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University timeline

1986

Inaugural student Matthew Wiseman and Foundation Vice Chancellor Don Watts

3 July 1986: Businessman Alan Bond announces plans to develop Australia’s first private, not-for-profit, fully independent university on a Gold Coast site known as Burleigh Forest.

Bond University of Applied Technology, as it was originally known, would be funded by a joint venture between Bond Corporation Holdings and Japanese development company, EIE, as part of a broad-based academic, commercial and residential precinct. Show more

3 July 1986: Businessman Alan Bond announces plans to develop Australia’s first private, not-for-profit, fully independent university on a Gold Coast site known as Burleigh Forest.

Bond University of Applied Technology, as it was originally known, would be funded by a joint venture between Bond Corporation Holdings and Japanese development company, EIE, as part of a broad-based academic, commercial and residential precinct.

The concept, developed by a small group of political, business and community leaders, was to create a unique learning experience modelled on the world’s leading private universities and ivy league colleges. Classes would be smaller, facilities world class and leading academics would be drawn from across the globe. Show less

1987 - 1988

Professor Don Watts

23 April 1987: The Bond University Act is passed by the Queensland Government, securing the University’s status as a fully independent tertiary institution.

Coordinator General for Queensland Sir Sydney Schubert will serve as Chancellor and Professor Don Watts takes the reins as Bond’s inaugural Vice-Chancellor in July. Show more

23 April 1987: The Bond University Act is passed by the Queensland Government, securing the University’s status as a fully independent tertiary institution.

Coordinator General for Queensland Sir Sydney Schubert will serve as Chancellor and Professor Don Watts takes the reins as Bond’s inaugural Vice-Chancellor in July.

Construction of the campus begins in late September and continues through the two wettest years recorded on the Gold Coast. The University’s earliest staff call themselves the ‘Gumboot Brigade’ as they slosh through the mud on campus. Tragically, the foundation Dean of Business, Steve Johnson, drowns in a flash flood in Mudgeeraba Creek just days before the first students arrive. Show less

1989

13 May 1989: 322 students arrive at Bond University to begin undergraduate and postgraduate studies in the Faculties of Business, Humanities and Social Sciences, Science and Technology and Law. Show more

13 May 1989: 322 students arrive at Bond University to begin undergraduate and postgraduate studies in the Faculties of Business, Humanities and Social Sciences, Science and Technology and Law.

The campus continues to take shape with the completion of the Student Centre, the main library and Lake Orr. The Bond University Rugby Union Football Club is established and the English Language Institute (ELI) opens off campus in Surfers Paradise with 23 students. Show less

1990 - 1993

First undergraduate graduation May 1991

3 May 1990: The first cohort of nine MBA students graduate at a ceremony in the Princeton Room attended by 500 VIP guests. By the time the first 75 undergraduates celebrate their graduation in 1991, student enrolments have grown to more than 1000.

In the background, however, the joint venture partners are in trouble. In 1992, the University breaks even financially for the first time but, after Bond Corporation sells its shares to EIE, the Japanese company also goes into receivership, setting up a battle for the University’s survival that will last until the end of the decade.

1994

Bond’s fifth year celebration

The University continues to expand its program offerings with the introduction of new study areas such as Criminology and Film and Television. The Bond University Film and Television Awards (BUFTA) are launched to encourage Year 11 and 12 students to enrol in the new Bachelor of Film and Television by making their own short films. Show more

The University continues to expand its program offerings with the introduction of new study areas such as Criminology and Film and Television. The Bond University Film and Television Awards (BUFTA) are launched to encourage Year 11 and 12 students to enrol in the new Bachelor of Film and Television by making their own short films.

Bond’s Law and Accounting programs are ranked number one in Australia and a team of MBA students take top honours in the 1994 International Entrepreneurial Moot Competition against the likes of Harvard, the University of Chicago and Northwestern University. 

Meanwhile, EIE receivers put the campus land and buildings up for sale and Bond University gains a three-year tenancy. Show less

1999

Vice Chancellor Professor Ken Moores, Commercial Director John LeLievre and Registrar Alan Finch signing the purchase of the campus

13 August, 1999: Bond’s tenth anniversary year is capped off with the news that Bond University Limited has purchased the 50ha site and campus buildings for $65 million.

2000 – 2003

Large group of students and staff under the arch building

The resolution of Bond’s ownership is a major turning point in the university’s history, ushering in a new era of growth and development.

In 2000, the milestone of 5000 alumni is reached and enrolments exceed 2000 for the first time. A strategic plan focuses on a new Institute of Health Sciences with a view to introducing an undergraduate medical degree. Show more

The resolution of Bond’s ownership is a major turning point in the university’s history, ushering in a new era of growth and development.

