We have reached the half-way point in the academic year and so far 2013 has been an extraordinary year. News last month that Melbourne has been named in the top five law schools in the world was wonderful acknowledgement that the high quality of the Law School's staff and students is valued by scholars and employers around the world. I am delighted that the hard work and passion of our people have been recognised in this way. We are a diverse community of talented scholars, bright students, visiting international experts and engaged alumni, donors and friends. Together we are building a fine law school and it is gratifying to see rankings reflect this.
We received further recognition of the quality of our teaching at Melbourne Law School with last month's award to Associate Professor Michelle Foster of the 2013 Barbara Falk Award for Teaching Excellence. Dr Foster was recognized for her development of a new curriculum in refugee law and for her consistently excellent teaching of constitutional law. I am delighted that her innovative teaching has been recognised by the University, and proud that Melbourne Law School teachers have won this award for three of the last four years.
At the Law School we constantly strive to create a better environment for legal teaching and scholarship. However, we will not be able to remain competitive on an international scale without increased support from our alumni and friends. The University of Melbourne has recently launched the largest fundraising initiative in its history, Believe: The Campaign for the University of Melbourne. With an ambitious goal to raise $500 million by 2017, the campaign will fund scholarships, research and facilities. At the launch last month, law alumni Allan Myers AO QC and Maria Myers AO pledged $10 million to causes across the University, the largest lifetime gift to the University by individual donors. Mr Myers also spearheads the campaign as its Campaign Chairman.
Many alumni and friends already support the Law School in a variety of ways. You can read about some of the people who have chosen to give and the impact of their giving in this publication.
Philanthropy provides talented students, regardless of their financial or personal backgrounds, the chance to study law and to go on to make an impact on the world. It enables us to provide resources to support the world-class research produced by Melbourne Law School scholars. It lifts Melbourne Law School beyond what can be achieved with traditional sources of funding to ensure that we will continue to be numbered as one of the leading law schools in the world and bring innovation and leadership to the field of law. I hope you will join us in this endeavour.