Generations of Alumni
Most families have special traditions, from annual trips to favourite meals. For the Stranks family, it’s a world-class education.
The University of Adelaide has a proud relationship with the Stranks family spanning generations (you may need a family tree to keep track), starting with Professor Donald Stranks AO, who served as Vice-Chancellor from 1977 to 1986. Instilling a great passion for education in his sons, Dr Geoffrey Stranks and Associate Professor Stephen Stranks each studied a Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery before embarking on rewarding careers as doctors and medical educators. Both brothers married successful medical practitioners in their own right; today Louise, married to Steve, is a GP at the University Health Practice, and Geoff’s wife Gerry is a paediatric physiotherapist.
We interviewed Geoff and Steve in the 2013 summer edition of our Lumen magazine, and eight years later, the entire next generation has graduated from the University of Adelaide. Each of Steve and Louise’s children, Jessica, Katrina and Lachlan, have followed in their parents’ footsteps and pursued careers in medicine. After graduating in 2010, Jessica completed physician training and has subsequently subspecialised in Endocrinology, becoming a fellow of the Royal Australasian College of Physicians. Jess is still involved with the University, balancing regular lectures and teaching with her work in clinical research and as a consultant endocrinologist.
“Mum and Dad always instilled a passion for learning and scholarship in my sisters and I,” Lachlan said.
Lachlan graduated in 2014 and after completing physician training was accepted into advanced training in adult Respiratory & Sleep Medicine. Since then, he has taken up the position of Clinical Sleep Fellow at the Woolcock Institute, to gain further specialised experience in Sleep Medicine. Seven year after completing his studies, Lachlan still enjoys being part of the university community.
“Even after completing six years of study I still love returning to campus. It’s a wonderful cultural hub in the city, and I’ve always enjoyed seeing the University be open to the public in innovative ways,” he said.
For Katrina, a degree from the University of Adelaide was the foundation for a rewarding career in children’s health and wellbeing, and she is now completing advanced training in General Paediatrics and Rheumatology.
"University was a time of great discovery and adventure! I learnt a lot about myself and how I would like to contribute to society professionally."Katrina Stranks, Paediatric Rheumatology and Rehabilitation Medicine Fellow, Monash Children’s Hospital
On the other side of the family, life has changed significantly since we interviewed Geoff. Geoff and Gerry have three children - Ben, Sam and youngest Elizabeth.
Ben graduated from the University of Adelaide in 2011 and is now a GP in Melbourne. Sam, our University’s 101st Rhodes Scholar, leads a research group at the University of Cambridge focusing on transformative electronic applications including emerging photovoltaic and lighting materials, and lectures about Energy. Elizabeth completed her Masters in Social Work at Melbourne University after graduating from the University of Adelaide.
Of course, no tale is complete without a love story; Sam and his wife Dr Amanda Stranks met whilst taking German classes at the University of Adelaide.
“We were married in the Botanic Gardens and had our reception at Ayer’s House, so the area around North Terrace is very special to us. Whenever we are in Adelaide we revisit the campus and the North Terrace area. It is amazing to see the changes over the last few years on the campus!” Sam said.
There is no doubt that members of the younger generation, like their parents before them, proudly follow in the footsteps of Professor Donald Stranks AO, each giving back to the community through their work.
“I am proud that Adelaide University has provided a wonderful education for our children and has allowed them to go on and pursue their respective careers, to be able to give back to society in their own way,” Geoff said.