In 2000, the milestone of 5000 alumni is reached and enrolments exceed 2000 for the first time. A strategic plan focuses on a new Institute of Health Sciences with a view to introducing an undergraduate medical degree.

The decision to extend FEE HELP to Bond students in 2003 finally puts the University on a level playing field with public sector institutions as Bond students are granted access to help finance their studies. Show less

2004 – 2006

Vice Chancellor Professor Robert Stable with Prime Minister John Howard at the opening of the Health Sciences and Medicine Building

The launch of Bond’s new ‘blue sky’ branding and imagery sets the tone for a major period of growth for the University.

In 2004, the Australian Medical Council approves Bond’s undergraduate Bachelor of Medicine Bachelor of Surgery – Australia’s first ever private medical degree – with the new medical school established by one of the world’s leading evidence-based medical practitioners. Show more

The launch of Bond’s new ‘blue sky’ branding and imagery sets the tone for a major period of growth for the University.

In 2004, the Australian Medical Council approves Bond’s undergraduate Bachelor of Medicine Bachelor of Surgery – Australia’s first ever private medical degree – with the new medical school established by one of the world’s leading evidence-based medical practitioners. Prime Minister John Howard officiates at the opening of the $20 million Bond University Medical School building in April 2006, by which time the new Faculty of Health Science and Medicine is up and running, with programs in forensic science, exercise science, sports science and the full range of biomedical and health sciences.

The Business Faculty is re-launched as a ‘super faculty’ combining business, technology and the new School of Sustainable Development – the first designated planning and design school in Australia to fully integrate environmental, urban planning and architectural disciplines.

A reinvigorated focus on research sees external research funding triple and the number of Higher Degree by Research (HDR) students increase by 65% in just two years.

The Career Development Centre gets a make-over and Bond College is launched to provide pathway programs into Bond University degrees.

In 2007, Bond is ranked equal best university in Australia by the independent publishers of the Good Universities Guide, scoring the maximum five-star rating in nine key student experience categories Show less

2007 – 2011

Bond University Moot Court opening in 2007

The University continues to expand its degree offerings in response to industry demand: Australia’s first Doctor of Physiotherapy program, a new Masters of High Performance Science focusing on elite athletes, undergraduate and postgraduate offerings in Hotel, Resort and Tourism Management, Computer Games, Multimedia and Architecture. Show more

The University continues to expand its degree offerings in response to industry demand: Australia’s first Doctor of Physiotherapy program, a new Masters of High Performance Science focusing on elite athletes, undergraduate and postgraduate offerings in Hotel, Resort and Tourism Management, Computer Games, Multimedia and Architecture.

The campus continues to grow too with the multi-million dollar Legal Skills Centre opening in 2007, incorporating a state-of-the-art moot court modelled on the High Court of Australia. Other new facilities include the Macquarie Trading Room, the Balnaves Foundation Multimedia Learning Centre, the ADCO Amphitheatre and Alumni Court and the Bond University Institute for Sport (BUIS) Research Centre at Robina.

In August 2008, Acting Prime Minister Julia Gillard opens the Mirvac School of Sustainable Development building. It is the first building in Australia to achieve a six Green Star – Education PILOT Certificate Rating for Design by the Green Building Council of Australia.

The inaugural cohort of medical students graduates in 2009 and every one of them secures an internship.

Long-time Bond supporter and art patron Dr Patrick Corrigan facilitates an auction of Indigenous art in 2010, raising $70,000 to support a small number of scholarships for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students.

Bond Law teams win a series of prestigious international mooting competitions, cementing Bond’s reputation as one of the world’s leading advocacy teaching universities while the 2011 Australian Financial Review BOSS rankings lists Bond in the top 10 MBA programs in Australia. Show less

2012-2016

Dr Patrick Corrigan

Bond University goes from strength to strength with more recognition on the international stage.

Bond Business School gains global accreditation from the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) and the European Quality Improvement System (EQUIS), becoming one of only eight business schools in Australia to hold this dual international recognition. Show more

Bond University goes from strength to strength with more recognition on the international stage.

Bond Business School gains global accreditation from the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) and the European Quality Improvement System (EQUIS), becoming one of only eight business schools in Australia to hold this dual international recognition.

The Master of Construction Practice becomes the first postgraduate degree in Australia to be accredited by the worldwide Chartered Institute of Building.

Bond Law partners with Zhongan University of Economics and Law (ZUEL) in China and the Swiss International Law School. It also continues to develop its North American market by offering specialist subjects in Canadian Law, with the 1000th Canadian law student enrolling at Bond in 2014.

Other international linkages allow students to undertake internships and study tours to Silicon Valley, China, Africa, remote communities in the Solomon Islands and in a network of AECOM offices in 150 countries worldwide.

