From the noble idea of providing fair access to education for all, Flinders University this year is celebrating 50 years since starting its journey to establish a robust, contemporary tertiary institution offering bold opportunities for Australian and international students.
Like its namesake, British naval explorer Captain Matthew Flinders who first circumnavigated Australia, the University has built an impressive record of achievement based on a strong sense of learning and scientific discovery in a wide range of disciplines.
Flinders was founded in 1966 on the values of social justice and equity. It offers learning opportunities for students from a broad range of backgrounds – both on-campus in South Australia and off-campus – offering outreach to Australian Indigenous communities, including medical training in the Northern Territory, to partner universities in China, Singapore and a growing number of overseas countries.
From an original staff of 90 catering to 400 students, Flinders today has more than 2,000 academics and more than 24,000 students. In 1966 the campus was 370 acres (150 hectares) of open, hilly land. Its footprint now reaches from Bedford Park, Tonsley and CBD facilities in Adelaide to Darwin, Alice Springs and 10 regional centres in South Australia, the Northern Territory and Victoria.
The opening of the modern, new facility at the Tonsley innovation district south of Adelaide last year marked the next phase of achievement and transformation at Flinders.
“The program of 50th anniversary events offers many opportunities for the extended Flinders family to join together in marking this milestone, as well as allowing us to showcase our strengths and our capabilities,” Flinders University Vice-Chancellor Professor Colin Stirling says.
The University’s global reputation for research is on the rise, with Flinders included in the world’s top 2% of universities in 2015 and improvements across the board in the latest Excellence in Research Achievement rankings in Australia.
The appointment of 12 Matthew Flinders Fellowships for the 50th year will expand the University’s impressive record for outstanding research which is making a difference in many fields of excellence.
The official opening of a new Plaza and Student Hub at the heart of the original Bedford Park site – and the unveiling of a new Matthew Flinders statue – are among other highlights of the year ahead. The new Hub will also be the venue for a celebratory event for invited guests in July.
“These events and reunions in 2016 are a wonderful time to focus on our exciting aspirations for the future,” Professor Stirling says.
“Just as our namesake Matthew Flinders famously remarked he was not content to rest unnoticed in the middle order, Flinders as an institution has never been content with the status quo.
“We have always looked for ways to make the world a better place by making a positive difference.
“We’re taking stock of who we are and how we wish to engage with the world as we develop a new strategic plan to steer our successes going forward,” the Vice-Chancellor says.
A special commemorative book showcasing Flinders University’s standout achievers will be launched in early 2016.
And as the year progresses Flinders will lift the wraps on another on campus public event in spring, to showcase its strengths and promote community engagement – with the exciting details to be revealed mid-year.
More details about Flinders’ anniversary can be found on our 50th website 50.flinders.edu.au