Mr GEORGE (Lismore) [6.05 p.m.]: On Saturday 28 September I attended a graduation ceremony at Southern Cross University, Lismore, of which the families and friends of the graduates, as well as the university, can be proud. Graduates do not succeed without personal sacrifice and a considerable commitment of time and energy. In most cases it also involves sacrifices by loved ones and families. I congratulate all the graduates and the Southern Cross University on the ceremony. The ceremony was also the inaugural graduation for the newly elected Chair of the Council and the Chancellor, the Hon. Justice John Robert Arthur Dowd, AO, QSJM, LLB (Syd), and the Deputy-Chair of the Council and the Deputy-Chancellor, a well-known local person, Liz Rummery, who is also the chairperson of the Northern Rivers Area Health Service.
One of the highlights of the day was the conferring of an honorary doctorate by the university on Dr Lionel Edward Phelps, AM, BA MEd (Syd), DUuniv (NE), FACE. Dr Phelps has contributed a great deal to the structure of education in New South Wales, especially on the North Coast of New South Wales. The Vice-Chancellor of the university, Professor John Rickard, summed up Dr Phelps' contribution to education in the following terms:
Lionel Phelps was born at Turramurra in Sydney and was educated at Gosford High School and Barker College. After matriculating from secondary school he attended Sydney University and completed a Bachelor of Arts and a Master of Education.
His teaching career has covered positions at many schools in New South Wales and he was promoted to the Principal of Batlow Central School and Inspector of Schools for the Nowra Region. His career in education culminated in him being appointed as Assistant Director and then Director of Education for the North Coast Region. Lionel held this position for six years until his retirement in 1988. Prior to his retirement he was awarded a Fullbright Study Award.
Lionel has held the following positions:
- Member of Council, Northern Rivers College of Advanced Education;
- Chair, Centre of Professional Development in Education at Southern Cross University and formerly the University of New England;
- Deputy Chancellor, the University of New England;
- Member, Ministerial Steering Committee, Coffs Harbour Education Campus;
- Chair, Board of Governors, Coffs Harbour Education Campus;
- Chair, Interim Council, Southern Cross University;
- Deputy Chancellor, Southern Cross University;
- Chancellor of Southern Cross University.
Lionel is Secretary of the National Rotary Bowelscan Committee; member of the Northern Rivers Chapter of First Fleeters; and member of Lismore Council Rainforest and Botanic Gardens Committee.
Lionel was made a Fellow of the Australian College of Education for his work in the professional development of teachers, and he was given the Paul Harris Fellow Award by Rotary International in recognition of his exemplary contribution to the community. A Doctor of the University was conferred on Lionel by the University of New England in 1993. Lionel was made a Member of the Order of Australia for his contribution to education and the community in 2000.
For relaxation, Lionel and his wife Lenore operate a macadamia plantation and shetland pony stud.
Lionel Edward Phelps, you have made a unique contribution to Southern Cross University and the North Coast Region, and you are a very worthy recipient for the award of Doctor of the University.
I would like to place on record as the member for Lismore the electorate's thanks. I am sure I also speak for the honourable member for Coffs Harbour, who was unable to attend the award ceremony. Dr Lionel Phelps has made a significant contribution to education in the north of the State and throughout New South Wales. I am sure that his efforts are appreciated by every member of this House.