celebrate50 feature

50 reasons to celebrate

In 2015, the University of Newcastle (UON) celebrates the milestone of its 50th anniversary.

Our University has achieved a great deal in its short history – pioneering approaches that have transformed teaching and learning for students and the sector, and delivering research and innovation that have touched the lives of countless people close to home and across the globe. We’ve got so many reasons to celebrate.


01-uon50-grantofarms-301x2001. Autonomy

It all started with autonomy. On 1 January 1965, the Governor of New South Wales proclaimed the University of Newcastle Act, marking the foundation of the University of Newcastle as an independent institution. This momentous occasion was the end of a long wait for our community, which had lobbied for their own university since as far back as the mid-19th century.



2. Our wonderful community02-uon50-great-hall-300x201

You fought for the University, and once you got it, you helped it grow. The Great Hall, which has hosted thousands of proud graduands and their families, would not exist without the community’s ‘buy-a-brick’ campaign. Over five decades, that support has been a mainstay as the University has gone from strength to strength.



03-uon50-researchers2-300x200   3. Researchers who are global leaders in their field

UON is a research-intensive institution with an exceptional record of achievement. Our researchers collaborate with peers internationally, addressing issues that have far-reaching impact. With leaders in fields such as medical research, engineering and energy and the environment, we push the boundaries to develop outcomes that have global significance.





4. Our dedicated staff – past and present

It takes a lot of hardworking people to make a University run smoothly. Our academic and professional staff demonstrate outstanding performance which contributes to the overall success of UON and to celebrate we’ll be holding a gala reunion in July for all staff – past and present.






5. Our future research leaders

The future is looking very bright at UON. An incredible array of emerging researcher leaders are contributing to the development of critical mass and future growth of our key research fields.




6. Our students06-uon50-students2300x200

With just 1,700 students in 1965, today there are more than 40,000 undergraduate and postgraduate students learning and researching across multiple campuses. They get involved in fundraising, clubs and societies and volunteering in our community. They’re passionate about their chosen fields, and embrace all the opportunities Uni life has to offer.





 7.Our generous friends and supporters

At UON we are truly grateful for the circle of giving that has been established through the generosity of our supporters. Over the past 10 years more than $45 million has been raised to support students from all walks of life as well as our world-class research and innovation. Thank you to all those who gave so generously.



8. Our world-class graduates

The UON Alumni network includes 125,000 people stretching across more than 120 countries with alumni networks existing across Asia, Africa, North America, the UK and Mexico. Each year the Alumni Awards honour outstanding alumni. Keep in touch through Gradlink. And don’t forget to pencil the Alumni Homecoming on 31 October 2015 in your diary.




9. The Wollotuka Institute

Started in 1983 as a small support program for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students, today the Wollotuka Institute and the University are national leaders in Indigenous participation in higher education. UON’s enrolment of Indigenous students is almost double the sector average, and, in recent years, enrolments of Indigenous students have grown more than 20 per cent.


10. Our innovative medical program10-uon50-medical0300x200

Founded in 1975, UON’s medical school transformed the delivery of medical education in Australia through the introduction of problem-based learning, early clinical skills acquisition and community orientation to the curriculum. UON’s approach has now been adopted by many medical schools across Australia and the world.




11. Our bushland campus

The 140 hectare Callaghan campus is an outstanding example of environmental management. Great care has been exercised to maintain the mature eucalypt tree cover as the dominant landscape feature. A significant tract of remnant bushland including creeks and wetlands has been maintained as dedicated nature reserve. Our Central Coast campus continues this theme being nestled within bushland at Ourimbah.


12. A University for everyone17-uon50-enabling-300x200

Established in 1974, the University’s enabling program Open Foundation is the largest of its kind in Australia. Together with Newstep, Yapug, and partnerships with TAFE, Open Foundation is providing an alternative pathway to undergraduate education and widening student participation in higher education.





13. Friends of the University

The community and former staff members who make up Friends of the University of Newcastle have a genuine love of the University and a real interest in supporting students, volunteering countless hours of their time to projects such as the renowned biannual Book Fair, the next of which is taking place in 2015.




14. International students

There are over 6000 international students from over 100 countries currently undertaking a wide range of educational programs at the University.  Programs such as Cultural Connections and Community Connections are sparking cross-cultural friendships throughout our community.





15. Aiming high with school programs

UON has a proud tradition of working together with our local and regional schools. We are developing and supporting opportunities for our primary and secondary students to participate in educational experiences with the AIM High program including Careers Through Reading, Discover University Day, The Next Step and HSC Coach.


16. Central Coast Campus27-uon50-cc-300x200

Small enough to be friendly and relaxed, but big enough to provide an outstanding opportunity to thrive, our Central Coast students enjoy the benefits of outstanding facilities and personalised support from award winning teachers. The University is working in partnership with business, industry and community to grow the capacity of the Central Coast region and the educational aspirations of its residents.





