The Queen’s College scholarship program has been much enhanced by a recent bequest from the estates of Athol (Wyvern 1944) and Mildred Lapthorne.
Athol came to Queen’s with scholarship support to study Science at the University of Melbourne. The son of a Methodist Minister he had attended various schools in Western Australia and Victoria as the family moved from parish to parish, but he especially enjoyed his time at Dimboola Memorial Secondary College and it too is remembered in their Wills. Queen’s is now working cooperatively with that school to assist students who wish to come to the University of Melbourne from the Wimmera.
Whilst studying at Queen’s Athol met fellow science student Mildred Fitzpatrick. Thus began a loving partnership that lasted 62 years.
After graduating with a science degree, majoring in chemistry, he joined Monsanto and was soon promoted and sent for further training at head office in St Louis in the United States. In 1967, he was seconded to Monsanto’s head office for three years, where he and Mildred made the most of their stay, making many lifelong friends and taking an interest in the indigenous crafts, particularly the Kachina (Hopi Native American) figures. He went on to become managing director of Monsanto Australia and area director Asia-Pacific.
After his retirement from Monsanto Athol was a prominent figure in commercial circles Australia wide. He served on the Boards of Amcor, Ericsson Australia, BP Australia, ASEA Australia, Nicholas Kiwi, McIlwrwith McEacharn, McPhersons and T & G. As a consequence of his involvement with Swedish companies in Australia such as Ericsson and ASEA, he accepted an appointment as Honorary Consul for Sweden.
Athol had a life-long love of tennis and subsequently golf. He excelled at both. In tennis his talent was spotted by Harry Hopman and he subsequently partnered later Wimbledon champion Frank Sedgman in winning the Linton Cup junior interstate championship. Golf became a longer-term passion as a pennant player at Commonwealth Golf Club with the likes of the legendary Eric Routley, playing off a handicap of 1 for many years. He subsequently became a member of Royal Melbourne Golf Club and had the honour of serving as Captain of both Clubs.
In addition to his support for Queen’s, (where he subsequently was elected as a Fellow), Athol also Chaired the Fundraising Committee for the Royal Botanic Gardens, Melbourne. His philanthropy extended to the Epworth Hospital and the Baker Institute, where Mildred had worked after she graduated in biological sciences.
The generous bequest by Mildred and Athol to Queen’s will enable generations of talented and worthy students to attend the College, not least of which from Dimboola Memorial Secondary College.