In 2014, Bond features in the world’s Top 200 QS World University Rankings for the first time. The following year, it is crowned World’s Best Beachside University by Study International.

Closer to home, Bond College expands its pathway options with a range of Diploma qualifications.

With a strategic focus on sport, Bond develops study and training partnerships with local, state and national rugby union, rugby league, rugby 7s, AFL and swimming organisations.

A commitment to closing the gap on educational disadvantage for Australia’s First Nations people inspires a formal Indigenous Education Strategy involving scholarships, specialised student support, on-campus cultural awareness and community outreach.

In 2012 Bond opens the Nyombil Centre where Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students can study, socialise and network with other Indigenous students and seek advice from staff.

Between 2012 and 2017, 67 Indigenous students from all over Australia are presented with scholarships to study at Bond University and Indigenous student enrolments more than double. 

Dr Corrigan’s art auction evolves into the annual Indigenous Gala attracting more than 500 attendees and raising almost $2 million to support Bond’s Indigenous education initiatives over the five-year period. Show less

2017 - 2018

Transformer Hub

The University debuts at #20 in the Times Higher Education (THE) rankings of the Best Small Universities in the World.

Major refurbishments are carried out to the Legal Skills Centre, Faculty of Health Sciences and Medicine building, Bond Business School and the Multimedia Learning Centre.

The Fabian Fay clubhouse opens in April, further supporting the growth of Bond University Rugby Club and Bond Sport at large. Show more

The University debuts at #20 in the Times Higher Education (THE) rankings of the Best Small Universities in the World.

Major refurbishments are carried out to the Legal Skills Centre, Faculty of Health Sciences and Medicine building, Bond Business School and the Multimedia Learning Centre.

The Fabian Fay clubhouse opens in April, further supporting the growth of Bond University Rugby Club and Bond Sport at large.

Queensland’s first cohort of actuarial science students graduate from Bond Business School. It remains the only program in Queensland accredited by the Actuaries Institute offering a unique focus on big data analytics.

An Australian-first entrepreneurship program ‘Transformer’ is offered as a fee-free, extracurricular option to undergraduate and postgraduate students. While run through the Bond Business School, it is embraced by students from all disciplines who are interested in entrepreneurial, ‘big picture’ thinking.  Show less

2019: Celebrating 30 years

Large group of staff and students forming the shape of 30 for the 30th anniversary celebrations.

Australia’s leading private university celebrates its 30th anniversary. The unveiling of the sculpture Limitless in April marks the beginning of a year of festivities. The 6.5-metre stainless steel artwork by Gold Coast sculptor Ian Haggerty is inscribed with the names of 26,000 graduates and has a hidden message. Show more

Australia’s leading private university celebrates its 30th anniversary. The unveiling of the sculpture Limitless in April marks the beginning of a year of festivities. The 6.5-metre stainless steel artwork by Gold Coast sculptor Ian Haggerty is inscribed with the names of 26,000 graduates and has a hidden message.

The University’s main library, The John & Alison Kearney Library, has a makeover to provide more modern, student-friendly spaces. Stage two of the Health Sciences and Medicine building officially opens, adding more than 4500 square metres of floorspace. The design features state-of-the-art learning and teaching zones, additional facilities for researchers and expanded areas to accommodate staff working on new health and medical programs.

On May 15, the university’s Foundation Day, staff and students gather in the quadrangle to recreate a historic photograph of the university’s first cohort of graduates. 1000 Bondies travel from around Australia and the world – including New York, London, Kuala Lumpur, Tokyo and even Botswana – for the 30th anniversary gala ball, the highlight of Homecoming Week.

The Bond University Aquatic Centre opens in June with a new FINA-ratified 10-lane, 25m pool. Bond alumni Grant Hackett, Jon Sieben, Andrew Baildon and Melanie Wright (nee Schlanger) are just some of Australia’s swimming greats in attendance. The university’s squad includes Commonwealth Games medallists Alex Graham, Elijah Winnington, Jenna Strauch and Laura Taylor as well as Minna Atherton who became the first woman in history to break the 55-second barrier in the 100m backstroke.

The university and Screen Queensland unite to launch an Australian-first co-working hub, where screen industry creatives work alongside students. In July the new high-performance eSports Hub - devoted to competitive video-gaming – is unveiled at Bond’s annual Open Day.

Bond Business School opens the Business Commons in December, a new modern space to accommodate 120 students in a range of self-study areas, collaborative spaces and informal teaching hubs.

Through critical challenges such as the Global Financial Crisis and the Australian Government’s uncapping of student places at public universities, the University has held fast to its founders’ vision to deliver the best possible student experience. The Good Universities Guide rated Bond University #1 in Australia for student experience … for the 13th year in a row. Show less