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Issue 62


On February 23, St Ann’s College was on a high, and it wasn’t merely a result of the fun and frolics of O’Week. St Ann’s had welcomed its largest intake of first year students in two years, including three times the number of international students. Just 12 days earlier, the World Health Organisation had given a name to a new viral disease that had already claimed 1,000 lives – Covid-19. From there, events unfolded rapidly and by mid-March, Australian universities and colleges were moving their teaching online and travel restrictions were rapidly coming into effect.

“With the College Council’s support, we determined our first obligation was to get students back to their families as quickly as we could and in the best possible health,” says Principal and CEO Denise von Wald. “We had installed 32 hand sanitiser units throughout the College before MoveIn Day and we introduced social distancing early. Then we set about helping students return to their homes across the State’s regions, interstate and overseas. I spoke to our students and their parents, keeping them up to date with the latest developments so they could make tough decisions about where they would be best placed during the anticipated lockdowns and border closures.”

There’s still a small number of students in residence, all of them unable to return home for various reasons. Of course, we’re having to adhere to State government restrictions, but I’m delighted to say our St Ann’s community on Brougham Place is happily bearing up!

“I’m still in residence, the kitchen staff continue to provide meals and I continue to provide Academic Monitoring and pastoral care, albeit remotely through Zoom,” said Ms von Wald. “Along with the Universities, St Ann’s academic tutors are offering remote tuition through apps like Skype, Whatsapp and Zoom. Students have been given credit for college fees, accrued for the duration of the virus restrictions.

The College Club has also risen to the challenge. It recently transformed the much loved ‘Thursday night pub night’ into a Zoom event complete with fancy dress, accompanied by some responsibly consumed beverages.

Ms von Wald adds: “Look, it’s a sad time for St Ann’s – for students and staff. It was especially heartbreaking to see our firstyear students settling in with their new friends ready to embark on a grand new adventure, and then having to abruptly return. “But we’ll adapt, and we’ll grow and we’ll get through it. And when it’s over, I’m pretty sure there’ll be a big celebration in the Common Room!”

Principal’s Report

Denise von Wald

For the first time in three years, we have halted the decline in enrolments and slightly increased the number of students on campus. This means theoretically if we continue to improve our retention rate, we will have fewer students to recruit for next year and/or can fill even more of our rooms.

We have also recorded a 10% increase in the number of students with ATARs over 90, have six first year Medical Students and a strong cohort of Nursing and Dental students.

I’m delighted to report 2020 saw a marked increase in the number of scholarship applications received from both new and returning students. There are several of reasons for this: a) The scholarship form is now available for online submission on the new website; b) The availability of scholarships and the deadline for submission was advertised on Facebook and Instagram; c) There appears to be a higher number of students under financial stress. This, of course, makes the process incredibly competitive and the Committee has worked to ensure that each scholarship was awarded to the student who best fit the criteria of each scholarship.

All of the training outlined for the Tutor and Office teams has been completed. We are continuing to identify and secure the following support services for students in the first semester to assist with changes brought about by Covid-19: time management and establishing good study habits, a referencing workshop, exam preparation and stress management.

St Ann’s has provided employment references and helped a number of past and current St Ann’s students to secure employment and professional appointments.

Following a generous donation by the Foundation, we have paid down the Kennedy Brooks Enterprise Deck expansion loan – by $500,000. We also received a bequest and a donation totalling $6,000 this week.

After seven years, two of which were spent on Maternity Leave, Marketing and Administration Officer, Myri Kyriacou has left St Ann’s to join a small accounting firm in the City. In the short-term, we plan to fill the two-day-a-week role with a Collegian who is degree qualified in media, Jaimee Shurdington. We thanked Myri for her loyal and enthusiastic service at a morning tea.

The first quarter of 2020 has seen a number of renovations and upgrades: the dining room has been painted, the sundeck restored, and Top Price has been renovated with new paint, carpet, window treatments and King Single beds. We also arranged to have 20 pieces of old brown furniture painted white – all these changes have been enthusiastically welcomed by the new and returning students.

Several St Ann’s current students have won positions on NAAUC 2020 Conference organising committee and meetings are being held at the College.

President’s Report

Frank Niemann

Along with the rest of the world many of our grand plans for 2020 have been thrown out the window. But our Collegians Association is more enthusiastic than ever to do whatever we can to help the College and students in this trying time.

One of the most significant events the Collegians Association organises is the mentoring dinner. We plan to continue with our mentoring dinners, but online – meaning more people than ever will be able to gain valuable experience from previous college students. This will also enable us to get more influential speakers who wouldn’t usually be available to come in person. The mentoring forum will likely follow a similar format.

I’m pleased to see that the 2020 Collegians Association has more active members than last year, all of whom are energetic and ready to help out where they can, including some new and old faces on the executive.

I would also like to thank last year’s President Renee Van Der Hoek for all her work, and her experience and work ethic. We will continue to enjoy her support as she remains an ordinary member of the Collegians Association. I will strive to be as exemplary in this roles as Renee has been.

