Meet the Alumni Advisory Committee

The AAC represents the University of Newcastle's body of convocation by providing advice on University strategy, policy and activities affecting UON alumni.

The Alumni Advisory Committee is a group established by the University of Newcastle Act and bound by the Rules governing Convocation (PDF, 133KB)

Members of the AAC are elected by UON alumni at the Annual General Meeting (AGM) of Convocation. The 2018 AGM will be held in December.  All members of convocation are eligible to nominate and vote.

To read the 2017 AAC President's Report please click here.

The 2018 Alumni Advisory Committee Members are:


Murray Evans

Acting President

Bachelor of Commerce 1987

As a proud graduate of The University of Newcastle and a member of the Alumni Advisory Committee (AAC) for the past two years, Murray has now taken up the role as the AAC Acting President.  Murray brings with him a strong business background with nearly 20 years of experience in global professional service firms, and as a current Partner at Pricewaterhouse Coopers. Murray is committed to using this wealth of knowledge to serve his local community, and the alumni body of UON.


Belinda Smith

Past President

Master of Business Administration 2008

In her current role as Past President of The University of Newcastle Alumni Advisory Committee (AAC), Belinda works closely with her AAC peers to continue to build a strong voice for alumni locally, nationally and globally. Belinda is also a Project Manager with The Samaritans Foundation. She has vast experience with a variety of community and volunteer roles. Her professional expertise includes strategic business growth, leadership and change facilitation.


Stephen Barr

Stephen Barr

Master of Business 2015

Bachelor of Surveying 1998

Stephen is a local business owner and Director of Barr Planning and Property. Stephen has worked in the development industry since 1992, coming from a surveying background, and has a strong understanding of the local business community in Newcastle. Along with being a businessman, Stephen is also thecurrent Chair of the NSW Committee for Compass Housing - just one of the ways in which he is serving his community.


James Callender

James Callender

Bachelor of Commerce 2014

James is a solutions-focussed professional with skills in stakeholder engagement, sales and marketing, operations, project management and corporate finance. He is currently Acquisition Manager at nib Health Funds where he manages the sales, operations and relationships associated with the nib complementary insurance portfolio.

James has been a member of the UON Alumni Advisory Committee since 2014He is a strong advocate for engaging recent graduates and young professionals in the alumni community. James is also Immediate Past President of Hunter Young Professionals and a member of Surf Life Saving Australia.


Ben Cowburn 2

Ben Cowburn

Master of Workplace Health And Safety 2016

Bachelor of Biotechnology 2010

After completing his studies at the University of Newcastle in 2010, Ben has gained over six years of experience in the medical and pharmaceutical manufacturing industry. He is currently the Quality Assurance & Safety Manager for Logikal Health Products and has also served the University in supervising placement students studying within the B.Biotechnology program. Ben is also currently completing a second Masters degree within the field of Public Health.


Penny Curran-Peters

Bachelor of Arts / Graduate Diploma Education

A Novocastrian by birth and education, Penny has always looked for opportunities to return to the Hunter Valley and family.  After 25 years Penny returned to the region with her family.  Penny was a student of the University of Newcastle as was her husband, both her parents and her eldest daughter is a current student. Penny is looking forward to serving the interests of the University as well as bringing expertise from the education sector to inform decision-making and strategy.  Penny is passionate about the cultivation of an education with having, and the exciting futures that spring from such an education.


Ziah Elliott

Ziah Elliott

Bachelor of Laws 2015 / Diploma in Legal Practice 2015

Bachelor of Business 2012

After completing her studies, Ziah worked with local businesses, community and not for profits, before returning to UON to work as a governance professional in the Chancellor’s Division. Actively engaged in the UON community since her undergraduate days, she volunteered as a mentor, paralegal at the University Legal Centre, organised community conferences and represented UON at the United Nations Australia Conference. Now studying a Masters of Law and Human Resources, Ziah is committed to connecting with, and advocating for the broader alumni community.


Bhavi Ravindran

Michael Halverson

Diploma Applied Science - Medical Radiation Technology; MBA

Michael has lived in Newcastle for most of his life and is an alumni of the University completing his diploma in 1994.  Michael is proud of the continued growth and prosperity of our city and believes he can make a difference by working for the benefit and engagement of all alumni. Currently Michael is the General Manager of Hunter Radiology, a private practice with three local offices.  Michael supports the University of Newcastle and the School of Medicine by providing clinical placements for students and providing support and mentoring. Michael will be able to provide a vast amount of knowledge and experience.


Kate Hetherington

Kate Hetherington

Bachelor of Business 2011

Bachelor of Commerce 2011

After completing her studies with The University of Newcastle, Kate worked for three years within the University, as part of the Office of Alumni and Philanthropy. This experience gave her a great knowledge of, and commitment to, the world of Alumni. Kate also has a wealth of experience and knowledge gained from working in a number of Newcastle’s largest organisations, currently employed as a Business Analyst with nib Health Funds.


James Tocci

Jennifer Leslie

Bachelor of Commerce 1988

Jennifer is an experienced non-executive and executive director in the financial services and not for profit sectors.  She has held senior roles in top tier accounting firm, PricewaterhouseCoopers and is currently the Director of Wealth Management for Pitcher Partners (a top ten national account, auditing and advisory firm).

Jennifer has a strong understanding of corporate governance, risk management and legislative compliance with a high level of financial literacy and strong skills in financial management and commerciality with a focus on results.  Jennifer has an excellent knowledge of financial services, superannuation and taxation regulatory regimes.


Neil Morpeth

Neil Morpeth

Doctor of Philosophy (Classics) 1988

Neil has had a long career of working and teaching at The University of Newcastle. As an Associate Professor in the Centre for English Language and Foundation Studies. Neil has gained a great knowledge of the University's' students, and its alumni, and is interested in building links with our alumni not only locally, but nationally and internationally.


Meg Purser

Meg Purser

Bachelor of Arts (Communication Studies) 1993

Meg has served as a member of the Alumni Advisory Committee for the past two years and is starting a new term in 2017. She is a strong advocate for the University and the role it has in providing quality academic teaching and research research. Meg is the Managing Director of the specialist public relations firm, Purser Corporate Communication. She has a strong media relations and issue management background and has also served as a part-time and guest lecturer in Public Relations at UON and Hunter TAFE.


Daniel Rampling

Daniel Rampling

Bachelor of Laws / Diploma In Legal Practice 2003

Bachelor Of Arts 2001

Daniel has been working in the Hunter region for the majority of his career and has a strong connection to Newcastle/Hunter area. Having worked in the local business community after completing his degree, Daniel is now a member of staff at The University of Newcastle, working as Senior Legal Counsel. Daniel hopes to incorporate his knowledge both of the local business community and of the University itself to serve the UON alumni body through the AAC.


Chad Watson

Chad Watson

Bachelor of Arts (Communication Studies) 1993

Chad is a proud graduate of The University of Newcastle and has served as a part-time academic and University adviser since finishing his degree. He also serves on various committees, forums and boards within the wider Community. Currently employed as the Group Managing Editor (Newcastle/Hunter) for Fairfax Media, Chad hopes to draw on his own professional experience and ties within the community to serve UON alumni. Chad is also involved across media, business, innovation, sport and not-for-profit sectors throughout the Hunter region.