The latest Strategy Showcase rolled into the nation’s capital as the UNSW Canberra campus celebrated its contribution to the 2025 Strategy and its 50th anniversary on Friday 23 February.
At the morning’s town hall, the Rector of UNSW Canberra, Professor Michael Frater, spoke of the impact UNSW Canberra had on the region. Highlighting the $200 million annual benefit the University had on the local Canberra economy, the Rector also drew attention to the impact of our alumni on Australian leadership, pointing out the high number of university Vice-Chancellors and political leaders who came from UNSW Canberra.
The Town Hall was highlighted by the announcement of the Rector’s Award for Teaching Excellence. The award, given every two years, was presented to Dr Debbie Lackerstein. Dr Lackerstein teaches History at UNSW Canberra and was recognised for her mentorship of junior colleagues and her contribution to the teaching of the Holocaust, a challenging and important subject.
The showcase also included a tour of the Canberra campus where the showcase attendants were shown through the Australian National Concurrent Design Facility. The facility allows spacecraft design engineers and scientists to rapidly design and deliver space missions. It has already contributed to the successful launch of the cube satellite ‘Buccaneer’, which passed overhead during the tour, providing those in attendance with a first-hand experience of the facility in action.
Concluding the tour was a visit to the Australian Centre for Cyber Security and its recently upgraded digital range, offering an incredible insight into the future of digital security and this growing area of education and research.
Following the showcase, UNSW Canberra hosted a 50th anniversary dinner, attended by about 600 people including alumni, past and present staff, and ACT Chief Minister Andrew Barr.
The anniversary year began in July when the university marked the signing of the 1967 agreement between UNSW and Defence to provide tertiary education to military cadets.
Speakers included UNSW President and Vice-Chancellor Professor Ian Jacobs, who highlighted how the university had adapted with the times.
“Our students in 1968 were studying against the backdrop of the Vietnam War, an era of field telephones and paper maps,” Professor Ian Jacobs said.
“Today they must be across areas as diverse as cyber security, space, systems engineering, logistics and public sector management and conflict studies.”
On a day that also marked the launch of the UNSW Defence Research Institute at the Canberra campus, UNSW Canberra Rector Professor Michael Frater discussed how the university was striving to push boundaries and invest in ground-breaking research.
“It’s amazing what has come from an arrangement in 1967 that was never meant to last more than a decade,” he said.
“We have forged an important place in the world. Our relationship with alumni, faculty and with Defence and the broader community means we can continue to push boundaries.”
As UNSW Canberra continues its talks with the ACT Government to expand the university with a new city campus, the event was as much a celebration of what there is to look forward to as it was a reflection of the past.
“There will be challenges and great opportunities ahead and – as we’ve done before – we will meet them with boldness and perseverance,” Professor Frater said.