5 March 1975
First day of teaching at Nathan Campus, the foundation campus
On the 5th March, 1975, Griffith University commenced teaching to an original student enrolment of 451.
Today's Griffith University is represented by five campuses that stretch from Brisbane City to the Gold Coast. However, our organisation began with inspired yet humble origins. After several years of discussion about establishing a second university for Brisbane, former Queensland Newspapers Managing Director, Theodor Bray (later Sir Theodor) was appointed the challenging task by the Queensland Government in 1970. Theodor Bray began planning in earnest, and hand-picked his Interim Council which had its first meeting on 22nd January, 1971.
As planning progressed, it was announced that Griffith University would begin teaching on the 5th March, 1975. Not only did this commitment mean that significant work to develop infrastructure and buildings was required, it also meant a huge undertaking to develop administrative, teaching, and research practices. Additionally, the need to appoint School Chairs and senior academic staff became vitally important. These necessary academic appointments were made, and Griffith's four Schools began teaching to 451 students on the 5th March deadline.
The ceremony for the opening day of teaching at Nathan was eagerly publicised and the high-profile attendees reflected this. The opening celebration was attended by the Prime Minister of the time, Gough Whitlam, the then Premier of Queensland, Johannes (Joh) Bjelke-Petersen (later Sir Joh), and the Governor of Queensland, Sir Colin Hannah, who also conducted the official opening. Foundation Vice Chancellor, Professor John Willett, used this opening as an opportunity to publicly state that Griffith University would challenge existing conservative university structures, and expose its students to an innovative and alternative tertiary experience.