Awards recognise outstanding alumni

Published 12 September 2016

Award-winning songwriter Phil Barton and a leader in NSW education David Silcock have been named joint recipients of Southern Cross University’s Outstanding Alumnus of the Year award for 2016.

The Young Alumnus of the Year award was presented to Lauren Milledge, a tourism professional with the National Rugby League.

The Alumni of the Year Awards, held on Friday night in Ballina, recognise and celebrate the outstanding achievements and service of the University’s alumni to their community or profession.

David Silcock graduated with a Master of Education from Southern Cross University in 2016, and was placed on the Dean’s Honours list for notable achievement for his research project. David is a Principal, School Leadership, at the NSW Department of Education and Communities, working with other school principals across NSW in the development of their leadership and workplace capabilities. He has been awarded a NSW Secondary Principal Council Distinguished Service Award and was the inaugural winner of the North Coast Secondary Principals Councils’ Principal Award.

David was instrumental in the creation of the North Coast Initiative for School Improvement (NCISI), a research project involving 83 school leaders from the Far North Coast region of NSW, colleagues in Alberta, Canada and staff from Southern Cross University.

“This award is recognition of this collaboration as much as anything. I am so happy for the team of people I have been working with at SCU and the high schools, primary schools and central Schools from Grafton to the Queensland border,” David said.

“This award is also a wonderful affirmation of the power of education in our communities. It is great to be recognised in the company of a group of really talented, innovative and impressive people who are all having a positive impact on people around them. That’s what education is all about, making a contribution back in our communities.”

Phil Barton, who was attending the Canadian Music Awards on the night, graduated with a Bachelor of Arts, majoring in Contemporary Music in 1995. Eight years ago Phil moved from Sydney to Nashville, in the United States. He now writes for Liz Rose Music and Warner/Chappell Music. Prior to moving to the US, Phil was a member of the two-times ARIA nominated children’s music band The Flower Pot Gang, and wrote and produced 87 children’s music records for the ABC for Kids music label.

In 2015, Phil’s song A Woman Like You, as performed by Lee Brice, was a US number one hit, and was recently certified by music rights organisation BMI as having achieved one million plays. In 2016, Phil was awarded an APRA International Recognition Award. He has helped pave the way for other Australian songwriters in Nashville.

Lauren Milledge, who graduated from Southern Cross University with a Bachelor of Business in Convention and Event Management in 2010, received the 2016 Young Alumnus of the Year award.

Lauren started her career in event management with the Parramatta Leagues Club. After a stint working in London from 2011-2012, she returned to Australia as business development executive with Sydney Showground. It was during this role that Lauren was awarded the Richard Geddes Young Achiever Award at the 2014 Exhibition and Event Association of Australasia (EEAA) Awards for Excellence. In Lauren’s current role, as hospitality and engagement lead with the National Rugby League, she is involved with White Ribbon, a national campaign which aims to prevent domestic violence against women.

Southern Cross University Vice Chancellor Professor Peter Lee said there were more than 60,000 alumni spread across the globe.

“Our alumni are an incredible asset and we are extremely proud of the contribution they are making to their communities and in their chosen fields. I congratulate all the nominees and recipients,” Professor Lee said.

The recipients of the School Alumnus of the Year awards were:
Phil Barton, School of Arts and Social Sciences; Monique Harmer, School of Business and Tourism; David Silcock, School of Education; Tristan Sloan, School of Environment, Science and Engineering; Professor Desley Hegney, School of Health and Human Sciences; and Donna Sewell, School of Law and Justice.

Photo: Professor Peter Lee with the 2016 Young Alumnus of the Year Lauren Milledge and the 2016 Outstanding Alumnus of the Year David Silcock.

Media contact: Brigid Veale head of Communications and Publications Southern Cross University, 66593006 or 0439 680 748.