University House fellowship continues a legacy of giving

25 Jun 2024

A new residential fellowship celebrates and honours the lives and legacy of Mrs Helen Crompton and Emeritus Professor Robert (Bob) Crompton AM, two distinguished members of The Australian National University (ANU) community who had longstanding ties to University House.

When ANU alumnus Malcolm Crompton AM (BSc (Hons) ‘74, BEc ‘83) shares memories of his parents, Helen and Bob, a strong theme that emerges is their common interest in a life of service, supporting others, and giving back to the University community. Along with his wife, Heather Crompton (BSc (Forestry) ‘77), Malcolm is now honouring his parents’ legacy through a generous gift to establish the University House Visiting Fellowship, in honour of Helen and Bob Crompton. This residential fellowship celebrates the spirit of Helen and Bob’s remarkable contributions to ANU.

Many in the ANU community will already know of Bob’s dedication to physics – he was an outstanding academic leader and ambassador for his discipline, working hard for Australian science to be recognised internationally and lobbying tirelessly for fundamental research to be better funded. He is especially remembered by colleagues for the egalitarian nature of his support and encouragement for young physicists, students, and workshop and laboratory staff alike.

Helen was a founding member of the ANU Club for Women at University House, taking a great interest in the welfare of her community, and offering extensive practical and personal help to ANU newcomers. Helen was also a passionate environmentalist and a member of the social and intellectual community of the Ladies Drawing Room.

Both Helen and Bob played a vital role in building the inclusive community and collegiate culture of University House over many decades, with Bob serving in a formal capacity as Acting Master at times.

In creating the University House Visiting Fellowship in perpetuity, Heather and Malcolm aspire to provide future generations of talented scholars with a sense of the warm welcome and supportive, collegiate network on campus that Helen and Bob helped provide for so many emerging scholars and their families over the years.

Established as a partnership between University House and the ANU Australian Studies Institute, the Fellowship encourages candidates to demonstrate that their research has applicability to real-world problems, and the potential for beneficial impact – for example, upon society, the economy, the environment, to policymaking, to our health, or to our culture. This breadth of possibilities reflects the diversity of Helen and Bob’s personal and professional interests, their social values, and their shared belief in creating equality of opportunity for all.

Helen and Bob’s own philanthropic legacy at ANU is as diverse as their interests. It includes the Robert and Helen Crompton Endowment at the ANU Research School of Physics to help postgraduate research students to undertake study overseas, and the Crompton Undergraduate Scholarship at the ANU School of Music, which supports first-year students in keyboard. Bob also supported the National Brain Injury Foundation for many years following his retirement from ANU, for which he was appointed a Member of the Order of Australia (AM).

It is fitting that Helen and Bob’s memory, and their love for University House, is now being celebrated with an inspiring act of philanthropy by Heather and Malcolm Crompton. This marks a new generational chapter in the Crompton family’s contribution to the ANU community.

Page Owner: Philanthropy