Launching the Melbourne JD Harold Ford Scholarships

For generations of students, Professor Emeritus Harold Ford AM (LLB 1948, LLM 1949, HonLLD 1987) was an inspiring teacher; for his colleagues, he was a modest and generous collaborator. Now the former dean of Melbourne Law School has lent his name to the Melbourne JD Harold Ford Scholarships.

Professor Emeritus Harold Ford AM and Professor David de Kretser AC, with Sarah Bugden, Kasia Pawlikowski, Khanh Nguyen, Sasha Ponniah, Kate Fitzgerald and Sarah Gleisner.jpg 

Australia's leading scholar and educator in Australian corporate law, Professor Ford was at Government House to witness the first students receive their scholarship certificates at a reception hosted by the then Governor, Professor David de Kretser and Mrs Jan de Kretser.

The presence of this gentle and thoughtful scholar, who celebrated his 90th birthday last year, added a special significance to the occasion. Most of the distinguished lawyers in the room had been taught by Professor Ford or influenced by his scholarship.

"Professor Ford's life and work are a testament to the powerful achievements that result when talent and drive meet the opportunity provided by higher education," said the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Victoria, the Hon. Marilyn Warren, in launching the scholarships.

Alumni from across the years joined the Chief Justice, the former Chancellor of the University of Melbourne and now Governor  of Victoria, the Hon. Alex Chernov,

the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Melbourne, Professor Glyn Davis, and the Dean of Melbourne Law School, Professor Carolyn Evans, to celebrate the launch of the new scholarship program. The historic occasion was also attended by the Rt Hon. Sir Zelman Cowen and Lady Cowen, the Rt Hon. Sir Ninian Stephen and Lady Stephen, and the Hon. Sir James Gobbo and Lady Gobbo.

Inspired by Professor Ford's life and scholarship, the Melbourne JD Harold Ford Scholarships have been established to provide financial support to academically outstanding students with demonstrated financial need.

"They are an opportunity for all of us who have had the privilege and benefit of a legal education and a life practising the law to give back to the law, to make it better," said Chief Justice Warren. 

Professor Carolyn Evans said the scholarship program reflects the important partnership between the legal profession and Melbourne Law School, representing "our joint trust to ensure a strong and vibrant future for lawyers in this State".

Professor Evans congratulated the inaugural scholarship recipients, Sarah Bugden, Sarah Gleisner, Kate Fitzgerald, Khanh Nguyen, Kasia Pawlikowski and Sasha Ponniah.

"These students are the first in what we hope is a long line of talented young people who will be aided in their study by the generosity of those who have come before them," said Professor Evans.

Image: Professor Emeritus Harold Ford AM and the then Governor of Victoria, Professor David de Kretser AC, with scholarship recipients: (l-r) Sarah Bugden, Kasia Pawlikowski, Khanh Nguyen, Sasha Ponniah, Kate Fitzgerald and Sarah Gleisner. Photograph by Michael Silver.

This article originally appeared in MLS News, Issue 5, May 2011.