LIST OF AUGUSTA FELLOWS
List of Augusta Fellows
The following people have made a commitment to Auckland Grammar School by including a gift to the School in their will:
- Scott and Debbie Burridge (more information below)
- Greg Cook '62
- Michael (deceased) and Mary Farrell
- Mark Preston '68
As a past parent and a current trustee of the Auckland Grammar School Foundation Trust, Debbie Burridge believes her bequest reflects her ongoing support and affection for Grammar.
Debbie and her husband Scott were inducted into the Augusta Fellowship in 2013, and they recognise that through bequests many of Auckland Grammar School's future aims and ambitions will be made possible.
"Having been involved in fundraising for many years, I realise that by leaving a bequest to Grammar, I can have a lasting effect and help ensure that the School continues to thrive and is there for students in years to come," she says.
Debbie says making a bequest is a simple process. "It's an easy way to give something back to the School that gave my boys a wonderful education and to ensure it can continue to provide quality education to future generations."
A retired lawyer who practiced for 50 years, Gary (front row, second from right) says that he enjoyed his five years at Grammar and always felt privileged to have attended.
"Grammar gave so much to me that I thought it appropriate that I should give something back to the School. A gift in my will to the Auckland Grammar School Foundation Trust seemed appropriate." He says he hopes in a small way, that this will ensure future students can share the same excellent education and experiences he had as a student.
Gary still has a clear memory of his first day at Grammar. "I already had some knowledge of the School but I remember being overwhelmed at the vastness of the Great Hall and the immediate feeling of history and tradition."
"All the former Headmasters gazed down at us from their portraits above the stage, and the names of generations of scholars back to the 1870s were inscribed on the Honours Board. Many went on to become famous names in Auckland and around the world."
Gary says that he still has feelings of awe when he enters the Great Hall today. He says that his days at Grammar were always full and rewarding. "I recall the wonderful, dedicated and kindly teachers that we had, and the dynamic figure of our Headmaster, Mr Cooper, who towered over the School, not in stature but in personality. He took me for Latin in Form 3, so that I had the opportunity to get to know him on a personal level."
Gary's academic and sporting achievements were copious. He was jointly awarded the Torch of Tradition in 1961 with Alan Galbraith '57 QC. Gary was also President of of the Auckland Grammar School Old Boys' Association in 1988.
"When I heard about the possibility of becoming an Augusta Fellow by making a bequest in my will, I was glad to express my gratitude and affection for my old School.
"An incidental benefit is that I am kept in touch with Grammar's achievements, and receive invitations to special events. My links with Grammar have been rekindled. I do hope that other Old Boys, especially those of my vintage will take the same step."
Retired diplomat Ross (front row, far right) recalls his School achievements and considers that he was "definitely not a good all-rounder", with sport holding little interest for him. However, Auckland Grammar School offered other avenues for self-development, with excellent support and encouragement from Masters.
Despite his first impression of a challenging, almost intimidating, environment, he spent five happy and fulfilling years there. "Students were graded according to their academic ability and no attempt was made to spare their blushes."
Ross's start at Grammar in 1953 was also the year of the conquest of Mt Everest. He recalls former Headmaster Mr Colin Littlejohn announcing in assembly: "'Mt Everest has been climbed by a New Zealander, and what's better, he's an Auckland Grammar boy.'" There were cheers to the rafters!"
"Looking back at some of our course prescriptions today might well incur accusations of colonial cringe or old, white, male elitism: English history from the reign of King Edward I, for example, and no New Zealand history or literature. However, these were richly rewarding, horizon-broadening, bottomless fields of study, and they still have their value and relevance for me after all these years."
"I spent my early years in the Bay of Plenty. Despite its many attractions it was not, in those post-war years, a place of intellectual ferment, although the educational institutions were more than adequate.
"One of the most significant events in my life was the decision of my parents to send me to Grammar. My time was transformative, and set me on an academic career, and I am now a Professor Emeritus of Law at the University of British Columbia.
"I make my home here after almost four decades of teaching and research, but retain nostalgic memories of life at Grammar. It opened my eyes to the cultural rewards of an academic career, and prepared me for university life as, at first, a student and then through a succession of graduate schools both in New Zealand and, after 1968, abroad.
"Auckland Grammar, with its philosophy of academic excellence, a concentration of inspired teachers and its diverse classmates gave me the ambition to realise a life of academic satisfaction and travel to virtually every part of the globe. I can truly say that my life would have been very different had it not been for Grammar.
"It is for that reason that it has given me great pleasure to include a legacy to Auckland Grammar School in my financial planning, in the certain hope that it will continue to offer others the same opportunities as were offered to me. I realize that New Zealand has changed enormously since I emigrated close to fifty years ago. At the same time I know that Grammar has been an important part of that change and continues to be foremost among the country's secondary schools, now as in times past."
"Attending Auckland Grammar School was one of the best things I ever did. When you leave you realise what a privilege it was to be able to attend." Stewart is the School's first Augusta Fellowship Member and invested many hours passionately growing the Augusta Fellowship in its formative years.
Coming to Grammar as an out-of-zone student, he said, "The large numbers of students, of whom I knew no one, was extremely daunting at first, but from the very first day I felt I was in exactly the right place. I loved every moment of my five years at Grammar." He has remained closely connected with Grammar: he has one son James '80, is father-in-law to Paul Thompson and Richard Adams (both class of 1971) and grandfather to William '99 and Andrew Thompson '01, and Stewart '99 and Peter Adams '01.
Stewart's passion for the School and its teachers is exemplified in the tireless work he undertook with the late Latin Master Michael Farrell to establish and grow the membership of the Augusta Fellowship.
Between them, the duo promoted the Fellowship to all of their friends and networks, and as time progressed, convinced many Old Boys and parents to leave a legacy gift to the Academic Endowment Fund.
Due to Stewart and Mike's hard work, the School now has over 100 individuals who have included a legacy gift in their Will to the Foundation Trust. "When I saw Grammar with more mature eyes later in life I realised there should be no restrictions on how I could help the School. The School and its staff do so much for every one of their students and I wanted to recognise that commitment by leaving a gift I am proud of in my Will to the School."
Mark was keen to support the AEF because he believes his two sons are getting the best education in the country and they wanted their savings in real tangible income to be reflected in some way. "I couldn't think of a better place for the boys than Grammar," Mark says. "The School gives so much back to the community, as do the teachers, who are involved in weekend activities such as coaching sport."
Mark's practice is focused on dental implant surgery, and he points out that at this stage of their lives, he is largely paying down debt. "Rather than putting in cash up front, I thought it made more sense to leave a much more generous sum when I was able to."
He says a bequest is painless and beneficial to all parties. "I don't feel it precludes me from supporting the School today, but it certainly means I can give generously at some stage in the future in recognition of the great influence Auckland Grammar has had on my family." Mark's two sons Beau and Guy are both Old Boys, class of 2009 and 2011 respectively.