Meet Graham Corr alumnus and donor, and the Graham Corr Award recipient Sian Willoughby

Inspired by his alma mater, the Melbourne Teachers’ College, and the understanding of the importance and the need for scholarships, Graham and his wife Robyn created the Graham Corr Award.

‘The Melbourne Teacher’s College in its various forms and now, as part of the University of Melbourne, has been a wonderful alma mater to me personally and professionally,’ says Graham. It is their hope that the award will give students encouragement and motivation for a successful career in education. Something that Graham is very familiar with having worked in the sector for forty years.

Graham graduated from the Melbourne Teachers’ College in 1951 with a Trained Primary Teacher’s Certificate and returned to complete the Trained Teacher Librarianship Certificate, six years later. After teaching in rural and metropolitan schools in Victoria, he became a lecturer at Burwood Teachers’ College then Frankston Teachers’ College. During this time, he completed his Bachelor of Commerce and a Bachelor of Education and later a PhD at the University of Oregon. He returned to his alma mater where he held several positions leading to the establishment of professional Teacher-Librarianship courses. He was promoted as Senior lecturer and Head of the Department of Library & Information studies. After the amalgamation with the University of Melbourne, he became Associate Professor & Deputy Dean of the Faculty of Education retiring in 1994.

Graham’s career in education has highlighted the need for more scholarships and fully understands how they have the power to impact the lives of talented students who can then be challenged to bring about innovation and change.

The Graham Corr award is awarded to a second-year student in the Master of Teaching (Primary) who demonstrates outstanding teaching practice. It’s Graham’s hope that the award will not only be an acknowledgement of the recipient’s teaching skills and abilities but will assist them to pursue a successful career and influence the lives of many students and colleagues.

The inaugural award was presented to Sian Willoughby at the recent annual Awards Evening held Thursday 31 May. When hearing that she was to receive the award, she was surprised and even thought that a mistake had been made. However, upon reflection, she felt incredibly honoured and humbled that the hard work she had put into her teaching placement and professional development had been recognised. It has given her the security and confidence to continue challenging herself.

Inspired by her mother, a retired teacher, Sian made the move from Canberra to Melbourne with an undergraduate degree in Humanities with honours in Anthropology to embark on the journey to becoming a teacher.

‘The life of a teacher candidate can feel quite isolating at times and it is wonderful to feel supported and recognised by the education community in this way,’ says Sian.

Now, in her second year, she has reached a place she couldn’t have imagined on her first day of the course. She has also gained a wonderful support network in her fellow teacher candidates which she knows will serve them all well as they venture out into the workforce.

Find more information on how you can help students like Sian. For further details, please contact Tracy Houston at education-alumni@unimelb.edu.au.