Peter and Heather Howes have been honoured with the QUT Alumni Service Award for their spirit of generosity and commitment to inclusive tertiary education.
Peter and Heather Howes graduated in 1972 from QUT’s predecessor institute, the Queensland Institute of Technology (QIT), with a Bachelor of Business (Management) and Bachelor of Business (Accountancy) respectively.
Using their business and entrepreneurial expertise, they established a successful, global company developing cutting edge HR cloud software for undertaking workforce analytics and planning for large organisations. Peter and Heather sold their business in 2010 and their software continues to be used by thousands of SAP clients around the world. Peter continues to consult internationally on workforce planning and workforce analytics whilst also chairing their own family business, Newstead Brewing.
At the core of their business and life partnership is a shared philosophy and commitment to creating aspiration and pathways for inclusion. Peter and Heather’s belief in the transformative power of education is demonstrated through their actions and values.
Peter and Heather passionately believe that education has more impact on a person’s life than any other single factor and that everyone, regardless of their background and life circumstances, has the right to complete tertiary education and go on to pursue a successful career. This motivation partially stems from their own experience being in the minority of public high school students who had the opportunity to attend university in the late 1960s and early 1970s.
With this core value of transformative education in mind, the couple made their first relatively modest gift to the Learning Potential Fund (LPF) in 2009. A personal thank you call from the fundraising team left a lasting impression on Peter and Heather. Soon after, they commenced discussions with the QUT Advancement Office to facilitate a significant gift of $1 million to the LPF.
The Howes Family Learning Potential Fund Scholarships enables academic and personal excellence by providing eight $5000 scholarships annually to disadvantaged students most in need. Notably, the couple has placed no restrictions on the disciplines their scholarships support, believing that people should study ‘what they love’.
“Through the Howes Family Gift we hope to provide financial assistance to a number of students to complete their studies at QUT who may not have completed their studies without this assistance,” said Peter.
“We hope students use the support to pursue the passion they have for whatever they want to do.”
In addition to their gift, Peter and Heather have assisted QUT to generate further philanthropic support by sponsoring an annual LPF fundraising dinner for current and prospective donors since 2012. They have been featured in several LPF publications and continue to raise awareness of the fund through their extensive personal and business networks.
As alumni ambassadors, Peter and Heather have given their time generously to the alumni community and QUT through a range of volunteer activities supporting students and other initiatives. Significantly, through their service, advocacy and giving, they have championed QUT’s goal of becoming a philanthropic university and have assisted in donor cultivation and stewardship.
The annual QUT Outstanding Alumni Awards recognise outstanding graduates of the university, and its predecessor institutions, who have displayed exceptional professional, academic or research achievements and contributions to the community.
Each winner and their achievements will be celebrated at the Outstanding Alumni Awards dinner on October 12 at Room Three-Sixty at QUT Gardens Point campus. The QUT Outstanding Alumnus of the Year will also be announced at the event.