THE legacy of beloved pathologist Peter Hendry lives on, after he bequested $500,000 to support students from disadvantaged backgrounds through their University of Newcastle training to become doctors.
Head of School of Medicine and Public Health, Professor Brian Kelly, said Dr Hendry AO knew too well the gift of education.
His mother appealed to parishioners after his Presbyterian minister father’s death to support her children’s schooling.
He went on to study medicine at the University of Sydney and specialised in pathology.
“It is testament to Dr Hendry’s great character that he chose to honour those who had shown him such generosity as a young man,” Professor Kelly said.
“We feel honoured that our school can help Dr Hendry help others and we are extremely grateful for Dr Hendry’s support for upholding our commitment to equity and excellence at UON.”
Director of the Office of Alumni and Philanthropy Rebecca Hazell said Dr Hendry’s gift would be life-changing.
“Philanthropic support from the community is received in many ways and helps provide scholarships for our students, funds vital research and enables community programs.”
The Herald wrote after Dr Hendry’s death aged 102 on September 16, 2017 that his passing “leaves Newcastle the poorer”. “Dr Hendry has played a quiet role in many of our greatest institutions.”
Dr Hendry deployed to Malaya in 1941, was a prisoner of war in Changi and worked on the Burma-Thailand Railway.
Fellow POW Tom Brereton suggested he relocate to Newcastle – a city he said didn’t impress him at first – and he arrived in 1947 as a clinical pathologist.
He ran a private practice until he was 85, established Hendry and Hampson Pathology Services in 1956, co-authored a book still considered a benchmark in the history of clinical pathology and helped pioneer life-saving techniques for blood transfusions in dying babies.
He was president of the Royal College of Pathologists of Australasia for three years in the 1970s and a founding member and director of the Blood Bank who became an Officer of the Order of Australia in 1985.
He was UON’s longest serving member of University Council and council's longest serving deputy chancellor.
Speaking at Dr Hendry’s funeral, Dr Bernie Curran AM said his friend was a “genuine hero although he had no aspiration to heroism”.
“While his achievements were great his humility prevailed; as did his love of humour.
“He was a gentleman and a gentle man who... could show great strength and courage; he was the leader who led from the centre.
“Of all the values he cherished and practised, loyalty stood at their heart.”