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Architecture students - late 70s early 80s

Celebrating Deakin University’s School of Architecture and Built Environment’s foundation era

A very special reunion and opportunity to reconnect with graduates and staff who were a part of Deakin University’s School of Architecture and Built Environment’s foundation era (pre 1970 to 1979) turned out to be a celebration of a lifetime of memories and achievements for the 40 alumni graduates and staff who attended. Mrs Jenny Battye, staff alumnus who attended the reunion was the very first staff hired by Deakin University School of Architecture in 1974 where she remained employed for 45 years in the same school until her retirement in 2019.

The reunion event took place on Friday 11 November 2022 with a cocktail gathering in Level 4 Gallery of Deakin’s Waterfront Campus followed by dinner at Man Bo Restaurant (a local restaurant owned by Deakin Bachelor of Design (Architecture) architecture graduate Alex Pan. The event was jointly hosted by the School of Architecture and Built Environment and a core group of alumni from the founding era and was supported by Deakin Advancement Alumni Engagement, as well as Deakin Archival and Waterfront Library.

The core group of architecture alumni who had begun their first year of architecture studies at the Gordon in 1972 and graduated as the very first Deakin graduates in architecture have been the driving initiators of this gathering. Architects Mr. Alfred de Bruyne, Mr. John Lee, Mr. Gary Kerger and Mr. John Young were keen to celebrate their 50th milestone year since they first met as architecture students. This idea eventually grew to be a celebration and recognition of their foundation era status and a reconnecting opportunity that recognised all graduates and staff who were a part of the school’s foundation era more broadly. Mr. Tony Arnel, Industry Professor with Deakin who started his architecture studies in 1973 jumped straight on board with his support.

Tony Arnel has been instrumental in the stewardship of an Alumni Impact Project study led by the school. In relation to contribution and impact, the foundation era alumni have made sustained contribution to future generations of graduates from Deakin through jobs creation, formal and informal appointments through their presence and influence, sponsorship of industry scholarships and awards, and ongoing contributions to both built and intangible impacts in Geelong and around the world. Many have, in the past and many are continuing their involvement through leadership positions that influence policy in education and practice and advisory and stewardship roles in the university, industry, and community.

Louise Honman, John Lee, Noel McConnell, Susan Ang, Alfred de Bruyne, Tony Arnel.

The broader meaning and significance of the reunion gathering held on November 11 is that the School of Architecture and Built Environment is steadily and increasingly building efforts over 2022 – 2024 to reconnect with our graduates from over 50 years. The reunion reconnection project has recognised graduates across three major transitions of campuses as graduates from our Foundation Era, Waurn Ponds Era, and more recently our Woolstores-Waterfront Era. The architecture alumni in particular wish to make a loud noise in our local region when we are proud to own the mantel of being the oldest and fiercest school of architecture in Victoria having shared a history of architecture in Geelong of 137 years with the Gordon.

The foundation era reunion celebration held on November 11 in 2022 is the first of several upcoming alumni reunion gatherings which will take place in 2023 and 2024. With exciting plans to launch a grand reunion and exhibition of “50 years of architecture at Deakin: A legacy of sustained contribution and impact locally and globally exhibition at Deakin” as a legacy of achievements, in recognition of the contribution and impacts of all graduates and staff alumni since the founding era in time for Deakin’s 50th birthday milestone in December 2024, we invite all architecture alumni who identify with our Foundation, Waurn Ponds, Woolstores-Waterfront eras to reconnect with us.

For further information
Susan Ang
Susan Ang

School of Architecture and Built Environment
Architecture Alumni Coordinator

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