Curtin Sarawak: Looking forward to another ten great years

Dr. Joan Gribble and Dr. John Evans (left & right, foreground) planting tree to mark start of a new decade of innovation and excellence for Curtin Sarawak.

Miri – 4 March 2010 – Curtin University of Technology, Sarawak Malaysia (Curtin Sarawak) is set to attain greater heights over the next ten great years following a highly-successful first decade which brought the Malaysian campus of Curtin University of Technology from relative obscurity to the forefront of private tertiary institutions in the region.

This aspiration was expressed by Pro Vice-Chancellor Professor Dr. John Evans and his deputy, Professor Dr. Joan Gribble, during a tree-planting ceremony on the campus grounds to kick off a new decade of innovation and excellence recently.

Dr. Evans remarked that the aptly-dubbed ‘New Horizon Tree’ will stand as a symbol of Curtin Sarawak’s continued dynamism and growth into the new decade.

“Just as this tree edges skywards, we will continue to aim for new horizons. Curtin aims to be positioned among the top 20 universities in Asia by 2020 and Curtin Sarawak has a crucial role to play in fulfilling that vision,” he said.

The simple ceremony was witnessed by a number of senior academics and professional staff of the university.

Echoing Dr. Evans’ sentiments, Dr. Gribble said Curtin Sarawak has seen tremendous progress in a span of just ten years. From humble beginnings operating at a temporary campus with just over 200 Malaysian students in 1999, it now occupies a sprawling garden campus in Senadin with close to 3,000 students from 40 countries.

“The achievements of our academics and students, particularly the numerous awards they have won, the advances they have made in research and in teaching and learning, and the local and international conferences they have organised, are nothing short of astounding. They inspire the university as a whole to strive for even greater heights,” added Dr. Gribble.

Curtin Sarawak’s first ten years saw many significant milestones, including commencement of its first semester, election of its first student council, appointment of its first pro vice-chancellor and its first Foundation graduation in 1999. The ground-breaking for its permanent campus by then Minister of Education Dato’ Sri Mohd. Najib Tun Abdul Razak was also held in October that year.

The year 2000 saw formal recognition of Curtin Sarawak by the Ministry of Education as the first foreign university branch campus in Malaysia, and in the following year, Curtin Sarawak was the first private university branch campus to be awarded Multimedia Super Corridor (MSC) status by the Malaysian Government.

On 23 September 2002, the new campus was officially opened by Chief Minister Pehin Sri Haji Abdul Taib bin Mahmud in the presence of Western Australia Minister of Education, Indigenous Affairs and Sports and Recreation Alan Carpenter and Dato Sri Mohd. Najib Tun Abdul Razak, who was then Defence Minister of Malaysia.

In 2004, Curtin Sarawak had its first degree graduation for 308 commerce and engineering degree graduates. Notable among them was the first batch of 15 engineering graduates, most of whom started their study programmes in the pioneering year of 1999.

The highlight of 2006 was the ground-breaking for the university’s ambitious Phase 2 infrastructural project by Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Dr. George Chan Hong Nam. The project, the first phase of which was completed in 2009, will be Curtin Sarawak’s largest infrastructural development by far, encompassing new campus buildings, housing, commercial and recreational facilities.

Another milestone was reached in 2008 when Curtin Sarawak held its inaugural Diploma Conferment Ceremony for its pioneer batch of 43 diploma graduates. 26 graduated with Diplomas of Process Plant Technology (Oil Industry) and 17 with Diplomas of Business.

Curtin Sarawak marked its tenth anniversary on 4 April 2009 with a grand celebration event in its new Recreation & Event Centre, which included the official opening of the new Phase 2 infrastructure and the Sarawak State Government-funded Miri BioPark project by Chief Minister Pehin Sri Haji Abdul Taib bin Mahmud.

The first phase of the state-of-the-art bio-technology park on a 10-acre site on the Curtin Sarawak campus is scheduled for completion in 2011. Developed by the State Ministry of Industrial Development in partnership with Curtin University of Technology, it will house the Curtin Sarawak Research Institute and facilitate biotechnological research for industrial applications in Sarawak.

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