Vice-Chancellor's Welcome – Summer 2019

Vice-Chancellor and President of the University of Adelaide Peter Rathjen AO

Our University has a history of excellence. We are associated with five Nobel Prize winners, the first Australian-born NASA astronaut, polar explorers and history-making pioneers.

Perhaps less well known, is our strong history of inclusion: we were the first university in Australia and among the first in the world to admit women to academic courses.

The University has a long history of high-achieving and pioneering women among its alumni, women who have led the way in many sectors of our society. 

Among them is the first female Prime Minister of Australia, the Hon. Julia Gillard AC. We are immensely proud of her contribution to this country as Prime Minister and ongoing service in leadership in education, gender equality and mental health.

We also have remarkable Indigenous women: Rebecca Richards and Dr Claudia Paul, Australia’s first and third Indigenous Rhodes Scholars; law graduates including Professor Irene Watson, our first Indigenous law graduate and Andrea Mason OAM, who is a leader in social change – they continue to make a significant impact by bringing Indigenous perspectives to law and policy reform.

Graduates like Dame Roma Mitchell our first female QC, Governor and Chancellor; Edith Dornwell, the first woman in Australia to graduate with a science degree; the Hon. Catherine Branson AC QC, Australia’s first Crown Solicitor; and the Hon. Vickie Chapman MP, the state’s first female Deputy Premier and Attorney General – their stories inspire us all. They shine a light on this University’s values – of excellence, of leadership, of contribution to society – and of a university that was founded on the premise of providing opportunities for all.

As part of the 125th anniversary of women’s suffrage in South Australia, we are celebrating the achievements of these and other women associated with the University with a series of banners across our North Terrace campus.

To further mark the anniversary, this edition of lumen highlights some of many female alumni demonstrating excellence – pioneers in science, politics, arts, law, wine, medicine and media. We are incredibly fortunate to have alumni of this calibre in our University community, and we thank them for their contributions to our University and to society. Enjoy reading their stories.

Tagged in lumen, lumen Summer 2019