How a career in business leads to giving

Professor Yi-Chen Lan, Pro Vice-Chancellor of Global Development at Western Sydney University

Click on the image to view gallery.

Twenty-four years ago Professor Yi-Chen Lan first set foot in Western Sydney University as a Taiwanese international student.

Graduating with a Bachelor of Commerce, Computing and Information Systems (Honours) in 1998 and a PhD on the management of information technology issues in enterprise globalisation in 2004, the now Pro Vice-Chancellor of Global Development at Western Sydney University, can reflect on a career that has been equally influential among the students he has taught and the international relationships he has built.

It was while studying at the Westmead campus that Professor Lan met his future wife, started his academic career as a tutor and spoke as the student representative at the very first graduation ceremony held in the University’s auditorium at the Parramatta South campus.

Professor Lan’s student-centred way of thinking helped him make the transition from student-to-academic-to-executive, and led him to establish a scholarship to support exemplary local business students – the George WH Lan Business Scholarship.

“Quite simply, education has changed the trajectory of my life. I could not wait to provide an opportunity for students to receive support so that they too could achieve their academic and aspirational goals,” says Professor Lan.

“The scholarship is named in honour of my late father, a respected and successful businessman. My father was a wonderful humanitarian who deeply valued education, so much so that he sponsored me to study in Australia.

“I’m incredibly proud and humbled by the four undergraduate students that have benefitted from the scholarship to date.”

Business and Commerce student, and recipient of the George WH Lan Business Scholarship,  22-year-old Hayley Thrupp, recently celebrated her graduation with Professor Lan.

“Being the first in my family to attend university was a challenge as it was a new experience,” says Hayley.

“Being recognised for academic achievement by way of the scholarship felt like an acknowledgement of the effort I had put into my studies.”

Originally from St Marys, Hayley was one of 10 graduates chosen, out of 2000 applicants Australia–wide, to work in Melbourne as part of the NBN Co Graduate Program. She continues to work with the company in physical and cyber security.

19-year-old Camden resident Damon Koulouris, in his second year of the Bachelor of Business (Advanced Business Leadership), Sport Management, is also a recipient of the scholarship.

“The scholarship has allowed me to focus on my studies whilst actively seeking work experience within sporting organisations to gain an insight into the business of sport,” says Damon.

“I continue to reflect upon how generous Professor Lan has been in founding the scholarship.”

Thanks to the generosity of staff at all levels at Western Sydney University, more than $100,000 has been raised this year so far through the Staff Giving program which supports equity, refugee and research scholarships for students.

For more information and to get involved in Staff Giving visit:


19 November 2018

Ali Sardyga, Marketing Officer