Susan Ryan graduated from ANU with a Master of Arts in 1974 and was named Alumna of the Year in 2018. Photo: Lannon Harley 

Susan Ryan graduated from ANU with a Master of Arts in 1974 and was named Alumna of the Year in 2018. Photo: Lannon Harley 

Tribute to a trailblazer

ANU Vice-Chancellor Professor Brian Schmidt pays homage to alumna and anti-discrimination champion Susan Ryan AO.

Susan Ryan achieved many firsts. She was the first woman Senator for the ACT when, as a 33-year-old single parent, she was elected in 1975.

Susan was also the first woman to hold a Cabinet role in a Federal Labor Government, as Minister for Education and Youth Affairs and Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for the Status of Women in the Hawke Government, and later as Special Minister of State. Susan was also Australia's first Age Discrimination Commissioner from 2011-16.