UNSW's 70th Anniversary 


First Grad Intake

15 March 1952 Our University's first ever graduation ceremony was held at the University of Sydney's Great Hall. At the ceremony, 57 degrees were awarded, comprising Bachelor of Engineering and Bachelor of Science, as well as three honorary degrees.

Today We have 315,000 UNSW graduates living and working in more than 150 countries, with an array of undergraduate, postgraduate and honorary degrees awarded each year, spanning our nine faculties. UNSW’s increasingly diverse and global alumni community has access to benefits and services such as networking, mentoring and lifelong learning opportunities. 


International Students

1952 UNSW has long been a premier university for international students; the oldest documented case of an international student at our university is Arsh Boongrapu, who travelled from Thailand on a government-sponsored scholarship to study Electrical Engineering. UNSW was also one of the first universities in Australia to open its doors to students from Asia under the Australian Government’s first Colombo Plan, launched in 1951.

Today The Federal Government’s new Colombo Plan has supported more than 13,500 Australian undergraduate students to study across the Asia Pacific region to enhance knowledge among young Australians. We have one of the largest outbound student mobility programs in Australia under the plan, with 800 UNSW students visiting the Asia Pacific region in 2018.


Basser College

1959 Basser College was built to house students from rural regions, enabling them the same access to education as those from local metropolitan areas. Built 10 years after UNSW opened, Basser is the oldest residential college of UNSW, established after a generous £40,000 donation from businessman and philanthropist Sir Adolph Basser.

Today We are celebrating 60 years of Basser, as the College has seen thousands of students stay in its dorms, including many notable alumni including former UNSW Vice-Chancellor, Emeritus Professor John Niland AO. Basser College also now has scholarships to help students from rural and regional backgrounds, or those experiencing disadvantage, to have equal access to the college community. This includes the Basser Equity Award, and the J Holden Family Foundation Residential Scholarship, donated by the inaugural 1959 Basser President, John Holden. 

All photos have been provided by UNSW Archives.