Melbourne Uni gets $30m gift from couple

Benita Kolovos

A philanthropic husband and wife have donated $30 million to the University of Melbourne to fund scholarships for the next four decades.

Paul Little and Jane Hansen, who built a fortune through real estate and developed the Hansen Little Foundation in 2015, gifted the university the money on Monday to build a student residence and establish a scholarship program in their names.

It is the largest donation of its kind in the university's history.

Twenty students will be selected as 'Hansen Scholars' each year, starting in 2020, and will receive free accommodation at the new building, named Little Hall.

They will also receive financial and career support throughout their time at university.

The scholarship will provide unparalleled opportunities and support for students whose personal circumstances may otherwise deny them the chance to study, Ms Hansen said.

"I firmly believe that an individual's life trajectory should be guided by their determination to achieve their ambitions," she said in a statement.

"The Hansen scholarship program will significantly expand the horizons of its recipients - enabling and emboldening them to reframe their dreams and re-imagine their futures."

Little Hall would be designed to house 669 students.

"Little Hall will be an exciting addition to Melbourne, a unique and outstanding architectural statement that establishes a new benchmark for student living in a distinctive academic and intellectually rich environment," Mr Little said.

In 2015 the couple donated $10 million to the university's history department and in 2017, they pledged $3.5 million to help upgrade Victoria's State Library.