17. Research and innovation clusters

Our hubs and clusters are collaborative cross-disciplinary research networks uniting our expertise and driving knowledge exchange. These forums operate across fields as diverse as Defence, Food, Global eHealth and Creative Industries, delivering innovative solutions for our community, business, industry and government partners.


18. Art for everyone to enjoy26-uon50-wattspace-300x200

The University Gallery at Callaghan and Watt Space student gallery in the city present exhibitions, opening events, touring shows and workshops. They support and promote local and emerging artists, and value community engagement.





19. The Conservatorium

Newcastle’s musical heart, ‘the Con’ offers classes not only to UON students, but to the whole Newcastle community, which are taught by expert teachers in a state-of-the-art facility. It is home to a range of ensembles and choirs catering for all ages and levels of experience.



20. Family Action Centre40-uon50-fac-300x200

The Family Action Centre is an innovative and dynamic Centre that has become a national leader in helping to strengthen families and communities. The Centre develops and implements programs whilst undertaking research and training that promote sustainability, social justice and community leadership.





21. UON Department of Rural Health

The University of Newcastle Department of Rural Health focuses on facilitating student placements and learning, enhancing the health of local communities through community projects, and conducting research into rural health issues. The Department works with a variety of local community organisation and existing projects, giving students a meaningful rural placement by engaging local people in activities that can promote better health.


22. Port Macquarie Campus29-uon50-pm300x200

Our Port Macquarie campus gives students from the northern regions of NSW  the chance to gain first-rate qualifications in important fields without having to travel too far from home and without the pressures of living in a bigger city.





23. Teachers Visit Day

Education doesn’t stop when you leave uni. The annual Teachers’ Visit Day provides cutting edge information, professional development and fresh approaches to teaching and learning to teachers from Hunter and Central Coast schools.



24. Cultural Collections33-uon50-culturalcollections-300x200

Incorporating the University Archives and Rare Books and Special Collections, Cultural Collections is the home of the historical and cultural memory of the University and its regional contexts. Visit the UON Cultural Collections flickr page and get lost in the history of our region.




25. Centre for Rural and Remote Mental Health

A major rural initiative of the University’s Faculty of Health and Medicine and the NSW Ministry of Health is the Centre for Rural and Remote Mental Health, which was established in Orange NSW, in 2001. The Centre works to improve the provision of mental health services for rural and remote communities, including the development of appropriate service models for rural mental health care, providing professional development opportunities for clinical staff and offering education and training.


26. Science and Engineering Challenge19-uon50-scieng-challenge-300x200

Led by UON in conjunction with various partners and sponsors, the Science and Engineering Challenge began in Newcastle and is now a nationwide outreach program designed to inspire high school students in Year 10 to consider a future career in Science and Engineering.





27. Community clinics

UON’s staff and students are a resource for the whole community. The University has a suite of community clinics in operation across our region – including clinics for psychology, oral health, podiatry, stuttering, voice and speech intelligibility.



28. Work Integrated Learning 43-uon50-wil-300x200

Also known as practicum, clinical placement, internship or work experience, Work Integrated Learning (WIL) offers students an opportunity to gain invaluable hands on knowledge of their field of expertise, and encourages the professional attitudes and attributes needed to succeed in the workplace. More than 90 per cent of undergraduate degree programs offered by UON include an opportunity for students to take part in WIL.




29. Partnerships

UON works collaboratively with industry, business and government to research and develop innovative solutions to real-world problems. Our two research institutes Newcastle Institute for Energy and Resources (NIER) and the Hunter Medical Research Institute (HMRI) are examples of our successful industry partnerships.



30. New Professors Talk

UON’s public lecture program is diverse. We are proud to present to the community our new professors through a dynamic public lecture series, ‘New Professors Talk’. The series offers the opportunity for UON’s newest leading commentators and thinkers to share their knowledge with members of the public in an informal and engaging way.



31. The Forum

The Forum Sports and Aquatic Centre opened in 1997. This sports complex provided even more opportunities for students, University staff and the community to participate in sports and fitness activities, offering aerobics and martial arts studios, a weight training gym and climbing wall, indoor courts, and a 50 metre indoor heated pool.


32. Singapore campus28-uon50-singapore-300x200

Celebrated as one of Asia’s most advanced education, research and innovation hubs, Singapore has been the ideal location for the delivery of The University of Newcastle’s programs in the region since 2002. UON Singapore boasts approximately 2000 students enrolled in a variety of programs in both full-time and part-time modes with two major partners in Singapore – PSB Academy and BCA Academy.




33. National Disability Coordination Officer program

  The NDCO program is an Australia-wide government funded program which promotes the transition of students and people with    disability into training, education, and subsequent employment. Hosted at UON, the NDCO for Newcastle and the Hunter Region, Kay  Dean, assists staff from the education, training, employment, and community sectors, and students and people with disability, to access  information and targeted activities


34. The University of Newcastle Legal Centre31-uon50-legal-300x200

Since 1994 the University of Newcastle Legal Centre has offered a range of services to members of the public, including free legal services, law clinics and seminars. Here students engage with the community and with legal professionals to develop practical skills in the application of the law.







