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Tourism executive and magistrate share Alumnus of the Decade Award


27 April 2004
Tourism executive Geoff Beames and Magistrate David Heilpern have been proclaimed as joint winners of Southern Cross University’s Alumnus of the Decade Award.

The winners – chosen from nominations across all University schools - were announced by the Chancellor, The Honourable Justice John Dowd, AO, at a special dedication ceremony to open the University’s new Alumni Court on Saturday April 24.

Mr Beames graduated with a Masters in International Tourism in 1996 and Magistrate Heilpern graduated with his Masters of Laws by Research in 1998, having submitted his thesis entitled `Punishment Without Sanction: Sexual Assault of Young Adult Prisoners in New South Wales’.

Deputy Chairman of The Wine Lodges Group which is investigating the development of resorts in Australian wine regions, Mr Beames has held board memberships on a wide range of public and private companies, covering airlines, tourism, travel, hospitality, merchant banking and rural development.

Since graduating, Mr Beames has given willingly of his time to SCU. He was an invited speaker in the School's undergraduate Guest Lecture series in 2001, was a presenter in the joint School of Tourism and Hospitality Management (STHM)–Pacific Asia Travel Association Tourism Executive Development Programme in 2002, and was a panel member at the 2003 Council for Australian University Tourism and Hospitality Education conference hosted by the STHM.

He has also been instrumental in helping to establish an Industry Advisory Board for the School of Tourism and Hospitality Management. This has included identifying key individuals in the industry as well actively looking for sponsorships and partnerships.

Mr Heilpern’s book `Fear or Favour: Sexual Assault of Young Prisoners’ has been hailed as the first book in the world on sexual assault of prisoners.

In the United States, the book was referred to in Congress and the Senate, and was the only book included in submissions for what was to become a bipartisan, unanimous bill in both houses to reduce prison rape.

Mr Heilpern’s work has led to many concrete changes in prisons including the introduction of condoms and a restructuring of prison classification within Australia.

Formerly a senior lecturer at the University’s Law School, in 1998 Mr Heilpern became one of the youngest magistrates ever appointed in New South Wales, initially based at Dubbo where he made several landmark decisions concerning the use of arrest powers by police as a means of dealing with Indigenous people.

Mr Heilpern sits on the Chief Magistrate’s Education Committee and in this role undertakes educational activities at magistrates’ conferences, including lectures and presentations. He is a member of the Magistrates’ Institute of New South Wales, the Australian Association of Magistrates and is a New South Wales representative of the Australian Judicial Conference.

He is currently posted at Batemans Bay, on the south coast of New South Wales, covering a circuit as far south as Eden. His work in this area includes criminal, civil, coronial, environmental, family, children’s, industrial and liquor licensing matters.

Mr Heilpern is a member of the Southern Cross University Law School Advisory Council and has returned to the University regularly to conduct staff seminars, lectures and open forums.

Justice Dowd said the decision had not been an easy one.

“The nominees were indeed a prestigious group of graduates who have not only demonstrated outstanding academic achievement, but have also made a distinguished contribution in many fields both to University life and the life of their communities,” he said.

Pic Caption: Southern Cross University’s joint Alumnus of the Decade Magistrate David Heilpern (left) and tourism executive Geoff Beames (right) are pictured with the Chancellor, the Honourable Justice John Dowd, following the announcement