Year in review

UON kicked off its 50th year with a comprehensive engagement program designed to activate the whole University and connect with our internal and external communities.


UON successfully renewed its registration to operate as a higher education provider under the Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency (TEQSA), following a process of application and assessment with reference to the Higher Education Standards Framework. Registration was renewed for the maximum period of 7 years, to January 2022.


The inaugural Wanbil Lee and Becky Shiu Prize for ‘Ethical and Socially Responsible Use of Technology’ was  announced. The prize, donated and established by alumni Professor Wanbil Lee and his wife, supports, recognises and encourages students to consider socially responsible and ethical use of technology in their chosen field of study and practice.


First cohort of midwives graduated from UON Port Macquarie.


New student accommodation at Callaghan campus opened. The four multi-storey buildings almost doubled UON’s residential community.


The Hon. Michael Kirby AC CMG delivered the annual Memorial John McPhee Lecture on human rights and health in North Korea.


The Cooperative Research Centre for the Contamination Assessment and the Remediation of the Environment (CRC CARE), Australia’s leading contamination and remediation research organisation, relocated to UON to capture fresh opportunities in industrial clean up through close collaboration with Newcastle Institute for Energy and Resources.


UON’s Architecture and Built Environment discipline ranked 40th in the world in the 2015 QS World University Rankings by Subject.


Creator of Disney’s Frozen, Chris Buck, visited UON to share insights and advice from his stellar career in animation through a master class and lecture attended by over 900 alumni, staff and students. The lecture was part of the Disruptive Innovation Works lecture series introduced by UON in 2014.


Design students from UON gained worldwide prominence with their rotoscoped version of Taylor Swift’s Shake It Off video which featured in news around the world and reached around 1.3 million views on YouTube.

Above artwork by Renee McIntosh.


Construction commenced on the NeW Space project - UON’s $95.0m landmark education precinct in Newcastle’s central business district.

UON hosted the 20th National Indigenous Tertiary Education Student Games. Four-hundred and twenty students from 22 universities all around Ausralia competed - the largest number of students in the games’ history and Wollotuka was crowned overall champion for the second time.


UON alumnus Nigel Milsom won the Archibald prize for his portrait of Barrister Charles Waterstreet. Three years in the making, the work was described by the judges as a clear standout that captured the essence of its subject beautifully.

Nigel Milsom graduated with a Bachelor of Arts (Visual Arts) from UON in 1998.


Central Coast Innovation Summit was held to raise awareness of the need for innovation to drive the economy. The theme was ‘Organisational Culture’ and the program featured nationally renowned speakers Craig Rispin and Nick Bowditch.


UON welcomed the Governor of New South Wales, His Excellency General The Honourable David Hurley AC DSC (Ret’d), to Callaghan campus as part of our 50th anniversary celebrations.


A multi-institute research team led by Laureate Professor Rob Sanson- Fisher was awarded $3.4m from the National Health and Medical Research Council to improve dementia care and outcomes.


UON Sydney opened after moving into brand new, purpose-built premises on Elizabeth Street, having been located on Bathurst Street since 2009. The Elizabeth Street location is in the heart of Sydney’s central business district and provides world class facilities and services that support innovation in learning and a next generation experience for our students and staff.


A team of 16 graduates, staff, students and community supporters took on the challenge of walking ‘50kms for 50 years’ along the Great Wall of China, raising over $80,000 for the Shaping Futures Scholarship Endowment Fund for disadvantaged students.


UON hosted ‘Universities: Transforming Cities and their Regions’ - an international forum that brought together international and national leaders from higher education, industry and government to discuss opportunities and strategies for regional transformation and the catalyst role of universities.


UON and the City of Newcastle signed a landmark agreement with the United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR), led by Associate Professor Graham Brewer, which will see Newcastle become the world’s newest ‘United Nations City’. As part of the relationship UON will establish an International Training Centre for Authorities and Leaders (CIFAL) for global capacity building in disaster risk reduction.


UON celebrated 50 years of late night study sessions, of forging lifelong friendships and of flying mortarboards with its Alumni Homecoming - three days of reunions, events and festivities. Highlights included the Homecoming Great Debate, the inspiring Alumni Awards and ‘Back to the Bar’, the first alumni reunion concert at Bar on the Hill headlined by ARIA Award winners, Regurgitator.


New research building officially opened at Newcastle Institute for Energy and Resources and launch of the ARC Industrial Transformation Research Hub for Advanced Technologies for Australian Iron Ore.


UON welcomed six parliamentarians from the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) Member States - Brunei, Laos, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam. The ASEAN Parliamentarians were part of the 2015 Guest of Parliament of Australia Program.


UON’s inaugural Bequest Morning Tea highlighted the impact of support for research and resulted in a $10,000 donation to the Alan Roberts Scholarship and the doubling of scholarships made available by the Valsai Bleazard Trust in 2016.


UON’s Laureate Professor Rob Sanson-Fisher and Professor John Wiggers from Hunter New England Health were awarded a total of $4.4m in Cancer Council NSW funding to improve cancer service and prevention delivery.


UON ranked eighth nationally for research ‘well above world standard’ in the Excellence in Research for Australia assessment. Ninety per cent of UON research was rated ‘at world standard’ or above.


UON formalised a new partnership with the Fulbright Commission to strengthen research impact and reach through two new scholarships: a Fulbright Distinguished Chair and the Inaugural Fulbright Postdoctoral Scholarship.