But today Griffith University has a thriving Gold Coast campus in possibly the most exciting university precinct in the world.
Serviced by the new light rail system and across the road from one of Australia’s most modern hospitals and the site for the 2018 Commonwealth Games athletes’ village, Griffith is a mini-metropolis born of humble origins.
And according to a study released recently, a Griffith University degree today could improve earning potential by more than 40 per cent.
The latest Household, Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia (HILDA) survey, funded by the Australian Government, reveals Griffith delivers better career earning potential to its graduates than most universities.
Griffith is a member of the Innovative Research Universities group, which according to the HILDA survey means students at Griffith showed an “earnings premium” of 15 per cent higher than traditional universities, known as the Group of Eight.
The report also showed that compared to an educational level of Year 11 or below a Bachelor-level degree boosted earning potential by 40.7 per cent for men and 31.9 per cent for women. A Masters-level degree boosted earnings by 47.1 per cent for men and 42.1 per cent for women.
Deputy Vice Chancellor Professor Ned Pankhurst said the news comes as Griffith University’s Gold Coast campus marks 25 years since its humble beginnings in 1990 when there were just three buildings and 456 students.
Today it is home to more than 18,000 students learning from the best teachers in a cluster of multi-million-dollar buildings alongside literally hundreds of researchers tackling some of the toughest global problems.
Griffith School of Engineering lecturer Charles Hacker, who was here when Griffith first opened its doors to students in 1990, said he was proud to be part of such an innovative leading university.
He said while technology had dramatically changed the approach to teaching in the past 25 years, the passion and quality had always remained high.
“When I started we had buildings in the middle of nowhere and engineering wasn’t offered at first,” he said.
“I started as a physics and maths teacher and was over the moon when the opportunity came to utilise my electronics background.”
When Griffith opened in September 1990 at Parklands it became the region’s first “higher education” facility, offering courses in business, teacher education, the arts and social sciences.
Griffith was also the first university to acquire one of Australia’s most power computers, The IBM SP2 Parallel Supercomputer costing $1.3million in 1994.
A brief history of Griffith University Gold Coast
September, 1990 – Gold Coast campus opens after amalgamating with the Gold Coast College of Advanced Education.
1994 – Australia’s most powerful computer is installed at Griffith University The IBM SP2 Parallel Supercomputer’ cost 1.3million dollars in funding and allowed for researchers to carry out large numbers of calculations simultaneously
June, 2000 – The Honourable Ms Leneen Forde has served as the University’s first female chancellor. She was also the second woman in Australia to be appointed Chancellor of an Australian university. Ms Forde retired in 2015.
2005 – Professor Ian O’Connor begins as Griffith’s fourth Vice Chancellor
July 1, 2005 – The first Australian School of Dentistry opens in nearly 60 years.
July 19, 2013 – The state of the art $150 million Griffith Health Centre Building opened.
November 14, 2013 – The first test tram arrived into the underground station at the Gold Coast campus by Vice Chancellor Professor Ian O’Connor. The light rail officially began running in July 2014.
August 2014 – Opening of $38 million Griffith Business School building
February 2015 – The Margaret Mittelheuser AM Trading Room opened, named after Australia’s first female stockbroker.
April 2015 – The Menzies Foundation partners with Griffith to form the Queensland Menzies Health Institute, the only one of its type in Queensland
2015 June – Griffith welcomes new chancellor Henry Smerdon AM
Some popular Schools at Griffith University Gold Coast Campus
- Griffith Business School
- Griffith Dental School
- Griffith Law School
- Griffith Medical School
- Griffith Physiotherapy School
- Griffith Speech Pathology School