Inspirational Community

Our research and professional staff along with our graduates have had an impact all over the world. From the invention of x-ray crystallography, penicillin and the Olympic torch to Australia’s first female Queen’s Counsel, Supreme Court judge, and state governor – they have made vital contributions.

History makers Some of our pioneering women Some of our ones to watch Celebrating some of our people

History makers

We were our state’s first university. The first to offer degrees in science and business. And the first to establish a conservatorium of music. Our people have embodied our spirit of history making.

Sir Howard Florey

Played a key role in the development of penicillin and is regarded by the Australian scientific and medical community as one of its greatest figures.

Read more

Professor Fay Gale

The first honours graduate in Geography and the University’s first women professor in 1978. In 1988 she was the first woman in a senior management position as Pro Vice-Chancellor.

Read more

Dr Andy Thomas AO

Spent a total of 6 months in space across four crewed missions over a 12-year period. Became the first Australian to walk in space in 2001.

Read more

Read more about out Nobel Laureates and History of firsts.

Some of our pioneering women

As the first University in Australia to admit women to all our degree courses on an equal basis to men, pioneering women are part of our DNA.

Edith Emily Dornwell

The first woman in Australia to graduate with a science degree, the first woman to graduate from the University of Adelaide, and the University’s first science graduate (male or female).

Read more


Dame Roma Mitchell AC

First female Queen’s Counsel, Supreme Court judge, and state governor. She was also the first female chancellor of an Australian university—ours—from 1983 to 1990.

Read more

The Hon. Julia Gillard AC

Australia’s 27th, and first female, Prime Minister (2010 – 2013) and Deputy Prime Minister (2007 – 2010). Now an Honorary Visiting Professor.

Read more

Some of our ones to watch

Our alumni are part of a large global community comprising more than 171,828 graduates across 150 countries. They all have a story to tell.

Kristin Raman

A Chemical Engineer working on renewable hydrogen blended gas, Kristin is doing her part to find sustainable energy sources other than fossil fuels.

Read more

Professor Phiala Shanahan

The youngest Professor of Physics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) at the age of 27, she is a leader in theoretical physics and is a passionate educator.

Read more

Moutaiz Al-Obaidi

Musician and DJ Motez has asserted himself as one of the most innovative and creative music producers in the Australian music industry.

Read more

Celebrating some of our people

Our staff are at the core of the University and their individual stories all contribute to the wonderful community that we have built over 150 years.

Associate Professor Ben Sparrow

Lead, TERN Ecosystem Surveillance, School of Biological Sciences.

Read more

Brandon Pullen

Senior Technical Officer in the Faculty of Sciences, Engineering and Technology.

Read more

Professor Corinna Van Den Heuvel

Head of the School of Biomedicine, Program Coordinator for the Bachelor of Health and Medical Sciences.

Read more