Though we are all facing a unique challenge this year the committee and I look forward to the challenge and any positive opportunities it will bring.

Please feel free to reach out to me and the team at:


Academic Success!

St Ann’s College continues to foster outstanding academic achievement. In 2019, 57 St Ann’s College students were awarded a medal for receiving more distinctions than any other grade. Two students changed their study pathways and successfully transferred from university study to TAFE courses. One student changed from a university degree to a course in translation with an independent provider. It is a pleasure to congratulate our students on their outstanding academic achievements and their College spirit.

At least 53% of students had attended Government secondary schools. Many of our students (28%) had a relative who formerly resided at St Ann’s and 39% of students were the first in their family to undertake tertiary education.

Across all institutions our pass rate was 90.51% with 70% of grades at a credit or higher standard. In 2019, 44% of students had an ATAR score over 90 and 26 students recorded a result over 99. St Ann’s College Medals were awarded to 57 students, 35% of the student cohort, an astonishing result. It is a privilege to record such outstanding academic achievements and we plan to do even better in 2020!

Student Origins

  • Regional SA and Broken Hill
  • Interstate
  • Overseas


  • University of Adelaide
  • University of South Australia
  • Flinders University
  • Tafe

Area of Study

  • Medicine, Dentistry and Health Sciences
  • Engineering, Information Technology and Computer Sciences
  • Business, Teaching, Arts, Music, Law, Media and Design

Chairman’s Report

Jason Turnbull

The St Ann’s College Foundation (“Foundation”) entered 2019 on the cusp of having raised $5m in the years since its inception over 30 years ago. I am extremely pleased to report that this figure was reached as a result of some very generous donations received at the Friends’ Luncheon in May 2019. This is quite an incredible achievement that the Foundation’s founders (Bob Kennedy and Di Tostevin, among others) could only have dreamt of when establishing it three decades ago.

The hard work of the custodians of the Foundation, as well as the generosity of the many very generous benefactors of St Ann’s College (“College”), has resulted in the Foundation providing substantial financial assistance to the College over the years since its inception. I sincerely thank all of you for these important contributions.

In 2019, I am pleased to report that the Foundation contributed $60,000 towards the cost of the installation of a CCTV system throughout the College. This installation has improved the security of the College and contributed to enhancing the atmosphere in which the students continue to thrive.

No discussion of 2019 would be appropriate without mentioning our beloved Dr Rosemary Brooks, who left in July after almost four decades at St Ann’s College. St Ann’s has been Dr Brooks’ life’s work and it is impossible to summarise her extraordinary achievements in this Report. Rosemary’s achievements are manifested through the personal development and academic achievements of the generations of students that she has guided during their time at St Ann’s. The impact on the lives and character of her students may be more difficult to measure than their academic achievements, but is arguably more significant. The Foundation thanks Dr Brooks and her husband Simon Stevens for their truly amazing contribution to St Ann’s, and we extend our warmest wishes for the exciting next phase of their lives.

In farewelling Rosemary and Simon, we were given the opportunity to welcome Denise von Wald as the new Principal of St Ann’s College. Denise joins us from a diverse career in marketing and education and has been warmly received by the students and staff at the College. Denise is the ideal person to lead St Ann’s into its next exciting phase, as we embark on the project to add more student accommodation rooms above the Kennedy Brooks Enterprise Deck (after a long process to gain the approval to do so). This project is important in keeping St Ann’s at the forefront of residential options for students in Adelaide.

The future will, as always, present challenges and opportunities, and the Foundation stands ready to assist the College to meet them.

More importantly, I want to pass on the Foundation’s best wishes for safety and good health to all of you and your families during these testing times. Every day that passes is one closer to the return of a degree of normality in our lives, and of course St Ann’s will be there to continue its important role in that.

O’Week Report

Chelsea Masclet – College Club President

Paradoxically, given what transpired within a matter of weeks, O Week was a major success with everyone – returners and first years – enjoying a great start to 2020 at St Ann’s College. This year’s theme was RodeO’Week, designed to encourage students to chart their own path, experience new activities and engage with their fellow students as they begin this exciting new chapter of their lives.

Again, it was a major success with everyone – returners and first years – enjoying a great first week to start 2020 at St Ann’s College. Renee van der Hoek talked to us at Formal Dinner about college life and how great an experience it can be if you take every opportunity presented to you. It was fantastic to hear a Collegians take on college life and everyone there was very glad to hear what she had to say. At formal dinner, the first years were also presented with their first-year gifts, an obnoxiously large sheriffs’ badge to fit with the theme.

The week began very early on Sunday morning with ‘Move-in Day’. All the first year students were warmly and enthusiastically welcomed to their new home and introduced to their specially selected ‘buddies’. Then the fun-filled and action-packed week got under underway… Fitting with the theme RodeO’Week, buddies were dressed by their first years charges for Buddy Night, before learning their way around North Adelaide with a fun-filled Amazing Race. A good way get to get acquainted!

