Potishko family and Goldman Sachs provide scholarships

UNSW Law alumnus Dmitri Potishko came to Australia from his homeland of Ukraine after the collapse of communism in the Soviet Union. When his family reached Sydney, both his parents were unemployed, so Potishko had to work to fund his study at UNSW in a combined Science/Law degree, eventually receiving a number of scholarships that greatly assisted him.

Almost two decades later, having established a successful career in investment banking, and now as a partner in the Hong Kong office of Goldman Sachs, Potishko wants to give back to the university that launched his career, to help disadvantaged students like he once was. 

“The University gave me a great opportunity to succeed on the basis of talent alone; it also helped me with financial scholarships at a time when I definitely needed it. I feel grateful for the opportunity and want to reciprocate in a small way,” Potishko says.

Goldman Sachs Gives, at the recommendation of Potishko, is supporting four scholarships at UNSW, to assist students in need. Established in 2007, Goldman Sachs Gives is a donor-advised fund, from which current and retired senior employees can recommended grants to qualified non-profit organizations.  The firm has contributed US$1.25 billion to Goldman Sachs Gives since 2010, supporting initiatives in 81 countries.

The first scholarship - the Potishko Family Goldman Sachs Gives Science/Law Scholarship - provides $7,000 a year for five years to encourage and support a high-achieving student from a low income background. It’s open to students commencing a Science/Law, Science (Advanced) (Hons)/Law, or Science (Advanced Maths) (Hons)/Law degree.

Potishko is also donating significantly to a second scholarship at UNSW Law, the Ngoc Tram Nguyen Scholarship, which was established to support a socio-economically disadvantaged student from a non-selective, public high school located in South West Sydney, who wants to study an undergraduate combined law degree.

In addition to the two law scholarships, Potishko and Goldman Sachs Gives are creating two other scholarships, again for school leavers from low income backgrounds, selected through their final year results and their standing in the UNSW School Mathematics Competition who want to study a Bachelor of Science.

Notable success in Physics Olympiads in the Ukraine, and high achievement after less than a year at Sydney Boys High, was how Potishko received early acceptance into UNSW, even before he had completed his HSC. He began studying a Bachelor of Science in 1993 and added a Law degree the next year.

“I had great lecturers along the way both in Maths and Law who really pushed me to think deeply. This was very satisfying,” he says. “I was also very lucky to study with a small but very strong group of Maths students, people who were very competitive but also got along and stayed connected many years after.”

Potishko is very passionate about assisting students who come from low income families to study at university. “I think awarding people for merit alone, and giving them the opportunity to study at university without having to balance study and work, really can make a difference,” he says. “Encouraging students from different backgrounds supports diversity as well.”

For more information about this story, or other news from UNSW Law, please contact Jordana Wong, Director of External Relations:

Email: Jordana.wong[at]unsw.edu[dot]au

Phone: (02) 9385 1538

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