A look through the history of the University of Wollongong
Created by uow on 27/04/2011
Last updated: 17/04/14 at 14:47
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UOW’s Centre for Small Business and Regional Research released a comprehensive research study that showed that University activities generate over $2 billion in economic activity annually, with the majority of it spent in the Illawarra region. In August Team UOW Australia, made up of UOW and TAFE Illawarra students and staff, won Solar Decathlon China 2013 – a high profile international competition that challenged university teams from around the world to design, build and operate an energy-efficient solar-powered house. Professor Richard (Bert) Roberts became UOW’s third Australian Laureate Fellow when the Australian Research Council provided five years of funding for the renowned geochronologist to establish the Australian Centre for Archaeological Science at the University.
UOW’s fourth Vice-Chancellor Professor Paul Wellings took over on 1 January. Professor Wellings had been Vice-Chancellor at Lancaster University in the UK since 2002. Prior to that he spent 21 years in Australia at the CSIRO, as a research ecologist rising to Deputy CEO. Professor Wellings is pictured at his first official duty welcoming the region’s high-achieving HSW students to a celebratory event at the University. Later in the year Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic) Professor Rob Castle retired after 42 years at UOW. He had joined the Wollongong University College in 1970 when it had 1000 students and 90 staff, and left with student numbers at 26,000 and staff at more than 2000.
In the year that UOW celebrated the 60th anniversary of the establishment of the small regional college that grew into the University, its longest-serving Vice-Chancellor retired. Professor Gerard Sutton had been Vice-Chancellor for almost 17 years, presiding over unprecedented development at the University. NSW Governor Professor Marie Bashir hosted a reception in Professor Sutton’s honour at Government House to acknowledge his enormous contribution to higher education. UOW published a commemorative history, REGIONAL ICON, GLOBAL ACHIEVER, to mark the 60th anniversary and the end of the Sutton era at UOW.
UOW celebrates 60th anniversary.
University of Wollongong in Dubai reaches a significant milestone with its 5000th graduate.
NSW Health Minister Carmel Tebbutt opens the $30 million Illawarra Health and Medical Research Institute in July. In August a $20 million building housing UOW’s Sydney Business School and a UOW/TAFE digital media centre opened at the Innovation Campus, and was named the Mike Codd Building in honour of the former Chancellor. In October Indian IT services company MphasiS opened a development and delivery centre at UOW, and Adam Gilchrist, Glenn McGrath and a host of former Test cricket stars participate in the second annual Stumping Serious Diseases celebrity cricket match. In December NSW Governor Professor Marie Bashir attended the graduation ceremony for UOW’s first Medical School graduates.
In February UOW was ranked first overall for student satisfaction among Australian universities in a new independent survey, the Sweeney Student Satisfaction Ranking.
In May UOW’s corporate arm, the ITC Group of Companies, donated $6 million to launch the university’s Medical Research Support Fund.
Chancellor Michael Codd AC announced his retirement after three four-year terms. His replacement, effective 1 October, was Jillian Broadbent AO. Ms Broadbent, who has a banking background, is on the Reserve Bank of Australia Board and is a director of SBS and Coca-Cola Amatil. She is the third Chancellor, after Justice Robert Hope and Mr Codd.
In November UOW hosted the inaugural Stumping Serious Diseases celebrity cricket match and fund-raising dinner, where UOW Ambassador Adam Gilchrist was the guest speaker. The two events were organised to raise funds for UOW’s medical research programs.
In June NSW Premier Morris Iemma officially opened iC Central, the first building to be completed at the Innovation Campus. Three other buildings were under construction on the 33-hectare site. Mr Iemma capped off the celebrations by announcing $15 million in government funding towards the Illawarra Health and Medical Research Institute to be built at UOW.
UOW retained its place in the Jiao Tong rankings, strengthening its position among the world’s top two percent of research universities.
In August Faculty of Science Dean Professor Rob Whelan took up a new role as President of the University of Wollongong in Dubai.
On 24 September Professor Gerard Sutton becomes UOW’s longest-serving VC, overtaking his predecessor Professor Ken McKinnon’s mark of 13 years, seven months.
