People and places

Many of the university’s teaching and research buildings are named after respected staff.

La Trobe stories

Our stories showcases the people and places that underpin the history of La Trobe University’s intellectual, social and economic contribution to the community.


Sir Archibald Glenn OBE (1912 - 2012) was La Trobe University’s first Chancellor and key founding figure. He was one of Australia’s leading industrialists, an engineer and Managing Director of British chemical company ICI. During the 1960s he was chief adviser to the government on the creation of La Trobe as Victoria’s third University.

Beth Gleeson (1943 - 1989) was a strong supporter of education, health and industrial development in Melbourne’s northern suburbs. She was a La Trobe University Arts graduate and a member of the Victorian Legislative Assembly.

Caroline Chisholm, born in 1808 into a family of 16 children, was a 19th-century English humanitarian and social activist. She is best known for her work with female immigrant welfare in Australia. Married at 22, she established a school for girls and women in India.She came to Sydney in 1838, where she set up a home for destitute young women, eventually taking in men and families as well.

Professor Daryl Hooper (1930–1985) was an internationally recognised electronic engineer who established La Trobe University’s first engineering department – Communication Engineering – in 1975. He was a specialist in transistors, wide band amplifiers and integrated circuits

David Milton Myers CMG was La Trobe’s first Vice-Chancellor. Between 1965 and 1976 he helped establish the academic and intellectual foundations of Victoria’s third university, with an emphasis on strong interdisciplinary teaching and the pioneering of broad-based selection criteria to encourage mature-age study.

Emeritus Professor George Singer Hon FAPS George Singer (1922 - 2009) was Foundation Professor of Psychology at La Trobe University. Initially a chemist and industrialist, he retrained as a psychologist in mid-life and went on to pioneer studies into occupational health and workplace stress. He was also a founding member of the Australian Psychological Society.

Jean Martin (1923 - 1979) was Foundation Professor of Sociology and her husband Allan Martin (1926 - 2002) was Foundation Professor of History. In the mid 1960s they created at La Trobe two of the most progressive and inter-disciplinary academic departments in their fields.

Professor John Scott AO later the Rev Dr Scott, was the University’s second Vice-Chancellor. A graduate of Cambridge and Oxford and former Professor of Mathematical Statistics at Sussex University, he applied his expertise to medicine and forestry.

Nancy Millis AC (1922–2012) was Chancellor of La Trobe University from 1992 to 2006. One of Australia’s leading scientists, she oversaw the introduction of genetic engineering into Australia, monitoring safety, moral and ethical issues around the science of genetically modified organisms. She also co-wrote the first textbook in Australia on biotechnology and taught the first course.

Emeritus Professor Nick Hoogenraad AO is one of Australia’s leading biochemists and was founder and inaugural Executive Director of the La Trobe Institute for Molecular Science (LIMS).

Olga Tennsion AO has made generous donations to La Trobe University since 2008 to establish and continue the work of the Australia’s first research centre dedicated to autism. The Olga Tennison Autism Research Centre, is named in recognition of her contribution.

Sir Robert Menzies KT, AK, CH (1894 - 1978) was founder of theLiberal Party and Australia’s longest-serving Prime Minister. He held office for more than 18 years, from 1939 to 1941 followed by a second term from 1949 to 1966.

Robert ‘Bob’ Reid was one of Australia’s most outstanding agricultural scientists. He joined La Trobe University in 1968 as Foundation Professor of Agriculture, a post he held for 10 years, seven of them as Dean.

A passionate teacher, his research speciality was in the nutrition of pregnant and lactating ewes and grazing animals.

Sylvia Walton AO is hailed for her decades of service to education,particularly in the fields of specialised curriculum and training programs. She was Chancellor of La Trobe University from 2006 to 2011 and Deputy Chancellor for 14 years prior to 2006.

Tad (Tadeus) Szental (1911 – 1975) a Polish refugee and Holocaust survivor, was an engineer and inventor who founded plastic products and electronics firm Elmaco Industries. He designed a more efficient electronic connector system, which was patented in the US and other countries in the 1960s.


A high-flyer both in the business sector and as pilot of his beloved Cessna aircraft, David Mann (1928–2012) was a long standing community and business leader, and a strong supporter of the creation of La Trobe University’s Albury-Wodonga Campus.

As La Trobe University’s third Vice-Chancellor Professor Michael Osborne expanded the University’s regional footprint and lifted its profile as an international study destination.