This year is the twentieth consecutive year that Philip Solomon QC (OM 1986) has given a financial gift to Melbourne Grammar School.
Commencing even before his sons were born, Philip cites the set of values he learnt at Melbourne Grammar as being crucial to the development of his commitment to service and desire to ‘pay it forward’.
Intellectual, serious, and focused, Philip displays warmth, understanding, and compassion when talking about the importance of helping others to have successful lives. “Together with my wife, Rachel, I find supporting the School to be very rewarding,” says Philip. “I loved my time at the School and I want others to have access to the opportunities that I was given.”
Philip’s contributions to the School extend well beyond monetary giving. Philip is the new President of the Melbourne Grammar School Foundation Board. He has been a member of the Board since 2009, a member of the School Council since 2014 and is a former President of The Old Melburnians Council.
Philip and Rachel’s sons, Jack and Ben, currently attend the School. “Like me, they are having a marvellous experience at the School and, I think, are being imbued with a public service mindset,” says Philip. (Jack Solomon was the youngest contributor to the New World of Teaching and Learning Campaign even though he will have left the School before the Geoff Handbury Science and Technology Hub is opened.)
In 2014, Philip established the Isidor Solomon Memorial Award in his late father’s name. (Isidor was a graduate of the School in 1946.) “I received two academic awards during my time at Melbourne Grammar – the W A Syme Award and the J & W Derham Prize,” says Philip. “They served at the time to validate my hard work and, even now, remain a source of pride, and of connection to the families who gave the award.”
As incoming President, Philip wants the Foundation Board to look both forwards and backwards. “Many parents, current and past, and Old Boys and Old Girls have given generously in respect of the Geoff Handbury Science and Technology Hub. It is important that we recognise these members of our community and make sure they are able to continue along the journey of the project should they wish to do so.”
However, Philip believes that, now that the New World of Teaching and Learning Campaign goal has been reached, it is time for the Board more assiduously to focus on the four broader philanthropic priorities of the School – Buildings and Grounds, Scholarships, Indigenous Bursaries, and the Melbourne Grammar School Foundation Endowment Fund (which is largely supported by Witherby Tower Society members).
“I know that many people in the Melbourne Grammar community understand the importance and impact of philanthropy, and want to support the School in this regard. Our multi-faceted “four pillar” approach means that people can elect to support the programme that appeals to them, or for which they have a particular interest,” says Philip. “I look forward to working with the Board and other members of our community to continue to grow the ‘pay it forward’ culture at Melbourne Grammar School.”