Good morning to you all,
As you are all no doubt aware, it is exactly 50 years to the day since La Trobe began teaching its first cohort of students.
Whether you have been here for four months, four years or forty, all of us can be very proud to call ourselves part of the La Trobe community today. We have achieved something incredible over the last fifty years – bringing the opportunity to be part of a world class University to communities that would otherwise be denied it.
I recently recorded a short video message to staff and students to celebrate the occasion. I invite you to take a look.
Over 1600 staff, students, alumni, friends and supporters thronged onto the Bundoora campus on Sunday to enjoy food, drink, entertainment and good company. One alumni flew in from South East Asia to attend the event, which is testimony to the passion people hold for La Trobe, and at least two more reunion events are being planned after alumni and former colleagues reconnected at the Lunch.
It was heartwarming to see so many of our alumni collect, and then proudly wear, their La Trobe alumni badges. Over 400 of them provided their current contact details so that we can reconnect with them. Their pride in their university was palpable.
Other highlights included the launch of our 50th anniversary book, From the paddock to the agora, chaired by RN’s Fran Kelly. Over 100 copies of the book were sold on the day, with many alumni collecting signatures on the inside cover of their copy.
My thanks and congratulations go the 50th anniversary team of Julianna Marshall, Madge Fletcher, David Blake, David Evans, Olivia Paolini, Julieanne Willems, Shirley Billing, Ilia Kordonski and Carmel Duffy; our alumni team led by Katie Armitage; the students from Life Skills who made the bars from recycled pallets; staff from I&O, Security, Events, Accommodation Services, Risk, Archives, Marketing and Communications; and the many staff and student ambassadors and volunteers who helped to make the day such a success. Thank you also to all of you who came, including staff and students from our regional campuses. It was good to see two of our senior Historians clearly enjoying the music.
The Lawn Lunch was just one of many alumni celebrations taking place over the weekend. These included a reunion dinner for the first 1967 cohort of students, which attracted 150 guests; and the celebration of the 50th anniversary of the La Trobe University Football Club. This attracted a large crowd of former players, coaches and administrators, and included a reenactment of the first game against Monash University for men and women. I’m pleased to report that La Trobe won both games, the women triumphing 71-0.
A search through the Footy Club archives also revealed that La Trobe was an early leader in women’s AFL, with La Trobe being one of the first football clubs to host a demonstration women’s game as early as 1968.
To view the gallery of La Trobe Lawn Lunch images click here.
Squaring the Ledger
Today we are also launching a new initiative to recognise the contribution of La Trobe University women to the community; not just the high achievers, but women from all walks of life. This is called ‘Squaring the Ledger’.
It is fitting that we announce this commitment today, as part of International Women’s Day. Details are in our media announcement here.
A homecoming of sorts for the La Trobe Three
I recently had the great honour of welcoming back 1970s graduates Barry York and Brian Pola – two of the “La Trobe Three” who were imprisoned in Pentridge Prison for up to four months for their part in student protests 45 years ago.
Their experience was featured recently on the ABC-TVs 7.30 Report. It’s a compelling story that included great black and white footage of the Melbourne Campus in its early days. Both men remain as passionate and articulate as ever.
Barry features in the current ad campaign celebrating our 50th: the flares were real! Barry’s excellent book, Student Revolt!: La Trobe University 1967-1973 can be downloaded here.
Helping our students be Career Ready
As the job market for young people becomes increasingly uncertain, it is more important than ever that we do our best to support our students into the workforce. This week we launch our new Career Ready Advantage , a sector-leading initiative that has been developed with very strong support from employers.
For more information check out the link above or access FAQs for staff.
That’s not all folks
There are still a lot of events and activities going on today and for the rest of the week. There are student and staff BBQs being held at all of our campuses today, the Hyllus Maris lecture tonight at the Melbourne Campus and an Expo this week at State Parliament sharing our past successes as well as our ambitions for the future.
Please take a look at the 50th website, find out more and get involved.
Castlemaine State Festival
La Trobe is the proud Higher Education partner of the Castlemaine State Festival.
Our involvement deepens with each Festival. This year we are able to combine our long association with Ateneo de Manila University in the Philippines, and enrich the Festival’s program by shining a light on the Philippines and Filipino art.
The full festival program is available here.
There’s also a concurrent exhibition will be at the La Trobe Art Institute celebrating 10 years of our association with Ateneo de Manila University from 15 March to 30 April.
Have a great March