University of Newcastle kicks of 50th Anniversary celebrations

The University of Newcastle kicked off the beginning of a year of celebrations on March 20 to mark its 50th anniversary.

A 1965 Ford Thames truck—the recreation of an iconic image from one of the university’s ’60s autonomy day parades—provided an extraordinary stage near the Great Hall for the Vice-Chancellor, Professor Caroline McMillen, and Chancellor, Mr Paul Jeans, to address the crowd.

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“We’ve come a long way since the campaign for autonomy, and throughout 2015 we will be celebrating with our students, staff and the community, who have played a pivotal role in our history and who are key to UON’s future,” Professor McMillen said.

“Our university’s success is the result of the energy and spirit of a remarkable community and we thank them for the world-class university they have helped to build over 50 years.”

In 1965, the University of Newcastle started with 1,700 students and 140 academic staff, and it has grown significantly from those modest beginnings. Today, UON is a global institution with approximately 40,000 students enrolled in programs in Australia and overseas, and 2,500 staff including researchers who are in the top 1% in their field in the world.

The university rounded off its first half-century as the number one university in Australia in both the QS ‘Top 50 Under 50′ and the Times Higher Education’s rankings of the world’s top 100 universities under 50 years old.

“Our communities had confidence that their university would take its place on the world stage and in 50 years we have repaid that confidence by building a world-class university which supports its communities through the delivery of excellence in education, research and innovation,” Professor McMillen said.

“Since our foundation, access to quality higher education for bright students from all of our communities—independent of their social, cultural or financial backgrounds—has remained a core value and part of our institutional DNA.

“We are proud to be the largest provider of enabling programs in Australia and today 24 per cent of our students are from low socio-economic backgrounds, which is well above the sector average.

“We have also been at the forefront of Indigenous education in Australia for more than 30 years, with the Wollotuka Institute underpinning the most comprehensive range of Indigenous studies programs available in Australia.

The University of Newcastle also announced it will launch its Celebrating 50 calendar. Upcoming events:
  • Graduation Parade in the city 16 April
  • Our Community, Your University Exhibition June – August
  • Our Community, Your University Family Festival Day 14 June


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