A leading Lismore environmentalist, Gordon Fraser-Quick, has been named Southern Cross University’s 2010 Outstanding Alumnus of the Year, while rugby league legend Steve Price has won the Young Alumnus of the Year award.

The awards, presented at a ceremony in Ballina on Friday evening, highlight the significant achievements Southern Cross University graduates are making in a diverse range of fields, both in Australia and internationally.

Seven nominees were in the running for the 2010 Outstanding Alumnus of the Year, and four in the running for the 2010 Young Alumnus of the Year. The awards were presented by the Chancellor The Hon John Dowd AO QC.

Gordon Fraser-Quick is an acclaimed environmental consultant who graduated with a Bachelor of Applied Science in 1995 and a Graduate Diploma of Education in 2003.

As operations manager for the non-profit organisation EnviTE in 1995 and 1996, Gordon designed and co-ordinated environmental repair, rehabilitation and development projects with an annual value of up to $3 million over more than 35 projects across 20 sites.

He has been involved in award-winning integrated waste management services and designed and constructed the world’s largest vermiculture facility.

Integrated with the introduction of kerbside collection of organic waste from every household in the City of Lismore, this facility converts the waste to saleable potting mix and soil conditioner.

Gordon has been recognised through seven community services awards and has been involved in numerous community associations.

He was instrumental in the formative committee of the Northern River Climate Change Collaboration, a model now being repeated in regional centres throughout Australia.

“I am incredibly proud of receiving this award,” a stunned and humble Mr Fraser-Quick told the audience at the awards ceremony.

“Southern Cross University is an organisation that has provided me and other graduates with a way to change not only individual lives but to make a positive impact on the lives of people in communities around the world.

“It has fuelled my passion for environmental science and given me the tools to go out and make a positive difference on the planet.

“I have just returned from China where I am involved in an ambitious project to recycle millions of tonnes of waste plastic and I was surprised how many people in top industry positions knew of Southern Cross University and considered it a leader in environmental science.

“I am proud to be a graduate of Southern Cross University and look forward to a long and ongoing association.”

The 2010 Young Alumnus of the Year was awarded to Steve Price, who graduated with a Master of Business Administration this year.

Steve has had an exceptional career as a rugby league player, playing 313 games in the NRL, 15 Tests for Australia and 28 games for Queensland.

Steve has also been involved in a range of activities focused on providing service back to the community, including the Warriors Against Bullying (WAB) program, which focuses on teaching primary school students anti-bullying skills and enabling them to become positive role models for other students.

He is also involved in the League of Libraries initiative, which aims to enhance literacy levels in primary school children.

Steve, one of the few NRL players to obtain a Masters degree, said he recognised the need for further qualifications to enable him to continue his career when he finishes playing.

“I’d love to be involved in the executive of the National Rugby League but the opportunities in the corporate field of the game are few and you need to be in a position to take them as they arise,” Steve said.

“Qualifications are important for that reason, and also for getting a job in the wider world.

“I owe a huge thanks to Southern Cross University because without their flexible and supportive approach to distance education study, there is no way I could have ever undertaken my degree while maintaining a professional sporting career.

“I hope I can serve as an inspiration to other sports people by showing them that it is indeed possible to get a university-level qualification while still being a competitive player.

“For me, gaining my degree and winning this award will hopefully open the doors to a new career in sport management.

“I have seen plenty of my high-profile mates retire from rugby league thinking they would land a great job and earn as much as they did while playing sport – but they haven’t.

“These days you need a top degree in your back pocket if you want a good job and that is what Southern Cross University has provided me with.

“The degree is very well respected in the industry and that was a big factor in my choosing to study at SCU. Now, to win this award, is very special to me.”

The winners of the Southern Cross University School Alumni awards are:

  • School of Education – Raelene Mordecai, graduated with a Bachelor of Education in 2006 and is now working as a primary school teacher at Casino Public School.
  • School of Environmental Science and Management – Dermot O’Gorman, graduated with an Associate Diploma in Applied Science in 1988 and is now the chief executive officer of the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) Australia.
  • Graduate College of Management – Craig Phillips, graduated with a Master of Business Administration in 2000 and is the secretary-general of the Australian Olympic Committee.
  • School of Health and Human Sciences – four of the proprietors of Goulds Naturopathica are graduates of the Bachelor of Naturopathy. They are Daniel Robson, Dawn Whitten, Jason Hawrelak and Belinda Robson.
  • School of Tourism and Hospitality Management – Anna Guillan, graduated with a Master of Business Administration in Hotel and Management in 2008 and is the executive general manager sales and marketing Hayman and Mulpha Hotels Australia.

PICTURE: From left, Southern Cross University Chancellor The Hon John Dowd AO QC, Young Alumnus of the Year Steve Price, Outstanding Alumnus of the Year Gordon Fraser-Quick, and Vice Chancellor Professor Peter Lee.