through the college’s doors. He was a stranger with no previous connection to the college but very quickly became a huge supporter of Janet Clarke Hall with its strong academic focus and excellent reputation.
Mr Dunn decided to name the scholarship in honour of his beloved deceased wife, May, who worked as a nurse but without the privilege of an education. He was determined that the scholarships be used to help female graduates at JCH. And last year, his generosity reached another level with an extraordinary $5million bequest to fund the scholarships in perpetuity.
The scholarship changed Lizzy’s life. It took the pressure off her to find work, and allowed her to focus wholeheartedly on her study and herself.
The generous financial support allowed me to experiment and learn about myself. It was through JCH and the May Dunn Scholarship that I started to understand how I wanted to live life.
She finished her Doctor of Physiotherapy at the University in 2017.
“I have no idea where my future will take me and am equal parts scared and excited by that. I do know, however, that I want to get people moving. I also know that I believe in the power of education and that my experience at JCH will never be far from me,” she said.