LIMITLESS: Artist Ian Haggerty at the unveiling of his sculpture. He encourages people to see it at night (inset) as it includes special lighting effects.
LIMITLESS: Artist Ian Haggerty at the unveiling of his sculpture. He encourages people to see it at night (inset) as it includes special lighting effects. BOND UNIVERSITY

Bond uni's limitless vision drives expansion over 30 years

ON May 15, Bond University marks 30 years since it welcomed its first cohort of 322 students to its brand new, state-of-the-art campus in a concept strongly questioned at the time by critics.

And from May 13-19 it is celebrating, with a calendar of homecoming events culminating in the public Family and Friends Festival on Friday, May 17, including fireworks at 7.30pm.

Some 26,000 people from more than 100 countries have now graduated from Australia's first private tertiary educator.

Their names have been incorporated into a breathtaking 6.5m-high, 3m-wide, 1.5-tonne sculpture entitled Limitless, underneath the university's renowned central arch.

It is the creation of Tallai artist Ian Haggerty, who undertook a Masters degree in Entrepreneurial Management at 57 and said his idea "was always to demonstrate the limitless possibilities created by education".

"I wanted to bring together the global Bond University alumni community, showing there are no limitations to education when it comes to gender, age, race or religion," he said.

With a globe at its base, Ian said he wanted viewers to see their own reflection, but also that of Bond.

The incorporation of graduates' names, he said, both recognised their contribution to the world and its contribution to them, while also sharing their journey with future students.

The four pillars of learning are symbolised bursting open at the top, so there is no end to the potential, he said.

The project took thousands of hours over more than a year to complete and Ian said being made of stainless steel, he hopes it will survive 100 years or more.

Special Homecoming events include the official opening of the new Health Sciences and Medicine building extension (May 13), Wednesday by the Water Foundation Day celebrations (May 15) and the 30th Anniversary Gala Ball at The Star Gold Coast (May 18).

As well as the Family and Friends Festival 5.30-9.30pm on May 17, with food, live music, fireworks and drinks including mulled wine for the adults, there will be a series of public academic lectures and workshops and sporting events on Saturday, May 18.

For those interested in the university's history, you can also take the guided Walk the Bond Heritage Trail from 3.30-5pm on Friday, May 17.

The 2.7km trail was launched last year and comprises 14 sandstone blocks around the university perimeter.

They trace its transformation from the old Burleigh Forest pine plantation to a world-respected educator, including creation of Lake Orr, named after Brian Orr, a key figure in the university's construction.

Bond vice-chancellor and president, Professor Tim Brailsford, said the walk, which can be self-guided at any time, was a way of inviting the community into the campus, light-heartedly adding it was "a pretty decent-looking campus to take a bit of time to look through".

For full details of the celebrations, including pre-registration required for some (even free) events, go to /homecoming or phone 0755951111.

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