Griffith University was constituted by the Queensland Parliament in 1971 and takes its name from Sir Samuel Walker Griffith, a former Chief Justice of both Queensland and Australia. Our organisation's founding fathers - Chancellor Theodor Bray and Vice Chancellor John Willett - worked with the Interim/First Council (handpicked by Bray) to establish a university that was unique and pioneering in its approach to teaching and administration. This innovative approach included the establishment of the Schools of Modern Asian Studies and Australian Environmental Studies - the first such schools to open at any Australian University. One of the more significant alternative philosophies adopted by our founders was to move away from teaching students to answer questions posed solely by academics, and instead to try to answer questions posed by society. In other words - our university would ask our students to understand and find answers to real-world problems faced by the community - not just problems prescribed in a text book.

In addition to this, our four foundation Schools - Australian Environmental Studies, Humanities, Modern Asian Studies and Science - would not act in a traditional way as independent departments within our organisation - but rather as inter-disciplinary co-operating departments where students could study subjects from across all four Schools. For example, a foundation student could undertake a Bachelor of Science with Japanese (language). Our founders also chose to move away from exclusionary practices to study opportunities that they believed were quite apparent at some traditional universities. Our university was to be a progressive place of learning and support ideals of equality, inclusion, and fair access for all to tertiary education. Griffith was established as, and remains today - a people's university.

Griffith University Annual Reports

1971, Article
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Dawkin's Reforms and Amalgamations

July 1986, Article
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Doctor of the University

1975, Article
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The Griffith University Mace

1979, Artefact
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The University Medal

September 1980, Artefact
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Our environmental ethos continues

2022, Article
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The Griffith Council

January 1971, Article
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The Griffith Lecture

2003, Article
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Dr Leonard James Webb Collection

1991, Article
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