Deakin University takes its name from Alfred Deakin, the second Prime Minister of Australia and leader of the movement for Australian federation.
Alfred Deakin (3 August 1856 – 7 October 1919), Australian politician, was a leader of the movement for Australian federation and later the second Prime Minister of Australia. He served in this role for three terms (1903-4, 1905-8 and 1909-10).
In mid-1974 Interim Planning Council members deliberated on a name for the new university before settling on a list of historical figures who had some association with the area. As a born and bred Victorian, with ties to the region, Deakin was selected and forwarded to Victorian Minister of Education Lindsay Thompson for approval. Thompson agreed, and the university was named in September 1974. Deakin has maintained strong links with many descendants of Alfred Deakin, particularly the Brookes and White families who have been generous supporters of the university over many years.
Deakin University now houses the Alfred Deakin Prime Ministeral Library (ADPML), which features exhibits and resources dedicated to the life and achievements of Alfred Deakin, in addition to housing much of Deakin Library's Special Collection.