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Our history

Our story

On 15 May, 1989, Bond University welcomed the first cohort of 322 students to its brand new, state-of-the-art campus on Queensland’s Gold Coast.

As Australia’s first private, not-for-profit university, the vision was for Bond to offer an exclusive educational experience of the highest international standards, where students from around the world would be mentored in small class groups by renowned academics and high-profile industry leaders. 

When those foundation students graduated as the Class of 1989, they were quickly recruited by Australia’s most successful corporations and their subsequent achievements in the workplace firmly established Bond’s reputation for excellence.  

During the past 30 years, Bond University has become one of Australia’s leading tertiary institutions, renowned for its expertise in study areas ranging from business, law, medicine, architecture, and data analytics, to film and television, communication, sports management, and occupational therapy.

Bond is Australia’s #1 university for student experience for 16 years.* In 2018, 2019 and 2020, Australian employers said they were more satisfied with Bond graduates than those from any other university.

Bond has achieved far beyond all expectations, meeting every challenge with the unbridled spirit of determination and innovation that has characterised its rich and colourful history. 

* Good Universities Guide 2006 - 2022

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A limitless legacy

As an institution, Bond is still young, but it has a unique, rich and proud history. Take a scroll through the past three decades...

Timeline

1986

On 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 would be world class and leading academics would be drawn from across the globe. 

Timeline 2

1989

On 15 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 (BUELI) opens off campus in Surfers Paradise with 23 students.

Catherine Fitzgerald is the first student to enrol in Australia’s 21st university.

The first major scholarship to Bond University was donated by the Neumann family for the study of Asian languages. 

Timeline

2000 – 2003

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 5,000 alumni is reached and enrolments exceed 2,000 for the first time. A strategic plan focuses on a new Institute of Health Sciences with a view to introduce an undergraduate medical degree. 

2009 – 2011

In 2009, the inaugural cohort of medical students graduates and every one of them secures an internship.

Bond’s Sustainable Development Building wins the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors’ Global Award for Sustainability.

Long-time Bond supporter and art patron Dr Patrick Corrigan facilitates an auction of Indigenous art in 2010, raising funds 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. 

Timeline 4

2019

Australia’s leading private university celebrates its 30th anniversary. The unveiling of the Limitless sculpture on 9 April, 2019 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, undergoes a makeover to provide more modern, student-friendly spaces. Stage two of the Health Sciences and Medicine building officially opens, adding more than 4,500 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 15 May, 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. 1,000 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 once again rates Bond University #1 in Australia for student experience, a position it has held for the better part of two decades.

Designer of Bond’s iconic Arch – Japanese architect Arata Isozaki – is awarded the 2019 Pritzker Prize, the world’s highest architecture honour.