War veteran and Australian Broadcasting Corporation figure makes generous gift to University of Western Sydney, discovers Greg Johnson.

Western Sydney resident Harold Hort has donated $600,000 to the University of Western Sydney (UWS) Foundation to fund scholarships for students, with a focus on those from educationally disadvantaged backgrounds. The 90 year-old made the donation to UWS Foundation in the name of his late wife, Enid Helen Hort, to fund what will be known as the Hort Scholarships.

“Education is a tremendous asset – one that not only benefits the individual, but society as a whole,” said Hort. “It’s important to ensure that all people from all walks of life have the opportunity to attend university, including those who may have experienced financial hardship, or those who may not come from as privileged backgrounds.”

Hort selected UWS as the recipient of his donation due to its unique mission in supporting those from lower socio-economic backgrounds to attain higher education. Greater western Sydney’s educational attainment rate is more than two percent lower than the rest of Sydney, and more than 22% of UWS’ students come from low socio-economic backgrounds.

The donation will help UWS increase the number of donor-funded scholarships it offers from 120. Professor John Ingleson, UWS deputy vice-chancellor (international and development), hopes the donation inspires others to give generously.

“Donations like Mr Hort’s can make all the difference, as it comes at a time when we are encouraging more Australians, particularly those from disadvantaged and lower socio-economic backgrounds, to undertake and complete university studies,” Professor Ingleson said. “We hope this encourages more Australians to consider such an important legacy, and further inspires a culture of giving.”

Hort joined the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) as a cadet in 1941 and rejoined the organisation after serving in Australia’s armed forces during World War II. Hort held a range of positions on return to the ABC, including director of programs NSW and director of music, before retiring in the 1980s.

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