First alumni look back on 25 years of success
Amanda Franey remembers studying the rigours of law on a Friday night in downtown Lismore when all her friends were out enjoying themselves.
It was the early 1990s and Amanda (James, back then) was studying part-time for her Business degree at Southern Cross University, with evening lectures held in the CBD.
“Everyone else was going out and there I was doing company law on a Friday night,” she says, now 25 years after graduating among the first official Southern Cross cohort.
The University is celebrating its 25th anniversary in a variety of ways across the community this year. Amanda and husband Kevin were among alumni guests at a special dinner coinciding with the Lismore Lantern Parade’s 25th anniversary as well.
The Franeys met at University and Kevin is now an Audit & Assurance Partner at Thomas, Noble and Russell (TNR) which was established in Lismore in 1899. TNR has about 80 partners and staff and services clients in NSW, as far away as Broken Hill, and in Queensland, north to Rockhampton.
Kevin also attended Southern Cross University with lifelong friend Sean Radburn, both hailing from Casino, just west of Lismore.
“We have got that Casino connection,” Sean says as he reflects on those original days of Southern Cross, before the internet, social media or Netflix.
Back then, Sean and Kevin might have just been to the cinema to see Forrest Gump, hummed along to Crash Test Dummies as they drove in the car, cheered on as the Raiders beat the Bulldogs in the NRL grand final and pondered over Prime Minister Paul Keating’s tax reforms.
“It was the golden years,” says Sean. “Great community feel. You knew everybody and everybody looked after you,” he said.
Sean also met his wife at Southern Cross. Megan Donnelly was then studying nursing. Sean has since gone on to add a law degree to his Southern Cross Bachelor of Business and is now a partner at Somerville, Laundry and Lomax in Lismore.
The four alumni are part of the fabric of Southern Cross University that has added layers of expertise and experience to the Northern Rivers community over the last 25 years.