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New sculpture features 26,000 alumni names and one hidden message

April 9, 2019

A new artwork revealed at Bond University features the names of 26,727 students and one hidden message.

The 6.5m stainless steel Limitless by Gold Coast artist Ian Haggerty was unveiled by alumni Derek Cronin and Rhianna Lovegrove.

Mr Cronin was among the university’s foundation cohort of 322 students while Ms Lovegrove was valedictorian at the February 2019 graduation.

Inscribed on the sculpture are the names of every Bond graduate since its opening in 1989 and the big reveal kicks off 30th anniversary celebrations at the university.

But it is the secret message built into Limitless that will intrigue current and future students.

“I’ll only ever say this once, (but) there is a secret message embedded within the sculpture,” said Vice Chancellor and President Tim Brailsford.

Professor Brailsford said there was “a degree of randomness” to the way the names had been etched onto the artwork, which sits beneath the university’s landmark Arch.

“We want people to come and spend some time here, to appreciate the structure and be a little frustrated to try to find their names,” he said.

“If they don’t find it the first time, it means they’ll come back again.

“But because the names are grouped by eras, the idea is that you’ll recognise some of your classmates’ names.

“You’ll recognise some names you had forgotten about and that will bring a sense of comradery and allow you to reflect on your time here at Bond.”

However, the eagle-eyed Mr Cronin, Chair of the Alumni Advisory Board, spotted his name minutes after the ceremony.

Earlier, he told the crowd that turning up for class on the first day of Australia’s first private university was daunting.

“I can tell you that what we see here today, this beautiful 32-metre Arch was here, but pretty much everything else that you see, including the lake, was dirt,” Mr Cronin said.

“It was really quite a daunting, challenging experience, but what is magnificent to see for all of my fellow alum and for all of those who have since come is to see what amazing achievements the university has experienced over the years.

“I think it’s so fitting that our names are reflected in this piece of art and it gives us something to appreciate when we do come back here.”

Professor Brailsford paid tribute to Mr Haggerty.

“Ian is from the Gold Coast, lives on the Gold Coast and is here today with his wife Julie, and it was fantastic to learn one of their sons, Callum, is a graduate of Bond,” Professor Brailsford said.

“The location under the Arch could not be more iconic.”

Limitless weighs 1.5 tonnes and the globe at the base is 1.5m in diameter. It was constructed on the Gold Coast.

Bond University will celebrate its 30th anniversary from May 13 to 19 with a full calendar of Homecoming events, culminating in a gala ball at The Star Gold Coast on May 18.