Reflections on a lifetime of love for ANU

01 Jul 2024

When Sarah O’Callaghan (BSc (Hons) / LLB ‘02) came to The Australian National University (ANU) as an undergraduate in 1996, she had visions of becoming an environmental lawyer. Instead, what was supposed to be a few years studying science and law turned into decades of adventures at the University.

Some of Sarah’s most treasured memories are focused around the ANU Research School of Earth Sciences (RSES). Not only did she learn a lot about rocks, but she made lifelong friendships, and some wonderful memories of field trips from as close as State Circle in Canberra to as far as the Atacama Desert in Chile.

RSES was also the first place Sarah worked at ANU; she became a staff member after finishing her degree in 2002. From there, Sarah went on to various roles with the ANU Fenner School of Environment and Society, the ANU College of Science, Siding Spring Observatory, and Facilities and Services.

In 2018, Sarah realised that she had no will and testament, and no children. She made the commitment to bequeath her estate to the University and direct it to establish scholarships in perpetuity for female students to study earth science. As she worked with the ANU Gift and Estate Planning team on her bequest, Sarah also began a recurring gift to the Earth Sciences Opportunity Scholarship as a wonderful way to see the impact of her giving on students in her lifetime.

Today, Sarah supports the ANU student community as the Head of Residence at Ursula Hall. Through her service and continuing generosity, Sarah enables students to live their own adventures at the University and to go on to exciting futures.

One thing that has not changed in all my years [at ANU] is that I believe in this place – in its purpose and the legacies that will be left for future generations.


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