A gift of Love to ANU

14 November 2014

After a long career of teaching and research, Emeritus Professor John Love believes it is now time to give some more.

Professor Love is donating $1 million to the ANU to fund a new scholarship to help students who most need financial support.

For Professor Love, from the Research School of Physics and Engineering, the donation is about giving back to the ANU community, which has been his de-facto family for the past 40 years.

“During the last 40 years I’ve come across difficult circumstances for friends, relatives, students,” Professor Love said.

“It started me thinking about how I could help people, particularly as I don’t have any family to support.


“So I thought about setting up some scholarships for students who are academically good enough to be at ANU, but for all sorts of odd reasons can’t get here for financial, medical or other reasons. I’m lucky to be in a position to do that.”

ANU Vice-Chancellor, Professor Ian Young AO, thanked Professor Love for his gift.

“Professor Love’s gift is extraordinarily generous, and will establish a scholarship that will help students reach their full potential. On behalf of the University, I’d like to thank Professor Love for his wonderful contribution.”

The donation will fund the new ANU Love Scholarships, which will provide financial support to students for up to five years.

The first scholarship will be awarded in 2016, with new winners in each subsequent year, with up to five scholarship holders to be at ANU by 2020.

The scholarships will be worth up to $50,000 over five years, and are open to students in any field at ANU.

Scholarship winners will be chosen from student applicants who are Australian citizens or permanent residents, who are admitted to ANU under the Principals or Schools Recommendation Scheme.

After studying at Oxford and Cambridge, Professor Love worked at universities in California and Canada before being enticed to the ANU in 1973.

Originally a mathematician, Professor Love has been a pioneering researcher into fibre optics, which have revolutionised communications over the past 40 years.

“When I came here in 1973 as a researcher, nobody had heard of an optical fibre. Here we are now in 2014, and the whole planet is awash with fibres. Virtually all of our communications go through then,” he said.

As a teacher, he has seen many students flourish, but has also seen others struggle due to personal and financial reasons.

One who stands out was Wanda Henry, the first woman to complete a PhD in photonics at ANU, who went on to work as an academic before her early death at the age of 34 in the early 1990s. Professor Love helped establish the Wanda Henry Scholarship in Photonics in her memory.

“It has been a joy to see some students who have matured in the time they’ve been here at ANU,” Professor Love said.

“But some struggle, for whatever reason. So that also motivated me to set this scholarship up.”

Now retired, Professor Love remains an active member of the laser physics and optics community at ANU, and he is still regularly at work in his ANU office.

“The University won’t let me go. I’m now a professor emeritus, which I enjoy. It means I’m still plugged in to the University. I’m still involved, and that really makes the quality of my life that much better than it would be otherwise,” he said.

“I’m still working, collaborating, trying to develop some new fibre-optic gizmo that will enable us to get more data down an optical fibre.”

He said he hoped his gift to the ANU would encourage others to donate.

“I hope it will encourage others to do something similar,” he said.