While the best and the brightest are often targeted in scholarship schemes, Emeritus Professor John Love has taken a slightly different tack in his initiative to support talented undergraduates at ANU.
In establishing the ANU Love Scholarships, John is seeking to encourage and support students who may have financial, personal or other barriers which are preventing them from reaching their full academic potential.
"There are a lot of scholarships for the smartest people, and that's fine. But I really want to help people who have potential, but who for some reason there are impediments. They are talented academically, but something is holding them back," said John, Emeritus Professor in Photonics in the Physics Education Centre at the ANU College of Physical and Mathematical Sciences.
John has seen first-hand how a little financial support can make a big difference for people who have had setbacks in life and has helped friends in the past. He is hopeful that these scholarships-for which he has pledged more than one million dollars-can help capable students reach their personal best.
The first of up to five Love Scholarships, which are open to students in any field at ANU, will be awarded in 2016.
Born in the UK, John studied mathematics at Cambridge University, before completing his doctorate at Oxford University. He went on to study physics at the University of California in the US and the University of Toronto in Canada, before moving to Australia in 1973 to take up a position with ANU.
At the time, John had never heard of fibre optics, the field in which he would spend more than 40 years researching and teaching at the University.
He said the timing of his entry into photonics was "fortuitous".
"Here we are today with over 95 per cent of the world's communications going through optical fibre," he said, adding that, internationally, fibre optics are now being laid at three times the speed of light.
In announcing the scholarships, ANU Vice-Chancellor Professor Ian Young, thanked John for this "wonderful contribution" and said the "extraordinarily generous" gift would help students to reach their full potential.
John says he has enjoyed a simple life in Canberra and with no family to support, he looks forward to seeing how the Love scholarships can bring out the best in these committed students.
"Life has been very generous to me and Australia has been very generous to me," he said. "This is one way I can put something back into the system that will help other people."