Graduate: Kevin Hogan
Federal Member for Page MP Kevin Hogan swapped the trading floor for playground detention when he took up a teaching post in the late 1990s after completing his teaching degree at Southern Cross University.
The former money market and bond trader and his wife, Karen, had decided to relocate from Sydney to her home town of Lismore to raise their children.
"Working in the money markets was a lot of fun but I didn't necessarily feel like I was contributing much to society. I wanted to be more of service. I had this idea that I wanted to be a high school teacher, which was a huge pay cut," Mr Hogan said.
"I did the dip ed (Diploma of Education) at Southern Cross University in 1998, focusing on social sciences, and got a job straight away at St Mary's High School at Casino and worked there for the next eight or nine years teaching the business studies/commerce stream, and also English and religion. It was a lot of fun. I loved the community in Casino."
Mr Hogan said teachers played an important and influential role.
"Teaching kids is very special. I ended up doing an economics degree because of my high school economics teacher, who was a great teacher."
He said he enjoyed his time at Southern Cross University.
"The graduate diploma in education at SCU was perfect because it was one year. Other dip eds at the time were 18 months. It meant I was studying the course in Lismore which is where we wanted to live, and our children were able to grow up among our extended family.
"When I did my undergraduate economics degree at Flinders University I was young and hung out with a lot of young people. I liked the learning environment at Southern Cross University. It's a regional university with a great diversity of people, more so than what I remember from my undergraduate days.
"I very much got how important the University was to our community, not only to provide educational opportunities to people like me who wanted to live and work in the community, but I realised how economically important the University is to the community. And not just to Lismore, but the whole region."
Karen Hogan also started her career in the financial markets but later switched to nursing which, back then, saw her train through hospital system.
"When Karen decided to further her qualifications she started a nursing degree, via distance education, initially at University of New England-Northern Rivers and later graduated through SCU. So Southern Cross has played an important role in my family, too," he said.
Mr Hogan, a National, has been the federal Member for Page since September 2013. A member of the Finance Select Committee, he brings direct experience working with the Reserve Bank.
"I entered the financial markets in 1985 when deregulation was under way and the Australian dollar had been floated. It was an exciting time. I was managing a multi-million dollar portfolio for Colonial First State, managing staff, and doing a morning SkyNews update on what had happened on the financial markets overnight. I was 23 and 24 years of age.
"One of my roles was dealing with the Reserve Bank every day. They influenced the money supply in the banking system by buying and selling securities and back then they would only do it with six or seven organisations and I worked for one called GIO Securities, an official money market dealer. That taught me a lot about how the Reserve Bank worked and how monetary policy worked."
Mr Hogan reflected on Southern Cross University's 20th anniversary.
"Southern Cross has been a great success story regularly punching above its weight. Yet its real success lies in providing quality education to students from the regions," he said.
"There are always pressures. Higher education is a competitive process and there are challenges. As the federal Member, I'm in constant contact with the Vice Chancellor Professor Peter Lee and a number of others at the University about a whole array of issues."
In March this year, Mr Hogan officially opened the renovations to student common rooms and the advocacy offices at the Lismore campus, funded through the Student Services and Amenities Fee (SSAF).
"Without sounding too political, as a member of the Nationals, especially where we represent the regions, we very much understand regional universities are very different to metropolitan ones. We are very conscious that the SSAF, in country universities, is not political. What SSAF does here is help provide essential services and infrastructure."