Living bequest ensures rural students have a fair go

01 Jul 2024

“Do what you have to do, give it your best shot, and go on learning until the day you die.”

This was the advice of 100-year-old Joy Wheatley (BA ‘69) when she was interviewed for the Canberra CityNews. Joy and her husband, Norm (BA ’69), who recently passed away at the age of 102, have always been passionate about supporting rural students to come and study at The Australian National University (ANU). In 2023, they decided to bring their bequest forward and establish a lasting endowment, giving them the opportunity to experience the impact of their generosity during their lifetimes.

The Joy and Norman Wheatley Rural Scholarship, established in 2023 by Joy and Norm, will support rural, regional, and remote undergraduate students who are pursuing a degree in the ANU College of Arts and Social Sciences. The scholarship was awarded for the first time to two students in 2024.

Hailing from rural backgrounds themselves, Joy and Norm were the only ones in their families to have attended university, despite growing up in households of seven and 10 siblings respectively. This motivated the couple to ensure that today’s rural youth, who often still face barriers to higher education, can get a fair go to study at ANU.

Joy and Norm’s journey showcases the impact that individuals can make through education and philanthropy. Their generosity will continue to open doors for many years to come, creating opportunities for rural students who may have otherwise faced obstacles on their path to education.

A gift in your will provides enduring support for learning, education and research beyond your lifetime. If you have included the University in your will, or you are thinking about doing so, please let us know. We would be delighted to learn more about your areas of interest and show you the type of impact your future gift will have. It will also give us the opportunity to thank you for your gift during your lifetime. Please contact the Gift & Estate Planning team for further information, or to arrange a confidential discussion at

Page Owner: Philanthropy