The Perpetual Terry Pratchett Memorial Scholarship
As you may have heard, Sir Terry Pratchett has - posthumously - created a perpetual scholarship at the University of South Australia, allowing Masters students to undertake their research at the Hawke Institute at UniSA and the Long Room at Trinity College Dublin.
On Monday September 28, Rob Wilkins - Terry's long time PA, Business Manager and friend presented the scholarship to UniSA Vice Chancellor Professor David Lloyd. You may have seen some of the news articles, or the official video from UniSA (links below), but I'm here to tell you about a fan's perspective.
Members of the Australian Discworld Convention committee including myself were fortunate enough to be invited to this event, and so we stood there nervously amongst many other university dignitaries, feeling a little out of place - until Rob came in, recognised us, and gave us all hugs!
Once the formalities began, Professor Lloyd introduced Rob and the scholarship, Rob spoke for a short while about Terry's life since the embuggerance, and the relationship Terry and Rob had developed with Prof. Lloyd at his time at Trinity College Dublin and later UniSA. Terry was given an honorary doctorate at Trinity College in 2008 and at UniSA in 2014, and for some of the time in between, Terry was a visiting Professor at Trinity College giving some lectures on writing. Rob then told us how last October - on the day after Prof Lloyd had visited to present Terry with his UniSA doctorate (together with a graduate's hat with corks), Terry wrote letters to his family and to Rob, which were not opened until Terry's birthday this year, after his passing.
The letter to Rob included a phrase similar to "I fancy a memorial scholarship in my name. Speak to David Lloyd and make it so." - and it has now happened! This is special as it's a perpetual scholarship - worth AU$1,000,000 (there or thereabouts) - which should tie the two universities together in Terry's name forever.
After the speeches, Rob presented Professor Lloyd with a large novelty cheque from the Royal Bank of Ankh-Morpork, the official documentation was signed (and stamped with Terry's bee), and a few of us had Rob sign our copies of The Shepherd's Crown.
A fun morning all around, and we were also lucky enough to catch up privately with Rob a little later to discuss the 2017 Australian Discworld Convention, which will be held in Adelaide. But we can't possibly tell you about that.... although if you sign up to the mailing list you'll find out about Nullus Anxietas VI when we have stuff to announce!
Written by Danny Sag. Photos by Justin Baldock