In the same month, cricketing icon Adam Gilchrist joined the University as its Ambassador in India. Gilchrist and Professor Sutton led a delegation to India to generate interest in Indian technology companies establishing research bases at the Innovation Campus.
In November long-serving Vice-Principal (Overseas Operations) and ITC Group CEO Dr James Langridge retired after 34 years with the University. Among Dr Langridge’s many achievements was spearheading the establishment of the University of Wollongong in Dubai and pioneering Australia’s international student recruitment programs.
In December, the Federal Government announced $35 million in funding to create a national infrastructure research, modelling and training institute at UOW, to be called the SMART (Simulation, Modelling and Analysis for Research and Teaching) Infrastructure Facility.
On January 29 NSW Governor Professor Marie Bashir welcomed the inaugural cohort of 80 students at UOW’s Graduate School of Medicine. The school is based at two centres at UOW’s Wollongong and Shoalhaven campuses. UOW hosted inaugural Universities Australia workshop (the organization formed to replace the AVCC) with Gerard Sutton UA’s inaugural chair. UOW retained its place in the World Top 200 Universities ranking, and for the first time is included in Jiao Tong Top 200 – putting UOW in the top two percent of world universities based on research rankings.
Vice-Chancellor Professor Gerard Sutton began a two-year term as President of the Australian Vice Chancellor’s Committee (AVCC).
New Federal Education, Science and Training Minister Julie Bishop announced $12 million funding to build the Global Centre of Excellence in Transnational Crime Prevention – one of the first research centres to be built at UOW’s Innovation Campus.
In November, UOW was named inaugural Commonwealth University of the Year at an awards ceremony in London. The awards, run by The Times Higher Education Supplement in liaison with the Association of Commonwealth Universities, focused on how universities achieve community engagement. UOW’s submission centred around its commitment to the community with the development of the Graduate School of Medicine and the Innovation Campus. UOW included in The Times World Top 200 Universities for the first time.
Federal Education Minister Dr Brendan Nelson announced UOW’s internationally acclaimed Intelligent Polymer Research Institute will play a pivotal role in the new $12 million Australian Centre of Excellence in Electromaterials Science to create the new generation of bionic ears, artifical muscles and nerve repairs. IPRI Director Professor Gordon Wallace was appointed the Centre’s Director.
Federal Education Minister Dr Brendan Nelson announced $10 million in capital funding to establish a Graduate School of Medicine at UOW. The medical school accepted its first students in February 2007.
The University of Wollongong established a satellite campus at Nowra and Education Access Centres in Batemans Bay, Bega and Moss Vale and a campus at Loftus in southern Sydney from 2003.
In December NSW Premier Bob Carr presented Professor Sutton with a cheque for $16 million for infrastructure spending to begin the $300 million Innovation Campus project – a major research and development precinct currently being developed at Fairy Meadow.
UOW was awarded an unprecedented second University of the Year title for 2000-2001 for preparing students for the e-world.
UOW was named Australia’s University of the Year for 1999-2000 for its outstanding research and development partnerships. The same year it opened new premises for its Shoalhaven Campus at West Nowra.
Justice Robert Hope retired as Chancellor, having given 22 years of outstanding service to UOW and in the process becoming the longest-serving Chancellor in Australian academic history. A former Head of the Prime Minister’s Department, Michael Codd AC, became UOW’s second Chancellor.
Professor Ken McKinnon retired as Vice-Chancellor. He was replaced by Professor Gerard Sutton, who had served as Deputy Vice-Chancellor at UOW and earlier was Foundation Pro Vice-Chancellor at the University of Technology, Sydney (UTS). Professor Sutton has an engineering background and before moving into his senior administrative posts he worked as a naval research scientist. His career included a period as a Visiting Research Scientist in the Admiralty Underwater Weapons Establishment in the United Kingdom.
UOW established a Campus in Dubai in the United Arab Emirates. It now has more than 1200 students.
The same year it also established a Campus in the Shoalhaven at Berry.
The University established a Law Faculty, in the face of intense competition from other universities.
The University established a Law Faculty, in the face of intense competition from other universities.
It also opened a 50m swimming pool which is still the centerpiece of impressive sporting facilities on the campus. International sporting teams including the United States swimming team and the Australian Wallabies rugby union team have used the campus as a training base.
