The annual Golden Graduates luncheon in April attracted 280 alumni to celebrate and share their memories of studying here. Alumni Council President Annie Corlett was Master of Ceremonies. Before the event graduates were invited to send in their happiest memories of their University experience. Here is a sample of their responses:
Dr Ruth Fink Latukefu (BA ’54 MA’56)
The Colombo Plan students who came to Sydney in the 1950s were a very important trigger for better attitudes to people of other nationalities. They broke the insularity and showed the falsity of the “white Australia policy”. We had an active International Club and at its social functions Australians and Asians began to accept and befriend each other.
Professor Katherine Georgouras (MBBS ’55 DipDermaMed ’63)
University was a liberation from the restriction of school. I could do as I pleased, join debating (and always get beaten by the law students!), sing with the Sydney University Musical Society at St James church. I was free! However, I quickly realised that with freedom came responsibility to my family and fellow human beings. During the medical course I was taught that “more is missed by not looking than by not knowing”, a principle that I have applied almost every day of my life.
Stanley Gibbs (BA ’49 DipEd ’50)
It was 1946. I was a shy, awkward boy from the country and the first of my family to go to University. It was exciting to come in contact with some of the great minds of the mid-century: Anderson in Philosophy, Trendall in Classics, Elkin in Anthropology, War and McDonald in history, and Waldock in English. I can remember clearly being crowded into the new Wallace Theatre with hundreds of others. There was a hush when Waldock entered. We were back in the 18th century. Some of his words are still in my mind: “Let us consider Moll Flanders, ladies and gentlemen, a stricken deer torn from the fold.”
He was mesmerising. One day a dog trotted in and sat in front of the lectern. Would Waldock notice it? The dog decided after a while that the 18th century was not for him and trotted out. There was no laughter. We were still in the 18th century and the lecture rolled on. University changed my life.
Mrs Elaine Goggin (BSc ’44)
My most vivid memories are from first year. Professor ‘Charlie’ Fawcett was lecturer in Inorganic Chemistry. Tall, thin, always in a black suit, he used the same notes he had used for years, in the naked lecture hall in the old Chemistry building. He had a seating plan on his lectern so when an alarm clock rang or Jaffas were dropped from the back row, he hardly drew breath before telling ‘Mr So - and - So’ to leave the room. Lectures ran exactly from seven minutes past the hour until seven minutes to the hour, by the clock above the door, which was closed at seven minutes past.
Anne Powles (BA ’61 LLB ’64)
My experiences at Sydney were very enjoyable. Some were inspiring. Others were momentous, such as when Professor Julius Stone played, live on the radio at a lecture, President John Kennedy’s speech during the Bay of Pigs crisis. But most clearly I remember some of the steps we made in the feminist field. We sometimes defied orders and wore trousers not skirts (often rolled up under an academic gown at dinner). All the women who did Law at that time will remember the turned-off, but not removed, urinal in the women’s common room at the Law School in Phillip Street. After all, women doing Law was only a fad!