Now 84, Roger says meeting the students he’s helped is ‘probably the reason I’m still here’. ‘It’s given me an interest in my retirement, and that’s important,’ he says. For him, it has also been important to pay generosity forward, noting that he himself came to Trinity on a scholarship. To this end, Roger stresses that his scholarships are merely a favour – they’re awarded to help students until such a time they’re in a position to pass on a favour themselves. Even if, like him, those students are hard-knock graduates, he hopes they’ll fight for justice in their chosen field. Roger is quick to rattle off issues he’d like to see addressed, listing global warming, sub-par political leadership and corporations running their business from ‘a satellite off Pluto’ to evade tax, as some of his many concerns for the world. But he hopes things can change, and hopes Trinity students will be able to drive that change. ‘The only way we can bring things back into balance is by getting different people to work together,’ he says. ‘That’s part of the reason most of Cybec’s scholarships focus on getting people to Trinity who wouldn’t otherwise be able to – it’s so students meet each other and realise there are other aspects to the world than the one they’ve been brought up in.’ 28 THANKING OUR DONORS TRINITY TODAY BY EMILY McAULIFFE Roger Riordan could be a poster child for the sort of wonky career path with which many of us can identify. Growing up, he rather liked botany but, alas, there was little money in it. For a time, he coveted a career in atomic power, but that didn’t work out either. Eventually, he settled on electrical engineering. Roger’s ensuing career notched a series of wins, only to be blunted by subsequent failures. He credits ‘accidentally’ revolutionising international telecommunications in 1967 as a high, only to have the introduction of digital technology a few years later make it defunct. He quit the rat race to start his own business … but that too fell flat. Throughout those early career years, Roger’s bank account seemed to have more ebb than flow, and on occasions he found himself having to line up for the dole.  One day, while pondering a dire career turn in an organisation he describes as ‘the academic equivalent of Siberia’, word came that a virus had infiltrated the office computers and was gobbling up hard disk files. Ever curious, Roger asked for a sample of the virus, cracked it and developed a shareware solution. The solution turned out to be rather popular and he used the resultant earnings to escape Siberia and retire at 55. That retirement was short-lived, however. Before long, Roger went in on a tech business with an ex-student as a ‘bit of a hobby’. It grew from two guys and two desks to a multinational company. The business sold for a pretty penny and Roger used the money to establish the Cybec Foundation. Roger’s goal for the foundation was clear – it would support the academically gifted – and he can pinpoint the moment he decided its course to an awards ceremony at his son’s school. Roger watched in bewilderment as a girl received resounding applause for a sports achievement, while a boy was politely clapped for a mathematics award. ‘I thought to myself, if I’m ever in a position to change this, I’m going to do something to redress this balance,’ he says. As it turned it, he did find himself in that position, and he did something about it. Roger offered his first scholarship to Trinity College through the Cybec Foundation in the late ’90s and has been giving annually ever since. GIVING Alumnus Roger Riordan AM is one of Trinity’s most generous benefactors and has been donating around $1 million per year to various organisations for a decade. Having gone from dole claimant to millionaire, Roger makes it clear that nothing – not even a scholarship – really comes for free.