By Laura Keele, Alumni Relations Coordinator
On Wednesday 11 December, not even inclement weather could keep members of the Logan community, Griffith University staff, students and alumni from joining together to celebrate the 15th anniversary of the Griffith Logan campus.
Opened in 1998 by then Premier Peter Beattie, the Logan campus has transformed in its short 15 year history and grown into a pillar of the Logan community. The cows that until recent years resided on the campus and were a highlight for many students and visitors have now moved on to allow for exciting building projects, including the new sports grounds and facilities, as the campus continues to grow.
Head of Campus Professor Lesley Chenoweth welcomed the 100 guests to the RED Event before inviting the University Chancellor, Ms Leneen Forde AC to speak. The Chancellor is a great supporter of Logan campus and spoke very passionately about the great developments that had taken place over the past 15 years. She also spoke passionately about the Griffith Redbacks – the Logan football team, who were 2013 Universities Rugby League champions and are proud representatives of Griffith in the community.
Professor Chenoweth highlighted the high levels of support for the Logan campus in her address and she spoke about the Logan wishing tree. A representation of the Logan Wind Sculpture the wishing tree is a symbol of the campus and its potential to grow and deliver educational dreams for the community. The tree will be used as icon for future fundraising for Logan campus. Donations to the Logan campus and students can be made via the Development and Alumni website, simply select Logan campus as your gift destination.
Guests were treated to canapés from Griffith Food and entertainment from Sunset Jazz Trio, one of the amazing bands to come from the Queensland Conservatorium Griffith University. The event was attended by many Griffith alumni who excitedly returned to campus to see the changes and reconnect with old friends and Griffith staff. Alumnus, Tanya Schmakeit commented on how great it was to be back at Logan, “I valued the opportunity to come back on campus and chat and network with other former Griffith students to benefit the local community” she said.
Alumnus, Eva Hallam was invited to speak about her experience as a Logan student. Eva explained how she completed secondary school in the late 80’s with aspirations to gain full time employment rather than continue to study at University. She attended Griffith in 2001 as a mature age student and completed a Bachelor of Human Services. Eva recalled, “I cried when I found out I was successful and my parents cried too as I was the first of both my Mum’s and Dad’s family to attend University.” Eva made the most of her opportunity and dedicated herself to her studies and to participating in many additional programs and activities on campus. “Campus activities provided me with real life opportunities to apply and put into practice what I was learning”, Eva said.
Eva summarized her thoughts of Griffith’s Logan campus with a beautiful story about her sons. “I was driving along Loganlea Road with my 7 year old and my 9 year old. My 7 year old was going through a phase where he was getting more confident with his reading and would read signs on shops and by the road. We approached the lights and I heard him say “Griffith University” and I heard his older brother turn to him and say ‘I’m going to that University when I grow up” and my heart literally swelled” said Eva.
The story highlighted the importance of the campus to the community and its power to change education aspirations of the community in its short history. “I think one of the greatest gifts to our community has been the establishment of this campus at Meadowbrook. I can see the significant shift in aspirations among our families and we should leverage this further to encourage our kids to aspire to greater things and not to fall for the external hype about Logan City” said Eva.
The RED Event was a great success and wonderful celebration of the Logan campus’ 15th anniversary. Photos from the event can be seen on the Griffith Logan and Griffith Alumni Facebook pages.