10 December 1998

High achievers at UQ Gatton College graduations

Graduands from the faculties of Natural Resources, Agriculture and Veterinary Science and Business, Economics and Law will receive their degrees at University of Queensland graduation ceremonies at Gatton College on December 11 held at 2pm and 4pm at Gatton College.

Suzanne Robertson (bachelor of applied science (rural technology) graduate) will deliver the student valedictorian address at the 2pm ceremony while Kristy Kavanagh (bachelor of business graduate) will deliver the speech at the 4pm ceremony.

Leading environmentalist and the main campaigner behind Fraser Island receiving World Heritage listing, Mr Sinclair (telephone 02 9817 4660) will speak at the 2pm ceremony. The senior vice-president - Australia and general manager of Conrad Jupiters on the Gold Coast Grant Bowie (telephone 07 5592 1133) addressing students at the 4pm ceremony.

Mr Bowie joined Conrad Jupiters on the Gold Coast as casino controller in 1987 and was soon promoted to financial controller and then to the position of director of finance in 1988. A decade later, he reached his current position of senior vice-president - Australia and general manager .

He began his career in chartered accounting in his home country of New Zealand before taking up a position with Arthur Andersen in Brisbane in 1983.

Showing an interest in hospitality and the gaming industry, he was transferred to the firm's Los Angeles office, becoming involved with a number of gaming operators in Las Vegas and Reno including Harrah's, Circus Circus, Peppermill Inns and Casinos and Hilton Hotels Corporation.

On returning to Australia, Mr Bowie worked on the opening of Conrad Jupiters on the Gold Coast and Sheraton Breakwater in Townsville. He was also involved with special assignments such as the Sydney Casino bid, the introduction of machine-gaming to Victoria and preliminary investigations for the Christmas Island Casino/Resort.

Mr Bowie is currently vice-president of the Australian Casino Association and a director on the Gold Coast Events Co Pty Ltd Board, which operates the Gold Coast Indy in partnership with IMG. He is also a member of the Tourism Council Australia (National Board), the Federal Government's Tourism Forecasting Council and Queensland's Responsible Gambling Advisory Committee.

Graduates of interest include the following
o Joseph (Phil) Gardner (telephone 07 3201 2651 or 07 3202 0252) has come a long way from driving forklifts and trucks in his native English town of Lancaster.
He had not envisaged when leaving school at 16 that he would complete a degree at the University of Queensland 15 years later.
Mr Gardner will be among the first batch of students to graduate with a bachelor of applied science (protected area management) having already completed a two-year associate diploma (wilderness reserves and wildlife management) in 1997.
His parents Peter and Marian have come from England to see him graduate.

Mr Gardner, who plans to do honours in the degree next year, said he fell in love with Australia's natural beauty during a working holiday in 1991. He met his partner, Robyn James, of Brisbane, while they were both working in Salzburg, Austria. After two years working and travelling around Europe they moved to Brisbane where Mr Gardner applied for Australian residency.

Mr Gardner said while he was at first a little concerned about being a mature-age student, the mix of ages of people studying for the degree had ended up being an extremely positive aspect. He said the course was also a good mix of the practical and theoretical with sections on tractor-driving and chainsaw-use as well as park planning, environmental law and public administration

o Steve Beaman (telephone 07 5462 4535) left behind seven years working as a correctional officer at the Lotus Glen Correctional Centre in North Queensland to study for a bachelor of applied science (protected area management). Mr Beaman and his wife Janice, who have four boys aged less than seven, moved from a hobby farm on the Atherton Tableland to Gatton in late 1995 to enable him to study.

In the final semester of his course, Mr Beaman decided to do something about the "near misses" reported by cycling staff and students using the busy Laidley-Gatton Road to travel the 5km between the township and the campus. With the support of the University he lobbied for a cycleway. A preliminary report on his proposal has been favourably received by Gatton Shire Council.

The dangers of negotiating the 100km/h stretch of road, used by 3500 vehicles a day, has stopped Mr Beaman from cycling during his stay in Gatton. However, he says the limited budget of many students makes cycling a viable option. "There are two major crossings on the road and limited space for cyclists," he said. "The idea is to be proactive, rather than be reactive after someone is killed or injured."

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