Former Non-Executive Director and Chairman of Leighton Contractors and Leighton Asia, Dieter Adamsas arrived in Australia by ship from war-torn Europe in 1950. He grew up in Western Sydney and graduated from UNSW with a Bachelor of Commerce in 1967.
"I have strong memories of my days as a student at UNSW. It was difficult working and studying but it was an important part of my development as a person and a foundation for my career," says Dieter.
Dieter began at Leighton Holdings as an accountant in 1971 and grew with the company, rising to the position of Chief Financial Officer and Executive Director of Leighton Holdings as the organisation expanded from annual sales of $50 million to $20 billion.
Committed to helping disadvantaged students access a business education as he did, Dieter has partnered with UNSW's ASPIRE program to help some of the state's most educationally disadvantaged students study at the Australian School of Business.
ASPIRE is the major UNSW outreach program for schools in NSW that are identified as disadvantaged and have some of the lowest access rates to university in the State. The program seeks to raise the aspirations of students and encourages them to go to university, while helping to remove some of the barriers that can stop students from attending.
ASPIRE runs programs and activities for students from kindergarten right through to Year 12. While only in its sixth year, the program is making a real difference and has increased the number of university places offered to students in the 2009-2011 program by 64%, with a 109% increase for girls' schools.
The new Dieter Adamsas Scholarship in Business will provide students from ASPIRE schools with $10, 000 each year for the duration of their undergraduate degree at the Australian School of Business. This new scholarship will change the lives of our most in-need students who may otherwise never be able to attend university. A recent scholarship recipient said:
"University is my golden opportunity to attain a life which contrasts strongly to that of my parents, I am determined to succeed."
In establishing the scholarship, Dieter is determined to support students coming to UNSW who are in greatest need. He says, "Education is one of the fundamental elements in the growth of an individual as a well-rounded person and provides a strong platform in the development of a satisfying career."
"Money and how much you earn gets a lot of attention in Australia and some people use it as a measure of success".
"It's nice to have, but at the end of the day, it's what you have achieved professionally, socially and in your community that will give you immeasurable satisfaction and recognition," says Dieter.