Rob Stephenson is the Head of Bendigo Campus, La Trobe University.
He holds a Bachelor of Business from La Trobe University, and is a member of the Class of 1984.
If there was not an opportunity for higher education in Bendigo, Rob doubts that he would have gone to university.
“I’ve had some great experiences that wouldn’t otherwise have been possible," Rob said.
“I was a student at what was then Bendigo School of Advanced Education between 1981 and 1984. It was much smaller and we had a much more intimate environment.
“The intimacy meant that we got to know each other pretty well. We certainly got to know our lecturers. It was a great time and we certainly had lots of fun."
It wasn't just the intimacy of the campus that enabled the group to get along so well.
"We had a very strong cohort of engineers who had a barrel (of beer) every Wednesday," he said.
"If you joined enough student clubs you could always get a beer on a Wednesday somewhere."
As a Bendigo local, Rob remembers when there was first consideration of La Trobe and Bendigo School of Advanced Education merging.
“There was a fair bit of anxiety and discussion in the local community about whether that was a good idea, or whether it should become the University of Bendigo and try our luck on our own," he said.
The uncertainty surrounding the decision has well and truly been put to rest in the community now.
Being part of La Trobe has provided us with great opportunities and continues to do so,
“Bendigo, as a city, has grown up. The cultural growth, the growth of the health industry, education’s been elevated in importance by a lot of people.
"We’re actually attracting people and people are staying and having their families there and their lives there. I think that’s really exciting for the future as well."
Rob believes the Bendigo campus has played an integral part in the preservation of the regional health workforce.
“With the health workforce, it was a recognition by government that there was an aging workforce in regional areas," he said.
"They recognised that the only way to address that was to provide the opportunity for those people to train (and) develop professionally in regional areas."
Last updated: 27th May 2019