Beverly J McIlwain brought STEM to next generation

Gold Coast philanthropist and long-term friend and supporter of Griffith University, Beverly McIlawain, was farewelled at a funeral service on Friday.

Mrs McIlwain, 76, died in late December from a long-term illness and was the widow of prominent developer and former Gold Coast councillor, Jock McIlwain OAM DUniv.

Together, the McIlwain’s supported multiple philanthropic programs in education, science and the arts-a legacy Mrs McIlwain continued after her husband’s death in 2016.

Griffith University had a strong connection with the McIlwains, which began in 2005 through the launch of the Science on the GO! program.

Created to elevate science education in South East Queensland schools, Science on the GO! has been delivered to more than half a million teachers, students and parents.

Science on the GO! coordinator Professor Richard John said the McIlwain’s support was instrumental to its success.

“Jock assisted in the purchase of the Science on the GO! van and supported the program for many years,” he said.

“It was through him that Beverly saw what a difference was being made and why she continued to support the program after he passed away.”

Through Mrs McIlwain’s ongoing support, the program was able to fund the publication of early reader maths and science books, Millie the Mathematician and Suzie the Scientist.

140,000 copies of the books have been distributed Australia-wide, including copies in every Australian primary school.

“This would not have been possible without Beverly’s generosity and her support of education and in particular, science education,” Prof John said.

“She was a wonderful person and generous to a tee. She insisted her philanthropic donations were spent on the public good and through her so many young children have benefited.”

The McIlwains long-term support for education at Griffith was recognised through the Beverly and Jock McIlwain Award for Excellence in Science and the Science on the GO-McIlwain Award for Science Education.

Mrs McIlwain also took an active interest in other areas of the University including, the Institute for Glycomics, where she was a supporter of the Glycomics Circle and malaria vaccine research.

Professor Mark von Itzstein AO, Director of the Institute for Glycomics paid tribute to Mrs McIlwain.

“Beverly’s passion in supporting the Institute’s research, particularly through our Glycomics Circle that supports women in Glycomics research, was transformative for our Institute and while she will be sorely missed, I have no doubt her legacy will endure in the many things she supported.”

Mrs McIlwain became an Honorary Fellow of the Institute for Glycomics in recognition of her major contributions, including her philanthropic donations and involvement in the Glycomics Giving Circle, a group of women dedicated to supporting female scientists and early career researchers.

/University Release. View in full here.