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Feeney Way: UQ landmark to honour philanthropist

Resource type: News

UQ (University of Queensland) News | [ View Original Source (opens in new window) ]

A University of Queensland landmark has been named in honour of extraordinary philanthropist Charles ‘Chuck’ Feeney, whose generosity permanently changed Australia’s research landscape and led to many research discoveries.

Extending the breadth of UQ’s historic Forgan Smith Building at UQ’s entrance, Feeney Way recognises the long-time UQ supporter who gave away his fortune and generously helped to establish research institutes across Australia.

UQ Vice-Chancellor Professor Deborah Terry said Mr Feeney had given almost $550 million to projects across Australia, including more than $100 million to UQ, through his foundation, The Atlantic Philanthropies.

“These institutes have made world-leading discoveries in vaccine development, dementia, heart disease and motor neurone disease, and their research will continue to make a profound difference for years to come,” Professor Terry said.

“His outstanding generosity and visionary leadership have shaped Queensland as a hub for globally significant research that has helped people around the globe.”

Donations from the San Francisco-based former billionaire helped establish UQ’s Institute for Molecular Bioscience (IMB), Queensland Brain Institute (QBI), the Australian Institute of Bioengineering and Nanotechnology (AIBN), and UQ’s Centre for Clinical Research as well as the Translational Research Institute (TRI). His generosity also helped establish the UQ Centre and UQ Art Museum.

CLICK HERE to read more about research discoveries that have been made thanks to Mr Feeney’s contributions

Today’s unveiling marks 13 years since Mr Feeney gave $102 million to three Queensland medical projects, including $50 million to help establish the Translational Research Institute.

At the time, the government celebrated this as the largest ever medical donation in Australia’s history.

Mr Feeney, who founded a duty-free shopping empire, has given away $8 billion over four decades.

“I had one idea that never changed in my mind – that you should use your wealth to help people,” Mr Feeney said.

Most of his donations have been given anonymously to causes around the world including education, human rights, health equity, peace-making and social justice.

Mr Feeney kick-started the ‘giving while living’ movement now championed by key philanthropic figures Bill Gates and Warren Buffet through ‘The Giving Pledge’.

“I see little reason to delay giving when so much good can be achieved through supporting worthwhile causes today,” Mr Feeney said.

Former Queensland Premier Peter Beattie said Mr Feeney was a person who had vision, humility and courage, and an ability to deliver on that vision.

“There’s a lot of talkers in this world but there’s not a lot of people who have a vision and then deliver it,” Mr Beattie said.

“One of the things we should never forget in this crazy world in which we live, those visionary people who make a difference. And they’re not many of them.

“And that’s why I say to UQ, well done. I couldn’t think of a better tribute to a great man.”

UQ’s Feeney Way follows the leadership of Cornell University, who unveiled ‘Feeney Way’ at their Ithaca campus in 2021. Similar to Cornell University’s recognition, UQ’s will tell the story of the transformative impact of the Feeney family and The Atlantic Philanthropies, featuring words of inspiration from Mr Feeney and his life philosophy.

UQ has also bestowed its highest honour – an Honorary Doctorate – upon both Mr Feeney and his wife Helga Feeney, in recognition of their inspiring contributions to research and innovation, in Australia and globally.

Video, including overlay and grabs from former Queensland Premier Peter Beattie, Queensland Minister for Innovation Stirling Hinchliffe, Brisbane Lord Mayor Adrian Schrinner and UQ representatives, is available via Dropbox.

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University of Queensland is an Atlantic grantee.

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Chuck Feeney, Helga Feeney, Higher Education