Afternoon Reception in Honour of Bond University’s 30th Anniversary
Chancellor; Vice-Chancellor; Council Members; distinguished guests; ladies and gentlemen. It is a great pleasure for Kaye and me to welcome ‘family and friends’ of Bond University to Government House this afternoon.
I at once acknowledge the traditional owners of the lands around Brisbane, and extend respectful greetings to Elders and emerging leaders. On matters Indigenous, may I also say up front how pleasing it has been to learn, on my many visits to Bond’s impressive campus, of its beneficial Indigenous initiatives.
Until the first decade of the 20th century, the number of universities in Queensland was precisely nil.
Higher education in our State has changed dramatically since then, and Bond University is an integral part of that story.
Today we celebrate the 30th anniversary of the University’s very first academic year in 1989-90, with an intake of just 322 students.
Those were interesting times. The Berlin Wall fell. The first GPS satellite was placed into orbit. A mysterious entity called the World Wide Web was first proposed.
Bond University made its own history by becoming Queensland and Australia’s first private, not-for-profit university.
The University is now an established part of the higher education sector, with the number of graduates steadily approaching 30,000, and a student body of more than 4,000 with a substantial cohort of international students.
And the University’s Isozaki-designed Arch Building is now a Gold Coast landmark in its own right – and I am inclined to think Mr Isozaki would have been intrigued to learn that it would become part of ‘Bondie’ folklore for toga-clad students to deliver impassioned orations under the impressive span of that Arch!
But university buildings are easier to construct than universities! The dedication and hard work required for the design of courses, accreditation, reputation-building and a host of other crucial tasks is, to put it mildly, significant.
Bond University has met those challenges, and more. The ‘more’ included constructing the first university buildings through two years of record rainfall, and corporate challenges, particularly in the 1990s.
I doubt that the University needs me to expound on the current coronavirus challenge!
It must be a source of great satisfaction to the university to know that in 30 years it has grown from a green-field site to an institution that has not only solidified its place in Australia’s higher education sector, but has also consistently ranked first among Australian universities in student experience.
Many individuals have contributed, and many continue to contribute, to Bond’s growth and development.
I congratulate the Chancellor, whose installation I had the honour of attending in 2016, and the Vice-Chancellor and President, on this impressive success.
I thank them and all those who have helped to transform the Bond University vision into reality – including current and former members of the University Council and the Academic Senate, the Deans and the broader academic community of the University, the all-important administrative staff, the university’s notably loyal alumni, students and their families.
And I wish Bond University every success in the future.