Charity donates $10m to university

Owners of an ASX-listed company donated $10 million to a university with campuses in Coffs Harbor and Queensland to fund research.

Marcus Blackmore and wife Catherine of the $2 billion vitamin empire Blackmores made the personal donation to Southern Cross University through their philanthropic foundation.

Blackmore owns about a quarter of the company. He received an honorary doctorate in 2006 from the university and has served as a chair and director for the Southern Cross University foundation board.

The $10 million donation made alongside wife Catherine is the largest personal gift received by the university and also the largest grant given by the Blackmores foundation.

Southern Cross University vice chancellor professor Adam Shoemaker said the gift will be used to establish a national center for naturopathic medicine higher education, research and engagement.

"We aim to establish an internationally-recognised centre of excellence in naturopathic medicine education and associated research. We are proud to be the first Australian university to offer higher education qualifications in naturopathy," Shoemaker said.

"This will enable Southern Cross to provide distinctive career pathways and ongoing development for the profession, as well as increased research capability."

The new center is due for a 2019 opening and work is underway, the two said in a joint statement.

Marcus Blackmore said the donation's significance lay in the final wish of his father and the company's founder Maurice Blackmore who started from a dispensary in Queensland and wanted naturopathy to be respected and recognised as a profession.

"This is a very special day for Caroline and myself, both in helping to achieve my father's legacy, and my own passion to see the continued advancement of naturopathic education and critical health research in this country," Blackburn said.

"We have a responsibility to respond to the growing health care needs of Australia and evidence-based natural medicine will play an increasingly active role in that response."

In June last year, Blackmore stepped down as chief executive of the company and was replaced by former chief operations officer Richard Henfrey.

The foundation as well as the company have made multiple donations to fund research and education in the past. They both donated $5 million each to Western Sydney University's institute of complementary medicine in April, 2017.

Marcus Blackmore owns about $4.9 billion of the $2.1 billion company.

Read more: Southern Cross UniversityMarcus BlackmoreQueenslandAdam ShoemakerMaurice BlackmoreBlackburnRichard HenfreyWestern Sydney University
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