Inaugural Meg Purser Communications Scholarship awarded

17 Jun 2022

A passion to make a positive impact in the community has seen second year Communications student Courtney Yeandle named as the inaugural recipient of the Meg Purser Scholarship.

The $5,000 scholarship was initiated by City of Newcastle in memory of one of Newcastle's most prominent and community-focused communications businesswomen, Meg Purser, following her passing in January 2021.

Meg-Purser-Communications-Scholarship.jpgImage: The late Meg Purser's partner Scott Mills, Pro-Vice Chancellor of the College of Human and Social Futures at the University of Newcastle Professor John Fischetti, Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes, Meg Purser Communications Scholarship recipient Courtney Yeandle, Bob Purser and Head of the School of Humanities, Creative Industries and Social Sciences Professor Catharine Coleborne.

Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes said City of Newcastle is pleased to see the scholarship awarded to a recipient who embodies the community spirit that was shown by the late Meg Purser.

"This scholarship will go a long way to supporting the talent and drive shown in Courtney, who is studying communications with the aim of supporting the media's power to impact audiences and inspire action and improvement towards positive change," Cr Nelmes said.

"Courtney's aspirations are reminiscent of the positive influence Meg had on the local community by using her communication skills to support local initiatives and causes.

"I'd like to congratulate Courtney on being the first University of Newcastle student to be awarded the Meg Purser Scholarship and look forward to watching her communications career progress, as well as witness her positive contribution to her community."

Courtney Yeandle relocated from Sydney to undertake a Bachelor of Communication in the School of Humanities, Creative Industries, and Social Sciences at the University of Newcastle and said the scholarship will ease the financial burden of living away from home, allowing her to concentrate her efforts on pursuing her dream to become a journalist.

"Studying communication at the University of Newcastle offers me many opportunities for professional and personal success and I am so appreciative to City of Newcastle for this scholarship," Miss Yeandle said.

"Meg's story really inspired me and I would love to be able to use my degree to make an equally positive impact on my community.

“I aspire to become a journalist working in news media where I can inform and educate the public on important issues, igniting conversation and hopefully inspiring change.

“I hope that during my study and in my professional life I can act as a positive ambassador and give back to the City of Newcastle and the University of Newcastle.”

Pro-Vice Chancellor of the College of Human and Social Futures at the University of Newcastle Professor John Fischetti welcomed the contribution from the City of Newcastle and said the scholarship will make a huge difference in the lives of students over the coming years.

"We are incredibly grateful for the support from the City of Newcastle in helping our students to pursue their potential and achieve their dreams,” Professor Fischetti said.

Meg Purser was a successful communications professional who is remembered for her charitable and behind-the-scenes work for organisations such as the Westpac Rescue Helicopter Service, Hunter Breast Screen and Got Your Back Sista. She invested considerable time in mentoring young people and worked tirelessly to make a positive contribution to the city until her passing in January 2021 following an 18-month battle with breast cancer.

City of Newcastle established the scholarship with the blessing of Meg’s father Bob Purser, a former journalist and communicator, to honour the significant contribution Meg made to the corporate communications community and recognise her passion for the many local community organisations and charities she supported.

"Meg took great pleasure and pride in helping young people develop into talented communicators. This link between one of her most valued clients and the university from which she graduated would have made her very proud as it does her family," said Mr. Purser.

The Meg Purser Communications Scholarship was supported by Councillors in 2021 to provide $5,000 to an undergraduate student completing the second year of their Communications degree at the University of Newcastle. A new recipient will be named in 2023 and 2024, under the initial funding arrangement.