Billionaire to donate USD 65 mn to Australian university

Canberra, Oct 14 : Australian mining billionaire Andrew Forrest and his wife Nicola will donate 65 million AU dollars (USD 61.5 million USD) to alma mater, the University of Western Australia, making it the single largest donation in Australian history, media reported Monday.

The money will be used to establish a foundation to fund scholarships, reported Xinhua citing all major news websites and the Australian Broadcast Company (ABC).

The donation will be formally announced at a gala dinner Tuesday night to be attended by the Prime Minister Tony Abbott and the West Australian Premier Colin Barnett.

The 65 million dollars will be divided into an amount of 50 million (about USD 47 million) to fund 25 international PhD students and six post-graduate researchers a year. They will be known as Forrest scholars and fellows, reported The Financial Review daily .

A further 15 million dollars (about USD 14 million USD) will be used to construct their accommodation at Forrest Hall which will be built adjacent to the university.

Forrest's wealth is derived from his 33 percent interest in Fortescue, the world's fourth largest iron ore producer. He stepped down as chief executive in 2011 to focus on his philanthropic activities.

The Forrests have pledged, following US billionaire Bill Gates and Warren Buffett, to give most of their multi-billion dollar wealth to charity and 270 million (about 255 million USD) has already been donated already through the foundation.

--IANS (Posted on 14-10-2013)

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