We weren’t to know that COVID-19 would put a pause on SAAUCC sporting events, but we were pleased on reflection that our competitive natures were put to the test with the annual corridor challenges in Dodgeball and O’Cup.

We also demonstrated our knowledge of the College and our colleagues in the First Year Exam, and enjoyed our traditional beach picnic, dressed in Hawaiian shirts at a glorious day at the beach.

We also introduced two new events this year, Front yard Party and Lunch on the Lawn. Front yard Party was a big hit and involved music and games in the tiered garden in front of college. It was a chance for students to really get to know one another in a comfortable setting on their first night together as a College.

Lunch on the Lawn was held in the historic Rose Garden on the last day of O’Week and was a great way for people to relax after such a big week. A delicious KFC lunch was supplied with our amazing Chef, Rohit cooking up bacon and eggs, fruit platters and vegetarian options for those looking for a healthier option.

As College President, I’m delighted to report O’Week was an extremely successful week. In spite of unprecedented challenges, another year at College is going to be one of continued friendships, strengthened bonds and mutual support!

Ewan Gerken

Worthy Scholarship winner

When Darwin resident Ewan Gerken accepted an offer to study Biochemistry and Genetics at the University of Adelaide, he was committed to relocate a long, long way from his home. As well as leaving his close circle of school friends behind, he had to consider the business of finding a flat and having to find housemates. Then his Dad suggested he apply to join St Ann’s College.

“Dad went to the University of Adelaide when he was younger,” says Ewan. “He told me he’d met a great group of friends and a lot of them went to St Ann’s. He’d spent a lot of time there.” Ewan was accepted at St Ann’s, but it didn’t lessen his nerves when he arrived in North Adelaide. “That first day is pretty daunting, especially when you pull up outside with all your bags. But I remember there were loads of students all wearing their merch to welcome us. It didn’t take me long to settle in. It’s hard not to make friends at Ann’s – it just happens.”

Ewan credits senior students with helping him make the transition both socially and academically. “The Residential Tutors really helped. They’re the on-campus students who offer pastoral care – they also help with administrative duties and get people involved with college life. I made a lot of friends through them,” he recalls.

Ewan believes growing your social circle at university is a bit more challenging. “You’re among 25,000 other students, with maybe 150 around you in a lecture hall, so it’s a lot harder to make friends organically. At St Ann’s, you’re eating together, playing sport together, doing social things together…”

St Ann’s students also study together, with senior students offering free one-one-one tuition – something Ewan came to value at the start of his four years.

“I’d say I probably coasted a little at school and I knew I’d have to step up to meet the challenges of an Advanced Science Degree. So, I ended up needing help from other students on my approach to university study, especially in areas like time management.” In his senior years at the college, he in turn became a Residential Tutor and an Academic Tutor, coaching students in Biochemistry, Genetics, Physics and Astronomy.

In 2019, Ewan was awarded First Class Honours – and subsequently won a PhD candidature with a $28,000 Divisional Scholarship.

“Starting this year, I’ll be doing research on one of the key genes linked with Alzheimer’s,” he says. “It’s an exciting field to be working in but it’s also an important field. There’s no cure in sight and we’ve got an aging population.”

Though his time at St Ann’s has finished, he’s continuing to offer his services as one of the College’s 54 Academic Tutors. “I still remember being petrified when I first arrived and how much the senior students and Tutors helped me. It’s nice to be able to give back.”

Bequest and Donation

Professor SE Sally Smith

We were greatly saddened by the news of the passing of Emeritus Professor SE (Sally) Smith in September. Sally was the mother of Dr Caroline Smith, who was in residence at St Ann’s from 1986 to 1989. She was an Emeritus Professor in the School of Agriculture, Food and Wine, and Honorary Professor at the China Agricultural University and the Chinese Academy of Sciences.

A world authority on the mycorrhizal symbiosis between plants and fungi, Sally was elected to the Australian Academy of Science in 2001. She also co-authored the most definitive text on the subject and developed many important multidisciplinary collaborations.

Soon after her death, the University of Adelaide added her to the list of prominent women who were or are associated with the University, selected as part of the 125th anniversary of women’s suffrage in SA. Her image is on the campus banners outside Bonython Hall. Professor Smith left St Ann’s a bequest and her husband, Andrew, also made a generous donation which the College would like to publicly acknowledge. The funds will go to support students – a fitting tribute to this fine academic.

College Improvements

While students were away over summer, a number of significant improvements were made at the College.

The Sundeck and Wilcox TV room were both given a face lift with a fresh coat of paint and some new additions. The Sundeck is now bordered by lush greenery and shade is provided by a large table umbrella.

A new Smart TV is now up on the wall of the Wilcox TV room, with many footy and movie-watch parties to come and the comfy sofa set complete with decorative cushions are perfect for hanging out during study breaks.

We have also started renovating student rooms, beginning with Top Price, finishing off the project started by Dr Books with an initial donation towards king single beds before she left the College. All eight Top Price rooms now have king single beds along with new curtains. Each of the 10 tutor rooms have also been upgraded with the king singles.

O’Week Snaps

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