June Griffith

June Clare Griffith was not only the first female student to graduate from Chemistry, but she was also among the first cohort of graduates from UNSW, in the 1950's.
After she graduated from undergraduate studies and Masters in Chemistry, she obtained her PhD at another university in 1958, and then worked in Wool Science at CSIRO.
June returned to UNSW School of Chemistry in 1966 as a teaching academic, and was soon appointed the Director of First-Year Teaching in Chemistry. In 1978, she died after a long battle with cancer – she was only 54.
Annually, we award the June Griffith Memeorial Prize to our top performing level 1 Chemistry students to honour this legendary and inspirational teacher. The Faculty also award a June Griffith Fellowship for Academic Women in Leadership to provide support for women in Science.

JG’s Café – just in front of the School of Chemistry, in the Dalton building – is named after June.

Former Head of School, the late Professor Stanely Livingstone, wrote in his A History of the School of Chemistry, UNSW:

"In her position as Director of First Year Classes, Dr Griffith worked continuously long hours, and with great enthusiasm. Her prime concern was the welfare of the students to whom she always referred as 'the paying customers'. The number of First Year students in any one year varied between 1500 and 2000, yet Dr Griffith tried to know each one personally. Her devotion to her position went far beyond what is even regarded as exceptional in a dedicated teacher. In committee she was eloquent in defence of the students, and the teaching aims of the School of Chemistry."

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