Wesley College Melbourne Australia
Wesley College Melbourne

Founders' Day - a chance to 'pay it forward'

Posted 3 May 2018 Founders Day 

The Wesley College community paused to commemorate Founders’ Day in May and reflect on the College’s past and future. 

According to Charlie Joyce (OW2017), guest speaker at the Founders’ Day assembly at the Elsternwick campus of Wesley College, Founders’ Day is an opportunity to reflect both on legacies and opportunities. One of the fundamental opportunities for today’s students is to do good in the wider world, Mr Joyce said.

 ‘It was providing the chance (to do good) that motivated Wesley’s founders, whose actions we celebrate today,’ Mr Joyce said at the assembly. ‘These were men of intense drive and desire to create an institution that would open up the minds of those who walked its halls, and would in turn open up the world for them. The Wesleyan teachings on which the College was founded deeply value the importance of education, and its power to change the lives of many. They also identify the need to prevent the exploitation of the powerless of society.  

‘With those opportunities, you may even get a chance to make the world a better place, and change the narratives,’ Mr Joyce told students at the Founders’ Day assembly. ‘That quest may lead you to where the founders were 150 years ago, and you may create an institution that will open these doors for the generations who come after you. That was their legacy, and it could be yours.’ 

Founders’ Day was instituted by Mr Lawrence Arthur Adamson as Headmaster from 1902 to 1932 to commemorate the founding of Wesley College in 1866. According to College Curator of Collections Kenneth Park, Founders’ Day is an opportunity for the College community to reaffirm it commitment to as ‘a true education’ expressed in terms of the key mission of educating the ‘whole person’. 

‘Wesley has always managed to fuse tradition with innovation. Over the decades the College has evolved to meet, or exceed the expectations of the day. The words of our motto – Sapere Aude – “dare to be wise”, fittingly encapsulates this ethos,’ Mr Park said. ‘In 1978, Wesley College truly “dared to be wise” when it moved from an all-boys to a coeducational school, in what was a bold decision for the time. 

 ‘The introduction of coeducation at Wesley College not only acknowledged the reality of a changing world but firmly and successfully placed Wesley in this reality.’ 

The College continues to demonstrate its innovative nature through introduction of the International Baccalaureate, Mr Park observed. ‘The introduction of the International Baccalaureate a few years after coeducation signalled the school’s commitment to a truly outward looking vision, and clear acknowledgment that the world was becoming increasingly interconnected,’ he said.

Photo: Wesley College in 1892

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