Retirement of couple who devoted working lives to UNE

Published 15 July 2008

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Wendy and Graham Hyde have retired after devoting all their working lives – a combined total of nearly 83 years – to the University of New England.

In June 1966, Graham Hyde began work as an electronics apprentice in the University’s Physics Department, and in November of the following year his future wife joined the University as a secretary in the Department of Sociology. They celebrated their 38th wedding anniversary on the 14th of February this year.

In a farewell function at UNE’s “Booloominbah” earlier this month, Professor Margaret Sedgley, Pro Vice-Chancellor and Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, pointed out how unusual it was these days for an individual – let alone a couple – to devote their whole career to one employer.

Professor Sedgley, who has worked closely with Mrs Hyde in the administration of the Faculty, commented on her “encyclopaedic knowledge” of the Faculty and its teaching programs, and said she had been “a wonderful support”. Mrs Hyde ended her UNE career as Faculty Adacemic Manager – a position she held from late 2003.

Her career led her through secretarial positions in the Departments of Sociology, Physiology, Rural Properties, and Animal Science before she was appointed secretary to the Dean in the Faculty of Rural Science in 1981. She became secretary to the Dean of the Faculty of The Sciences in 1990, before her appointment as Student Administrative Officer for the Faculty in 1991. “I’ve really enjoyed working at UNE,” she said at the farewell, “and particularly with the students.”

Graham Hyde spent most of his career in Physics (except for three years in Ecosystem Management), rising to the position of Senior Technical Officer.

After the birth of each of their two sons – Mark and Craig – Mrs Hyde had a break from UNE of several years. More recently, she undertook a Bachelor of Arts degree program through UNE as an external student, graduating in 1992.

Mr and Mrs Hyde have seen many changes at UNE over their 40-odd years of employment, including what Mrs Hyde referred to as “a big change in culture” during the period of the amalgamated “Network UNE” in the early 1990s. Recently, she has been closely involved in the structural reorganisation that has seen the integration of Arts and Sciences into the one Faculty – with a consequent increase in opportunities for interdisciplinary collaboration in teaching and research. At the same time, she played a major role in the University’s process of academic renewal, which included the creation of new degree programs to address the needs of a changing educational, employment, and social environment.

Professor Sedgley said at the farewell that much of the success of the academic renewal process within the Faculty had been “really Wendy’s achievement”. ‘It’s been the culmination of her years at UNE,” she said.

The Hydes are looking forward to travel and recreation in their retirement. They have bought a caravan (and a vehicle to pull it) and are planning an extensive tour of northern Australia next year.

A PHOTOGRAPH of Wendy Hyde (left) and Professor Margaret Sedgley, taken at the farewell function, can be seen by clicking on the image displayed here.