Politicians show bipartisan support
Vice-Chancellor Professor James McWha addressed some of Australia's most senior politicians recently when he hosted an alumni function at Parliament House, Canberra.
Deputy Opposition Leader the Hon. Julie Bishop MP, Senator Nick Xenophon and former Democrats leader Natasha Stott Despoja were among those present at the University's first Federal Parliamentary Alumni Network gathering for 2009.
All three are graduates of the University of Adelaide who have made their mark in Australian politics, along with fellow alumni Labor frontbencher Senator Penny Wong, Australian Ambassador to the United Nations the Hon. Robert Hill, and Australian Ambassador to Italy Ms Amanda Vanstone.
Addressing some of the country's most influential people, Professor McWha outlined the University's recent developments and discussed the challenges and opportunities facing the higher education sector.
Earlier in the day Professor McWha hosted a lunch for about 80 University of Adelaide alumni currently living and working in the nation's capital.
Among those present at the luncheon was one of Australia's most acclaimed scientists, Professor Frank Fenner, who is credited with overseeing the global eradication of smallpox and controlling Australia's rabbit plague through the introduction of myxomatosis. Professor Fenner graduated from the University of Adelaide in 1938 with a medical degree.
The Director of the National Gallery of Australia, Ron Radford, who holds a Doctor of Letters from the University of Adelaide, also attended the luncheon, along with award-winning young scientist Dr Ines Atmosukarto, who last month won the 2009 Australian Alumni Award for Research and Innovation in Jakarta.
The Federal Parliamentary Alumni Network, instigated by arts graduate Natasha Stott Despoja, is believed to be the first established by an Australian university. It provides an opportunity for federal Members of Parliament and key parliamentary staff to re-engage with fellow University of Adelaide graduates on a semi-regular basis.
Ms Stott Despoja is a Visiting Research Fellow at the University of Adelaide in the School of History and Politics. Former Foreign Affairs Minister in the Howard Government, Alexander Downer, is a Professor at the University.
Story by Candy Gibson