He’s studied history, politics and law at Flinders over the years – and he loves the place so much that he has now come back to complete a PhD in Psychology.
Pictured celebrating the university’s 50th birthday at the launch of its new hub and plaza last month, Stephen Barrett’s huge smile reveals exactly how he feels about his alma mater.
“I was absolutely thrilled to be back, the celebrations and the new hub exceeded all of my expectations,” he says. “When I saw it, I was amazed.”
Mr Barrett says Flinders University had a transformative impact on him, broadening his horizons and introducing him to a new and better way of looking at life.
“When I came to Flinders it was like entering a new world,” he says. “Here was this place where we could have all of these incredible experiences that we’ve never had before.
“Even the police couldn’t come onto campus without permission, which I found really fascinating.”
During his studies, Mr Barrett established close personal ties with fellow alumni – including David Close, the father of SA Minister for Higher Education and Skills Susan Close.
Minister Close, herself a Flinders alumna, paid a moving tribute to Flinders as she officially opened the hub and plaza, saying how much it had done for her and her family.
Those are feelings that Mr Barrett, who served as the student member on Council, identifies with strongly.
“I’m very proud of Flinders, especially after seeing the new hub,” he says. “It was such a wonderful experience to come and see it, and to celebrate the 50th anniversary with other alumni.”
Now he wants to make Flinders a family affair for himself – and he says its slick new facilities have given him the edge in making it happen.
“My fourteen-year-old daughter had been talking about going interstate to study, but I’ve been working hard to convince her to go to Flinders,” he says.
“I brought her up to see the new hub and plaza and she loved it so much that she’s now giving serious consideration to going to Flinders instead.
“I’d love it if she could come and have the same experiences I had at Flinders,” he says.
“It really is such a wonderful place.”