16 May 2014, Written by Rebecca Masters

BOND University celebrated its 25th anniversary this week, attracting alumni from around the globe back to the Gold Coast.

Australia’s first and only fully private university, Bond now has over 4000 students and 1000 employees.

But despite going from strength to strength, the university weathered a rough patch in the 1990s, mostly due to its association with namesake and founder Alan Bond.

In 1992, the businessman was declared bankrupt and subsequently convicted of fraud, serving four years jail time.

The collapse of Bond Corporation and Japanese investment group EIE threatened the viability of the institution, but it survived, buying its own land and buildings.

There was also the battle of establishing the reputation of the private, not-for-profit institution against the strength of free tertiary education across the country.

Vice-Chancellor and President, Professor Tim Brailsford (pictured) admits the university was initially seen as an “oddity” and there was scepticism of its ability to grow, but he says that time has long passed.

The university’s accelerated learning model, small group learning and cutting-edge facilities became vital in differentiating the Bond offering.

“Bond University is now highly regarded internationally with Bond graduates in senior positions across a range of disciplines both in Australia and around the world,” Brailsford says.

“We have established a reputation which is the envy of many higher education institutions and the University is primed for significant growth and further development over the next 25 years.”

He says the university owes much of its success to the vision, drive and passion of a dedicated and energetic group of business and community figures who believed that the Gold Coast needed its own university.

He says the entrepreneurial spirit of the Gold Coast influenced the university from the outset.

“Innovation and entrepreneurship have been the hallmarks of our success over the past two and a half decades, and Bond University has matured, proven itself and defied the critics of its early days. We are now firmly established and respected by our peers,” he says.

The establishment of the School of Medicine in 2004 made many within the higher education sector sit up and take notice of Bond as the first private university to offer medicine in Australia.

“The establishment of the School of Medicine was a major achievement that was not easy to do and it gave Bond a level of credibility,” he says.

“Our reputation now sees us regularly attract OP 1 students from other institutions around the country and also a high standard of academic staff who could in reality choose to lecture anywhere in the world, but they come to Bond.

“We have created an environment which attracts ambitious and driven people both at a student and academic staff level. It is one of our points of difference.”

The 25th Anniversary Gala Ball will be held on Saturday May 17 at the Gold Coast Convention and Exhibition Centre.

Alan Bond will be a guest at the ball which will host around 1,000 guests.
Author: Rebecca Masters
About: Rebecca Masters is a writer and journalist for Gold Coast Business News. She writes across a number of genres, but with a particular focus on business, also contributing to Brisbane Business News and Queensland Business News.
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