TO BE READ ON BEHALF OF RON TESORIERO AT THE
LAUNCHOF THE CHARLES TESORIERO LECTURESHIP
ON FRIDAY 24 APRIL 2009 AT 4.00 PM
I am an uncle of Charles and a co-executor of his Estate with Tamara Neal, who I understand will be present at the launch today.
I would like to thank the University of New England for arranging this celebration to launch the Charles Tesoriero Lectureship.
As you know, Charles in his Will, bequeathed funds to the University to enable it to introduce an additional lectureship in Latin. We are pleased that the University was enthusiastic about putting into effect the lectureship that Charles wanted and we are also pleased that the University was willing to supplement the amount of the bequest to ensure that the lectureship will be able to endure into the future.
A little about Charles – He was born in Sydney on 2nd July 1973 to Anna Tesoriero and to my brother, Vincent. Both his parents were graduates from Sydney University and had become successful. Anna was a Psychologist and Vincent was a Merchant Banker. Charles was an only child and he unfortunately lost both his parents within months of each other to cancer when he was only 16 years old.
Against these odds Charles excelled in his academic achievements at School and University. He graduated with Honours in Latin and went on to attain a PhD. At the time of his death he was a Lecturer in Classics and Ancient History at the University of New England.
Charles was a friendly and generous person and was affectionately admired by all who had come to know him. Even though he had a Significant inheritance from the Estates of his parents, he lived simply and did not spend money on luxuries for himself. This is perhaps exemplified in the motor vehicle he drove. It was a 10 year old Honda Civic which was valued for Probate purposes at $2000.
Charles took his life on 21st August 2005. He was 32 years old. He had been in a state of deep depression. We will never fully understand the pressures he was under that had clouded his mind to make him act to end his life. I don’t think he had ever come to terms with the loss of his parents. But when Charles put pen to paper and wrote out his own will in 2003, his mind was very clear.
He had a strong passion for Latin and the Classics. He believed that the teaching of Latin was a means of exposing students to the foundations of Western Culture and language and he regretted that Latin, a language which had traditionally been regarded as important, was no longer considered as relevant.
He was also very much aware of the limitations that existed for others to have academic opportunities at a teaching level in Latin at University His concern for them moved him to provide for two monumental acts of philanthropy. He bequeathed 1 million dollars to this University and another million dollars to the University of Sydney so that new lectureships could be established.
Such an expression of heart, such altruism! I do not think this comes from the way the molecules of Charles’ human body happened to have been assembled. Perhaps this is motivated by something outside – outside the realm of matter.
Charles believed that there was more to us than the bodies we leave behind. Something of his spirit he made us aware of in the same document that conveyed his charitable bequests – the like that I have never seen in a Will in my near 40 years as a solicitor. It had to do with concern for his soul and its eternal destiny.
There was a clause in his will that asked that his funeral service be a Requiem Mass held for him at the very church where he was baptised as an infant.
At his baptism I was appointed the Godfather of Charles by his parents. Charles wanted us to remember him after his death as having embraced the faith of his forefathers, the same faith that the forefathers of this great University had embraced when they placed at the centre of the University crest a symbol of hope, the symbol of Christianity.
It is my hope that those who benefit from Charles’ bequest will not only advance the cause of promoting a love for the Classics, but will also learn something of the motivations for philanthropy, that concern for others, that we of the family will always have as our memory of Charles.