Thanks to the extraordinary generosity shown by one CGS Old Boy towards his school, Canberra Grammar School now has a world-class flagship facility to promote Australia’s educational engagement with Asia.
Funded by the generosity of the Canberra Airport owner, philanthropist and CGS Old Boy, Mr Terry Snow, the $8 million Snow Centre for Education in the Asian Century represents one of the largest gifts to a school in Australian history. It is also the first facility of its kind in Australia to be established at a non-tertiary educational institution.
On 5 March 2015, barely a year after construction began, The Snow Centre was formally opened by Mr Terry Snow at a special outdoor assembly combining the Senior and Junior Schools in the presence of visiting ambassadors and diplomats, Federal Parliamentary representatives and members of the ACT Legislative Assembly, as well as senior academic specialists, educational and business leaders, School and Foundation Board members and many well-wishers from the School community.
The official opening featured musical performances and poetic readings in multiple languages and was followed in the evening by a fabulous party to celebrate The Snow Centre with fireworks and a variety of spectacular cultural festivities, including Taiko drumming, traditional Chinese lion dancing, and an Indonesian dance recital.
Dr Garrick said “The Snow Centre, is designed physically and conceptually to transform learning and teaching at the School, not only placing global literacy at the heart of the curriculum, but facilitating the kind of open, collaborative and self-directed learning skills that students need to flourish in the modern world. It may well accommodate and influence the learning of more students at any one time than any other single building in the School.”
The Snow Centre supports the School’s commitment to contributing actively to ACT education by providing opportunities for collaboration in teacher training with the Australian National University’s world-leading School of Asia and the Pacific and with the University of Canberra’s Master of Teaching (MTeach) programme.
The work of The Snow Centre builds on the School’s long history of teaching Asian Studies and, specifically, of engagement with China. The School achieves outstanding results in Chinese and annually sends students on exchange to Chinese schools and in recent years to Chinese universities on scholarships. Old Boy of the School and former Prime Minister Gough Whitlam is credited with establishing Australia’s modern relations with China.
The Centre houses 12 classrooms for the teaching of Asian languages, geography, history, economics and culture, and includes an indoor and outdoor amphitheatre for seminars, an exhibition area, open learning spaces, student collaboration pods, and video conferencing facilities to link lessons with schools and universities around the world. The Centre will prove to be one of the busiest buildings at CGS accommodating nearly 50 classes a day, and 500 classes every fortnight.
Terry Snow’s extraordinary donation of The Snow Centre for Education in the Asian Century not only represents a major contribution to the intellectual life of Canberra Grammar School but it provides powerful impetus through the CGS Foundation to the School’s aspirations for perpetual improvement.
Launched with the start of construction on the Snow Centre, the CGS Foundation has a mission to support the School’s commitment to providing world-class educational standards, to funding scholarships and bursaries, and to carrying out a master plan for long-term campus renewal.