From Murdoch student to Zoo CEO

May 5, 2017

Perth Zoo CEO Susan Hunt was one of Murdoch Uni's foundation students.

Perth Zoo Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Susan Hunt’s close connection with Murdoch began as one of the University’s foundation students in 1975.

Appointed to head Western Australia’s zoo in 2004, the Murdoch alumnus’s distinguished career has seen her ascend to be one of the State’s most respected leaders.

Throughout that time, she has remained close to her alma mater, most recently working alongside Murdoch University conservation experts to save native wildlife.

“In my role as CEO of Perth Zoo, I am proud to have continued strong links with the University, said Ms Hunt.

“We collaborate on a ground-breaking project regarding WA’s endangered cockatoos to establish whether those that are injured and require rehabilitation can be successfully released and thrive in the wild. Excitingly, the data is showing that they can!

“Being a modern conservation zoo, Perth Zoo has many collaborative projects with Murdoch University, including hosting multiple Murdoch PhD students to advance wildlife knowledge and advances in conservation medicine.”

Ms Hunt developed a fascination with early Western Australian (WA) history during her school years and followed this passion at Murdoch through the inspirational teachings of WA’s most eminent historian, the late Professor Geoffrey Bolton.

“I attended the Fremantle Community School and thanks to its research-based approach, I had become very interested in history, particularly early Western Australian history and contact history between Aboriginal people and the first European settlers.

“So my natural fit was Murdoch’s history program, in what was then called the School of Social Inquiry.

“I studied with Professor Geoffrey Bolton, Murdoch’s Foundation Professor of History.”

During her time at Murdoch, Ms Hunt was among the founding members of Murdoch University’s Student Guild.

“As for most people going to university straight out of school, Murdoch represented an opening up of the world for me,” said Ms Hunt. “There was so much to learn!

“Murdoch University represented a fresh approach to university education, so I certainly didn’t hesitate to choose Murdoch.

“It was new, innovative, with great teaching and a research focus. The expertise and credentials of the academics were extraordinary.

“I was also active in Murdoch’s early student politics as a member of the first Student Guild, so I learnt a lot about that side of life as well.

“Murdoch offered great opportunities at that time in ‘Independent Study Programs’ which meant that I could do some detailed archive research, which I loved.”

After graduating from Murdoch with an Honours Degree in History, Ms Hunt continued to further her education.

She said: “I went on to study at other universities – University of Western Australia and the University of California, Santa Cruz.

“The passion for history continued, with my Honours thesis being a study of European-Aboriginal Labour relations in the WA North, using a case study of an outspoken 19th Century Missionary, John Brown Gribble.

“I then went on to research and write about women’s experiences in WA’s North during the 19th century and this was published as a book, ‘Spinifex and Hessian’ published by UWA Press.”

Murdoch’s global alumni network is growing. We continue to forge lifelong relationships that forge an inextricable bond between students and alumni.

Relationships are the cornerstone of building a strong foundation for success.

Murdoch University is proud to count Ms Hunt among our valued alumni, through a connection spanning more than 42 years.

All the latest news from Murdoch University can be read here.

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Media contact: Pepita Smyth
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