The University of Wollongong and St George Illawarra Dragons will continue their longstanding partnership of delivering community programs for at least another three years.
And former Prime Minister John Howard was in the house on Wednesday night when the UOW and Dragons officially extended their Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) agreement to 2020.
UOW vice chancellor, Professor Paul Wellings CBE said the partnership would continue to open doors for collaboration and engagement within the wider community.
‘’The collaboration between our two organisations has increased over the years and this extension of the agreement opens further opportunities. Not just for the Dragons and UOW, but also for the wider community,’’ he said.
‘’We work closely to deliver a comprehensive range of programs and resources for primary and secondary schools across our communities, particularly through UOW’s Kids In2Uni initiative.
‘’We are thankful that players and staff have made themselves available for appearances as part of our mutual programs.’’
St George Illawarra chairman Brian Johnston said the successful and proud history between the Dragons and UOW can only lead to continued positive outcomes moving forward.
‘’Having worked cooperatively together across a range of areas since 2009, the new MoU enables us to strengthen and further develop the opportunities and potential of the partnership for all involved,’’ he said.
‘’The outcomes to date have been extremely positive and we are excited about the future together with UOW.’’
One of those successful projects is the Graduates of League (GOL) program.
The Dragons currently have 17 players enrolled at UOW studying a broad range of degrees as part of the acclaimed GOL program, which was established in 2012 as a way to increase the university entry, retention and completion rates of elite athletes and professional sports people.
Over the past five years the GOL program has supported 63 student-athletes, employed 81 students as peer mentors and had 10 graduations (with eight more expected in 2017).
In 2017 UOW also welcomed the first postgraduate GOL student, Dragons international prop, Russell Packer.