It was a bold but simple plan: convince a travelling circus to lend you a fully-grown elephant for the day to win a university scavenger hunt.
It might sound unlikely now, the stuff of campus folklore, but in 1976 the elephant arrived at the University of Canberra.
Back then the Bruce campus was less than a decade old, not yet a university and known as the Canberra College of Advanced Education.
Still its annual scavenger hunt had already become something of a steadfast student tradition, as teams tried to outdo each other by rustling up their own "wild card" addition to the list. Over the years, those mystery items had included everything from the college principal's door to the rival Australian National University's shuttle bus. An international incident was narrowly avoided when the Russian ambassador's car was collected from campus in one piece.
But a fully-grown elephant, "on loan" from a visiting circus, was expected to be the biggest prize yet.
According to the university, students dangled the promise of media coverage (which never eventuated) during negotiations with the circus.
Retired public servant Mike Salloom was among the very first cohort of students at the college in 1968, but denies all involvement in such pranks.
"I didn't take part in too much mischief, but I heard about it," he said.
This week, to mark the college's 50th anniversary, UC has invited its alumni back on campus to "re-graduate" in a historic ceremony.
About 50 college alumni will join more than 800 current students donning their robes for graduation.
"I'm not sure what to expect but I think I'll see a few familiar faces," Mr Salloom said.
Like most of his fellow students in that first class ("there weren't many"), Mr Salloom was already in the public service, studying public administration part-time while working at the Australian Bureau of Statistics. He graduated in 1973, having made the move down from a tiny town up north into the full blast of a Canberra winter.
"That was a shock to the system," he said. "But I met my wife here and we've lived here ever since."
In 1969, the brand new Bruce campus opened to students.
"We were the first people to use those shiny desks," Mr Salloom said. "But there were so few buildings back then, the wind would come screaming down through them, up on that barren hill."
The university's blossoming culture was equally fresh, he said, as lecturers pushed new and progressive theories of management, a world away from the then hierarchical traditions of the public service.
"We were learning about ideas like cybernetics and behavioural models, the concept of teamwork, that was completely new back then."
On Tuesday night, 45 years after he was first handed his degree, Mr Salloom will receive an updated qualification, this time branded with the University of Canberra name.
The certificates will be largely symbolic as the university is not "upgrading" degrees, a spokesman confirmed.
As for the infamous elephant prank, students later reported the animal's arrival was made even more surreal as most of them had been up all night at a concert and a movie marathon.
"While it hasn't been confirmed we would like to think that team elephant won the scavenger hunt," a university spokesman said.
Know more wild stories from Canberra's quirky past? Get in touch: firstname.lastname@example.org