From Adelaide with love - a toast to 50 years
Peter and Suzanne Edgar have toasted two 50-year milestones in the past 12 months - both of which had their beginnings at the University of Adelaide.
In 2011, they celebrated 50 years of marriage, having met in the Cloisters in their first year at University; this year they were among 122 graduates who returned to campus for the Golden Jubilee reunion of their 1962 graduation.
This annual event started in 1986, when the graduates of 1936 were welcomed back to the University for the first Golden Jubilee Commemoration. That tradition has continued with graduates returning from overseas and interstate each year for an unforgettable day of celebration and reminiscing.
Featuring a Commemoration Ceremony in Bonython Hall followed by a Reunion Lunch at the Crowne Plaza, attendees at the once-in-a-lifetime event received a Commemoration booklet as a memento, filled with the biographies, photos and nostalgic recollections of their fellow 1962 alumni.
Peter and Sue, both Bachelor of Arts (Honours) graduates, took great pleasure in proposing the official toast to the Class of '62 at the lunch, which included an evocative poem written for the occasion by Sue, a published poet.
In his toast, Peter fondly recalled the 'halcyon days' at university - a time of peace and stability; of stimulating lectures and tutorials from teachers such as Hugh Stretton, Ken Inglis, Douglas Pike and Peter Phillips; and of parties, dancing and "too much beer".
"The year 1958 was a good one. For Sue and me it was our first year, we met mid-year in the Refectory after eying each other off in the history lecture theatre. We wandered around in a romantic haze, but to judge by the number of couples lazing on the banks of the Torrens or walking hand in hand around the University, we were not alone," said Peter.
"The campus was and is a most pleasant one - it was an idyllic world and the future held great promise."
"None of us had any money but here on this magnificent campus we were able to develop the skills to contribute to our country."
They were married after their final exams in 1961 and a few years later moved to Canberra where they went on to raise two daughters. In Canberra, Peter worked across many Commonwealth departments including Immigration, Territories, Trade Practices, Social Services, Prime Minister and Cabinet and the Department of Environment, Aborigines and the Arts where he went on to become Head of the Arts section. Since retirement, Peter has written two books on military history.
Sue's university training as a writer and historian led to her role as the Research Editor, SA desk, on the Australian Dictionary of Biography where she worked for more than 25 years and also contributed 53 of her own articles.
Her collection of short stories, Counting Backwards, was short-listed for the 1992 Steele Rudd award and since the 1990s, Sue has written and published three books of poetry.
Both Sue and Peter were pleased to have been able to renew their connection with the University and old friends, and Peter urges future Golden Jubilee graduates to take part in this memorable occasion.
"The Golden Jubilee is a 'rite of passage' that brings you full circle and enables you to 'look back' now on yourself 'looking forward' then. There is also an unspoken acknowledgement of those friends who did not make it back because their lives were cut short and that is both sobering and a cause to give thanks," he said.
"It is not just a welcome get together, it inevitably invites the question, 'well, how did I go? Did I achieve what I wanted to achieve?' For most of us, the answer will be 'yes and no'. Go along to it - it will only occur once."
story by Genevieve Sanchez
To view photos from the 1962 Golden Jubilee Reunion and register your interest in the 50th anniversary of your own graduation, visit the website: www.alumni.adelaide.edu.au/goldenjubilee