Western Sydney University receives landmark $7.9 million philanthropic gift from Harvey Norman to launch leadership academy, empowering young women in Western Sydney

Western Sydney University

Mr Murat Dizdar, Secretary of NSW Education; Mifrah Mahroof, former Katie Page Equity Scholarship for Women recipient and former Auburn Girls High School and Western Sydney University student; Hasini Podduturu, Adeena Khan, and Sarah Chaudry, Auburn Girls High School leaders; Ms Katie Page, CEO of Harvey Norman; Professor Barney Glover AO, Immediate Past Vice-Chancellor, Western Sydney University; and Ms Anna Tsoutsa, Principal of Auburn Girls High School

Western Sydney University has welcomed a landmark philanthropic donation of $7.9 million from Harvey Norman to establish the Harvey Norman® Young Women’s Leadership Academy Led by Katie Page.

A first-of-its-kind program, the Harvey Norman Young Women’s Leadership Academy led by Harvey Norman CEO, Katie Page will increase the social, economic and educational participation of young women in Western Sydney, with a pilot to be delivered at Auburn Girls High School commencing in 2024.

The Harvey Norman Young Women’s Leadership Academy, to be delivered by the University, will include learning, development and mentorship opportunities for young women, parent and community engagement, and a research component to analyse the program’s impact.

Professor Barney Glover AO, immediate past Vice-Chancellor, made the announcement today together with Harvey Norman CEO, Ms Katie Page, and Ms Anna Tsoutsa, Principal of Auburn Girls High School.

Professor Glover said the transformational gift will support a tailored program that will nurture the next generation of aspiring female leaders.

“Western Sydney University warmly thanks Ms Katie Page and Harvey Norman for this landmark donation that will deliver educational and development opportunities to the students and community of Auburn Girls High School. Ms Page is a longstanding supporter of Western Sydney University and since 2015, has provided scholarship opportunities for over 100 talented and deserving students from diverse backgrounds,” said Professor Glover.

In addition to Harvey Norman’s long-standing financial contribution, Ms Page has personally donated to 78 of the 107 scholarships to date, supporting opportunities for women, those from refugee backgrounds and high-achieving individuals.

Ms Page said this Australian-first in corporate philanthropy was motivated by the impact of her original Western Sydney University scholarship donation of $300,000.

“In the almost 10 years of scholarship support for tertiary students at Western Sydney University, we have witnessed the transformative power of access to education. What began as thirteen scholarships for women from refugee and disadvantaged backgrounds has expanded to over 100 student scholarships. Many of the recipients are now graduates,” said Ms Page.

“The establishment of The Harvey Norman Young Women’s Leadership Academy at Auburn Girls High School is bold. We are committing to Auburn Girls High School for at least a decade. Under the stewardship of the University and Ms Anna Tsoutsa, School Principal, the Leadership Academy will enable students to access leadership skills and mentoring across their secondary education.

“Auburn Girls High School is already an institution that produces exemplary graduates. We hope that with our support their graduates will be the next generation of female role-models and contributors setting the standard for leadership in their careers and communities.”

Professor Westacott said the University has a proud history of opening up higher education opportunities for the people of Western Sydney, including by delivering programs with schools like Auburn Girls High School to ensure students see further education as an option for them.

“Education and the transformative power of scholarships make a remarkable difference in the lives of students, their families and the community. As an anchor institution for Western Sydney, the University is proud to partner with philanthropists like Ms Katie Page whose generous contributions and long-standing support of Western Sydney University provides opportunities to students.”

MsTsoutsa said Harvey Norman Young Women’s Leadership Academy will complement the existing culture at Auburn Girls High School and empower young women as leaders within the school and, in the future, within society.

“We are excited to be pioneering this project with Western Sydney University and are very grateful for the generosity and leadership of Ms Katie Page and Harvey Norman in establishing the Leadership Academy. It will provide inspiration and amazing opportunities for our students,” said Ms Tsoutsa.

A comprehensive school-wide initiative, the program will support the personal and social development of students at Auburn Girls High School. The Leadership Academy will feature tailored workshops for different age groups, focusing on enhancing personal, social and leadership capabilities. A professional development stream will help teachers cultivate resilience and independence in young women.

The Leadership Academy will engage with families and the wider community through information sessions and community building. Financial support in the form of learning grants and Western Sydney University scholarships will be provided to students to aid in purchasing learning materials throughout high school and university.

A Page Fellows Mentoring Program will be established for students progressing to Western Sydney University, enabling them to enhance their leadership skills by mentoring younger students in local high school and primary school settings, empowering the next generation of young women leaders in the region.

Western Sydney University and Auburn Girls High School have an ongoing history of collaboration. The School has been a partner in the University’s highly successful Fast Forward high school engagement program since 2009 and works with the University across a range of other initiatives.

Ms Katie Page, CEO of Harvey Norman, with Auburn Girls High School leaders

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