Kay Attali – The ‘bloodhound’ with a big heart

‘Bloodhound’ is rarely employed as a term of endearment, but when the late Peter Gebhardt (TC 1955) used it to depict Kay Attali, he meant it as such. This reputation evolved from Kay’s ability to set her sights on a goal, and to pursue the goal until a successful outcome was achieved.

Kay has made a significant impact during her time at Trinity. She has forged relationships with major donors, was instrumental in securing $500,000 from Rio Tinto which led to the formation of the Bachelor of Arts Extended (BA Ext) and Leith Trust funding so the BA Ext curriculum could be developed, she helped mentor and support many students, particularly Indigenous and migrant students, and was a strong voice in advocating for a more inclusive and diverse student body.

‘I’ve really enjoyed it, but I’m past my use-by date,’ says Kay. ‘I was really keen on getting all the Indigenous programs up and going, and more low SES Scholarships, and that’s all happening.’

A compassionate individual with a strong sense of social justice, yet Kay is loath to be labelled another ‘bleeding heart’.

Her compassion is manifest in her relationships with students and staff at the College. Louis Dai (TC 2007), recently reflected on the impact Kay had during his time at the College.

‘Her mix of kindness and audacity has had a lasting impact on a number of students that went through Trinity, and I can only hope that the College continues to uphold Kay’s unerring belief in helping and supporting those who need it most,’ says Louis.

Director of Advancement, Scott Charles, is also glowing of Kay’s ability to fight for others while making an impact and touching the lives of those at the College.

‘Whether it be fighting with Government departments to ensure a student gets ‘Abstudy’, writing a very robust and compelling case to a Trust or Foundation as to why a particular program will make a positive impact on the community or providing a room in her own house for a student with nowhere else to go, Kay has done it all. She has made an outstanding contribution and will be missed dearly,’ says Scott.

Kay will miss many things about the College. Most notably, walking across the Bul and the special people she has come into contact with at Trinity.

‘I really enjoy seeing Mal (Malcolm Fraser) the gardener and talking about flowers, Pat (Nicholson) the plumber, and Carol (Thorpe) turning on my heater in winter or turning on the fan in summer.’

She will particularly miss all her supportive and hard-working colleagues on the Advancement team; Essie Marendy for her kindness and precise comments on world affairs, Scotty who she says has been a terrific boss and is one of the kindest people she knows, Bishop Grant’s dry sense of humour and vast knowledge of all things Trinity and walking to work with Jennifer Wraight, her conversation and big smile.

Other significant figures during Kay’s time at the College include: Peter Tregear (former Dean of Trinity), Dr Jon Ritchie (former Indigenous Project Officer) and Clare Pullar (former Director of Development).

The growth of the Indigenous programs at the College is something Kay is very pleased to see become a reality.

‘The Indigenous cohort has grown to a point where it’s no longer a big deal to be an Indigenous student at Trinity, it’s normal; that’s a vast improvement,’ she says.

Kay is looking forward to life after Trinity. She will continue to do Tai Chi and tap dancing and also plans to collaborate on a new photojournalism book. In January 2018, she’s taking her 9-year old granddaughter to Thailand- street markets, kayaking, and elephants are on the itinerary.

Congratulations Kay on all you have done for Trinity, and good luck with what lies ahead.

On November 17, Kay Attali, Advancement Associate, Major Projects, retires after working at Trinity for the past 13 years.

17 Nov 2017
Category: People