Canadian-based multinational telecommunications company Nortel Networks established a research centre on the Wollongong Campus. This was to be the catalyst for UOW developing the Southern Hemisphere’s biggest university-based Information Technology research facility.
Also in 1989, UOW presided over a unique ceremony when it conferred the honorary degree of Doctor of Letters on three former Prime Ministers – Australians Sir John Gorton and Gough Whitlam, and Michael Somare from Papua-New Guinea.
The University enrolled its first directly recruited full-fee paying students from overseas. International students now comprise more than 20 percent of the student population.
The University of Wollongong Multi-purpose Childcare
Centre opened in 1984. It caters for over 50 children from 0 - 12 years.
This year saw the establishment of the School of Creative Arts (now a separate Faculty) and a number of new courses, including a Bachelor of Environmental Science.
In 1982 the Faculty of Education established a Unit to respond to the needs of Aboriginal students on campus. By 1985 there had been a major move to recruit Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students into study programs. In 2005, the Centre was re-named Woolyungah Indigenous Centre (WIC).
Amalgamation of UOW and the Wollongong Teachers College (which had been renamed the Wollongong Institute of Education in 1973).
In April Professor Ken McKinnon became the University’s second Vice-Chancellor, with Professor Birt departing to become Vice-Chancellor at UNSW.
Professor McKinnon had been a highly successful academic administrator in the Australian Government, and chairman of the Schools Commission. His experience with the Canberra bureaucracy was to be hugely valuable in his years at the helm.
The University’s corporate arm, now known as Illawarra Technology Corporation, was also established as Uniadvice in 1981 as a division within the Friends of the University of Wollongong Ltd. It now operates in more than 20 countries.
The University of Wollongong (UOW) began life as a fully independent institution. One of Australia’s most eminent jurists, Justice Robert Hope, was installed as the Foundation Chancellor in a ceremony held in 1976.
In June Professor Michael Birt was appointed Vice - Chancellor-designate and commenced duty in November 1973. He had been the Foundation Professor of Biochemistry at the Australian National University.
In December the University of Wollongong Act passed through State Parliament. It included provisions for the appointment of a Vice-Chancellor.
In April the NSW Government announced that WUC would become the independent University of Wollongong in 1975.
A campaign for autonomy from UNSW gained momentum when a busload of students went to Parliament House to protest a decision by UNSW not to build an Arts/ Commerce/ Science building at WUC.
The first Arts and Commerce students enrolled at WUC. There were 68 in Arts and 17 in Commerce, but numbers quickly rose and they remain the biggest Faculties.
The Wollongong Division of UNSW became the Wollongong University College (WUC) at the Northfields Avenue site. The Governor-General Lord de L’Isle performed the official opening ceremony on 1 March. The new University College had 308 students, all male, studying Engineering, Metallurgy or Science degrees. Almost all studied part-time while working for local industry. There were 17 staff members. The Wollongong Teachers College also opened in 1962 with 158 students, moving in November from its temporary home at Keira Boys High to new buildings in Northfields Ave.
A Wollongong Lord Mayoral Appeal raised 50,000 pounds for the foundation of a University College in Wollongong, which was presented to the UNSW Vice-Chancellor Philip Baxter. This combined total of 188,000 pounds (with the industry contributions from the previous year) was matched by the State and Federal Governments.
Local industries Lysaghts, BHP, Australian Iron and Steel, the Electrolytic Refining & Smelting Co. and Metal Manufactures donated 138,000 pounds to build university buildings on the site of an old dairy farm at what was then Northfields Lane, later in 1962 to become Northfields Avenue, North Wollongong
The University of Wollongong began as the Wollongong Division of the New South Wales University of Technology (which became UNSW in 1958). It was part of a State Labor Government plan to increase the supply of engineers, metallurgists and chemists by establishing Divisions in the steel and mining towns of Wollongong, Newcastle and Broken Hill. The Wollongong Division shared facilities with Wollongong Technical College in Gladstone Avenue and had four Schools – Applied Chemistry (including Metallurgy), Electrical Engineering, Mechanical Engineering and Mathematics. There were nine full-time lecturers and some part-time staff.