35. Hunter Valley Electric Vehicle Festival

The most fun and comprehensive electric vehicle festival in Australia, EV Fest is led by UON’s Tom Farrell Institute for the Environment. The University’s gateway to environmental research and teaching, the TFI helps develop regional solutions for a sustainable future and to integrate teaching, research and community engagement at the University into those solutions.


36. Teddy Bear Hospital45-uon50-teddybearhospital

The Teddy Bear Hospital breaks down some of the fear that young children have of going to hospital or seeing a doctor, while medical students get a chance to practice their communication skills with children of all ages. The event also promote healthy eating, exercise and sun protection for all the teddies and their owners. Teddy Bear Hospitals are held in Newcastle, as well as through the UON’s Department of Rural Health in Tamworth and in the New England region.



37. Human Rights and Social Justice Lecture

 Inaugurated in 2001, the Human Rights and Social Justice Lecture provides an opportunity for members of the University and the wider community to reflect on issues of social justice that challenge Australia. Past speakers include feminist, editor and publisher Dr Anne Summers AO; barrister, human rights and refugee advocate Julian Burnside AO QC; journalist Jeff McMullen AM; public administrator Professor Lowitja O’Donoghue, columnist Peter FitzSimons, and President of the Australian Human Rights Commision, Professor Gillian Triggs.



38. China Festival

Presented by UON’s Confucius Institute, the annual China Festival acknowledges Newcastle’s growing connection with China and celebrates both traditional and contemporary Chinese culture.






39. Bar on the Hill

An icon of the Newcastle music scene, the Bar on the Hill is the centre for entertainment and gigs on campus. By day, the Bar on the Hill Cafe serves up delicious and cheap options for breakfast and lunch, and into the afternoon the bar opens and the fun begins.



40. Volunteering47-uon50-volunteering-300x200

UON fosters a culture of giving back to the community through programs like iLead, Teach Outreach, UCrew, and SNUG which connect our students and staff with the opportunity to volunteer.





41. Our sports teams

Sport plays an important role in the University community. From elite athletes competing at the University Games to social sporting clubs, just for the fun of it, Uni is representing at all levels of sporting life.




42. 2NUR FM36-uon50-2nur-300x200

Community radio station 2NURFM first began broadcasting in 1978. The station provides itself on community involvement, with its presenters representing the community it serves, and community input is valued.





43. NUBots

Part of the Newcastle Robotics Laboratory, the NUbot team develops software for robotic soccer and competes every year in the international Robocup competition. This international research and education initiative counts as one of the most significant events of its kind, involving around 3,000 people from 40 countries.


44. Law on the Beach44-uon50-lawonthebeach-300x200

Run each year over summer at Newcastle Surf Club, Law on the Beach brings free legal advice from law students and experienced lawyers to the community in a relaxed beachside environment. The clinic provides advice on a range of matters including family law, discrimination, employment issues, fines, house evictions and other tenancy matters.




45. Newcastle Innovation

The team at Newcastle Innovation manages a diverse range of investment opportunities for industry and private sector partners based on novel discoveries by researchers at the University of Newcastle, Australia. For 45 years Newcastle Innovation has facilitated the mutually beneficial relationships enabling business and industry to benefit and profit from frontline research at UON.


46. The Godfrey Tanner Great Debate46-uon50-gtdebate-300x200

The annual Godfrey Tanner Great Debate sees students take on UON academics for a night of hilarity, wit and fun. Held in honour of beloved Classic lecturer, the late Emeritus Professor Godfrey Tanner, who was known for introducing students to the traditions of University life and teaching them that UON had a part to play in the life of the Newcastle and Hunter community.



47. GradSchool

In 2000 the University established GradSchool which provides online postgraduate programs in a range of disciplines including Business and Management, Education and the Arts, Engineering, Health and Nursing, and Science and Information Technology.


48. A global leader


The University of Newcastle is a research-intensive institution with an exceptional record of achievement. Our reputation has been built on high quality performance in health and medicine, science and engineering, and energy and the environment.  Our research in humanities and the creative arts is on a rapid and upward trajectory. We are a leader in Indigenous education and research.


34-uon50-newspace-300x20049. NeWSpace

UON’s landmark education precinct under development in the heart of Newcastle’s CBD will host a range of University-supported activities including business and law programs, digital library services and information commons, collaborative learning and research spaces, facilities for engagement with industry, business and the community, and social learning spaces.



50. We finished our first 50 years with a bang!08-uon50-under50-200x300

We were immensely proud last year to round off our first half-century as the number one university in Australia in both the QS ‘Top 50 Under 50’ and the Times Higher Education’s rankings of the world’s top 100 universities under 50 years old.






Find even more reasons to celebrate 50 years of the University of Newcastle.

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