University College 80th Anniversary Forum

University College has had a marked impact on its residents for 80 years. But the nature of that impact has varied with the social context of the times and the changing nature of university education itself.

Forum Panel 1 (L-R): Dr Don Edgar OAM (Chair), Jane Peck, Winsome McCaughey AO, Dr Patricia Edgar AM, Dr Miriam Dixson, Lesley Faloon OAM

At the 80th Anniversary Forum held on Friday 25 August, nine of College’s distinguished alumni as well as the current Student Club Vice-President participated in panel discussions about the influence College has had on their lives and the challenges they see facing university students today. They were:

Dr Miriam Dixson (UC 1948-50)
Dr Patricia Edgar AM (UC 1954-58)
Lesley Falloon OAM (UC 1938)
Professor Elizabeth Gaze (UC 1971)
Winsome McCaughey AO (UC 1961-64)
Jane Peck (UC 1969-70)
Finbar Piper (UC 2013-14)
Mikala Tai (UC 2002-03)
Ella Thomas (UC 2016- current)
Daryl Williams QC (UC 1983)

Forum Panel 2 (L-R): Dr Don Edgar OAM (Chair), Ella Thomas, Finbar Piper, Dr Mikala Tai, Professor Elizabeth Gaze

What emerged from the discussion was the unique nature of University College compared with others at Melbourne University: the diversity of its student residents – not just from the city or from private schools, not denomination-based, many students from rural Victoria and other States, many from overseas, mixing socially and academically in what was described as a ‘safe’ and ‘nurturing’ environment that encouraged them to find their path in life, gain self-confidence and achieve independence as thinking, mindful adults. The panel members urged that College continue to focus on such goals because university life itself is now a less friendly and intellectually stimulating place to be.

“I got stretched by College and I learnt that I was probably as important as anybody else, which was a very valuable thing to learn at that age” Dr Patricia Edgar AM

Overall the Forum was a resounding success and the College is very grateful to our panel members who contributed so much to what was a lively and thought-provoking event.