Golden memories for graduate couple
It could be argued that the McCarthys had the right chemistry in the 1950s - and they still have it, after 50 years.
As Chemistry students at the University of Adelaide, Ian McCarthy and Marion Sizer met back in 1951. At the time, Ian was studying for his Honours and was a chemistry demonstrator in Marion's first-year class. Three years later, they not only graduated together, they also got married!
Having just celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary last month, the McCarthys will now celebrate the Golden Jubilee of their graduation at the University of Adelaide, with a ceremony being held in Bonython Hall on October 1.
They are among 150 graduates, guests and staff who will attend the event, which commemorates the unique achievements of the university's alumni and their links to their alma mater.
Ian said that even though he was a fellow student, because of his role as a chemistry demonstrator he was very careful about approaching Marion to ask her out.
"I said to myself `not until after the exams'... so the morning the exams finished I was down at the uni and I asked her out for that evening," Ian said.
Marion said with a smile: "I didn't at that stage have any particular boyfriends, and I wasn't doing anything that night, so I said `yes'."
The rest is 50 years of history.
Ian went on to complete his Master of Science (Chemistry) at the university, while Marion finished her Bachelor of Science degree. They graduated on March 31, 1954, and were married on August 28 of that same year.
"The university days were some of the best years of our lives," Ian said.
"I was honoured to have attended lectures given by professors Sir Kerr Grant and Sir Douglas Mawson. It was a great thrill to attend lectures given by those two esteemed gentlemen."
For his Masters, Ian worked on research in organic chemistry under the supervision of the late, great Professor Geoffrey Badger. Ian's research involved looking for chemical compounds that would potentially be effective in treating cancer.
University in those days was quite different for female students, with Marion being the only woman in her inorganic chemistry class.
Her fond memories include lectures by Professor MacBeth and Dr Pennycuick, playing table tennis in the Lady Symon Hall basement, and "making friends with fellow students... lifelong friendships".
"We enjoyed our academic life, and it was quite a thrill when I learnt through invitation about the Jubilee," Ian said.
Ian worked in a number of positions, as Development Chemist for SA Rubber Mills (later Bridgestone), and as a Research Chemist, Director of Research and later Managing Director of an Adelaide-based company involved in manufacturing chemical-based products for the building and construction industry.
In the 1950s there were not many positions for women in industry, so Marion turned to teaching and became Science mistress at two girls' colleges. She has been actively involved in education and the community, and earned an OAM in 1997 for her services to education.
The McCarthys have four daughters, one of whom is an Adelaide graduate, and six grandchildren.
Story by David Ellis