Mr John Leece AM was awarded an Honorary Fellowship on Thursday, 4 May, in a ceremony presided over by Chancellor Belinda Hutchinson AC.
“John and his wife, Anne, began their longstanding support of our early career researchers at the University of Sydney has contributed greatly to their interests, welfare, and achievements – it’s through their generosity that some of Australia’s brightest minds have contributed transformative research to healthcare in Australia and the world,” said Chancellor Hutchinson.
“It’s an honour to recognise the Leece family’s generous gifts and work at the University of Sydney, which has made it possible for many researchers to realise their talents.”
Mr Leece and his wife, Ms Anne Leece, began their longstanding support for early career researchers at the University with their annual ‘top-up grants’ in 2005.
In 2017, they pledged a $250,000 gift to establish the John and Anne Leece Family Endowment Fund for early career researchers and postdoctoral students in the field of medicine to conduct research at the Westmead Institute of Medical Research – which was followed by their additional gift of $369,000 to establish the John and Anne Leece Family Fellowship, which funds research by the University in the field of type one diabetes.
In 2022, their Family Fellowship increased its commitment to enlarging educational opportunities for early career researchers through an additional gift of $150,000 and inaugurating the John and Anne Leece Family Prize, which speaks to their dedication to ensuring those starting their research careers have the backing and encouragement they need to prosper.
Their generous gifts testify to their belief that early career researchers represent the future of scientific exploration. Through their dedication, they’ve attracted and retained talented and innovative young researchers who are the future of healthcare.
It’s an honour to recognise the Leece family’s generous gifts and work at the University of Sydney, which has made it possible for many researchers to realise their talents.
The Leece’s friendship with renowned Sydney Businessman and Philanthropist, the late Dr Peter Weiss AO, who was diagnosed with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease in 2012, led to Dr Weiss’ donation of four million dollars to the University of Sydney researchers based at the Westmead Institute of Medical Research to investigate new ways of preventing and treating chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, a decision inspired after discussions about philanthropy with Mr Leece.
Additionally, Mr Leece is a Founding Trustee of the Charlie Perkins Children and Students Trust, which was established in 2000, and he is also a Founding Trustee of the Charlie Perkins Scholarships Trust, which launched in 2010 and is committed to delivering scholarships to the University of Oxford and the University of Cambridge. The scholarship has seen 27 Indigenous students attend Oxford and Cambridge.
The Leece family’s exceptional support for the University has nurtured the careers of 50 research scientists for almost 20 years, which has contributed to our commitment to attracting and retaining the best and brightest research talents, that we share with our affiliates, including the Westmead Institute of Medical Research.