One of Australia’s leading figures in naturopathic medicine, Marcus Blackmore AM, together with his wife, Caroline, has made a record $10 million personal donation to Southern Cross University.
It is both the largest, single donation ever given to the University and the largest personal gift to a university from the Blackmore Foundation. For Mr Blackmore the significance lies in the final wish of his father, the late Maurice Blackmore, that naturopathy be properly recognised and respected as a profession.
Vice Chancellor Professor Adam Shoemaker said the gift would be used to establish a National Centre for Naturopathic Medicine at Southern Cross University to engage in naturopathic medicine higher education, research, and engagement with the profession.
“We aim to establish an internationally-recognised centre of excellence in naturopathic medicine education and associated research. We are proud to be the first Australian university to offer higher education qualifications in Naturopathy. This will enable Southern Cross to provide distinctive career pathways and ongoing development for the profession, as well as increased research capability,” said Professor Shoemaker.
Mr Blackmore added, “This is a very special day for Caroline and myself, both in helping to achieve my father’s legacy, and my own passion to see the continued advancement of Naturopathic education and critical health research in this country”.
“We have a responsibility to respond to the growing health care needs of Australia and evidence-based natural medicine will play an increasingly active role in that response.”
Natural medicine and nutrition-led treatment are already used extensively to address a range of contemporary health issues ranging from obesity through to the demands of an ageing population.
Southern Cross has been a leader in complementary medicine tertiary education since the university was founded 25 years ago. Mr Blackmore has had a long association with the University, receiving an honorary doctorate in 2006 and serving on the Southern Cross University Foundation board.
The commitment to Southern Cross University is in keeping with the principles of the late Maurice Blackmore, who founded the Blackmores company that grew from a tiny dispensary in Queensland to become Australia’s leading brand in vitamin and dietary supplements.
As a Naturopath, Maurice believed in a more natural approach to health, based on diet and lifestyle and applied expertise in vitamins, minerals, herbs and nutrients. A belief shared by Marcus.
Professor Shoemaker said the combination of Marcus Blackmore’s passion and belief along with the University’s evidence-based research rigour would be formidable.
“We are excited by the possibilities that the Blackmores’ vision will open up and we thank Marcus and Caroline for their generosity.”
Work begins immediately on the new centre with a planned opening in 2019.