Mr Coulter was one of eight nominees for the award, presented at today’s graduation ceremonies at the Lismore campus.
The award recognises Mr Coulter’s outstanding service to the community and the University, his creativity, innovation and exceptional leadership skills.
Mr Coulter graduated with a Bachelor of Business from Southern Cross University in 1998. As general manager of Ballina RSL Club, he played a vital role in establishing the Memorandum of Understanding between the University, Ballina Shire Council and Ballina RSL. Mr Coulter also instigated an annual Ballina RSL Club Scholarship, valued at $15,000, for a student in the Bachelor of Business in Tourism Management course.
He has received a number of industry awards on behalf of Ballina RSL Club for business excellence and is a strong supporter of his staff in their pursuit of educational and career goals.
He has also shown a strong commitment to supporting individuals and groups within the community.
Southern Cross University Vice-Chancellor Professor Paul Clark said Mr Coulter demonstrated tremendous leadership and was a great asset for the community.
“He has played a critical role in strengthening the links between the University, the RSL Club and Ballina Shire Council and is a strong supporter of education in the workplace,” Professor Clark said.
“I congratulate him, and all the other nominees. We are extremely lucky at Southern Cross University to have such a high calibre of graduates who contribute greatly to the region.”
The Alumnus of the Year award, first introduced in 2004, celebrates what can be achieved with a Southern Cross University education. Alumni are selected according to leadership, stimulation of new ideas and services in their field, innovation and creativity, dedication and community service.
The other nominees for the Alumnus of the Year 2006 were: Matthew Brearley, Dr Leslie Burnett, Mercia Fernandes, Sam Hawksley, Glenn Jeffery, Allan Jones and Glen Mylne.
Mr Coulter said he was both stunned and humbled to receive the award. “It was a total surprise,” he said. “I was just thrilled to have been nominated and I really didn’t expect to win. I thought every nominee would have made a worthy winner.”
Education should be a lifelong journey, said Mr Coulter, who enrolled at Southern Cross University when he was 40, after studying club management at Ryde Technical College in the late 1970s.
“Before going to University I was busy building my career and gaining experience managing large metropolitan clubs in NSW and Queensland but I could see the value of a University education as a way of taking my career forward,” he said.
“Now I am able to apply the theoretical components from the courses I studied in everyday, practical ways. University study gives you the skills you need to fulfil your own objectives and I am always searching for opportunities for my staff to pursue further education, too.”
Caption: Alumnus of the Year Bill Coulter, general manager of Ballina RSL Club, with his wife, Maureen, daughter Jemma, 17 and son, Ben, 14 after the award ceremony.
Media contact: Zoe Satherley Southern Cross University media officer, 6620 3144, 0439 132 095.