Independent agricultural and equine college Marcus Oldham is expanding its student housing to meet growing demand.

Story Ken Eastwood  Photo courtesy Marcus Oldham

A new 45-bed student residence is being built at Marcus Oldham College in Geelong, Vic, in preparation for next year’s student intake. The
$10 million project is the second new residential building in recent
years, after the college opened a 30-bed facility in 2022.

Chairman and director of the College Council, Rob McGavin, says demand for Marcus Oldham’s courses has been growing rapidly, particularly for bachelor degrees in agriculture and agribusiness. “The model is housing everyone on site and because of the demand we’ve been renting houses up the street,” he says.
“It’s so much of a better learning experience if everyone’s on campus.”

Marcus Oldham welcomed its first 14 farm management students in 1962. Once this new housing project is finished, there will be room for 190 students on campus.

College principal Andrew Baker says, “Living on campus is integral to our students’ full learning experience, fostering invaluable collegiate learning in communal spaces beyond the classroom. At Marcus, we ensure close interaction with lecturers and peers.”

Rob says that the college is currently fundraising the last $2.5 million for the project. Receiving no government funding, the new building has been supported so far by generous philanthropists such as Nicola Forrest, co-owner of R.M.Williams. Rob, who is CEO and executive chairman of olive producers Boundary Bend, and his family have also donated money to the cause.

“Marcus Oldham was life-changing for me personally,” he says. “We don’t get any government funding, so we can run it the way we want to run it, without government interference. It’s just really rewarding to be involved in it – it’s a great way to give back.”

All donations are fully tax-deductible.

This story excerpt is from Issue #155

Outback Magazine: June/July 2024