University salutes longest serving staff at 30th Anniversary lunch

May 17, 2019

Bond University’s longest-serving staff swapped stories of secret tunnels and stellar students at a special lunch held in their honour during 30th anniversary celebrations.

The event on May 14 was hosted by Vice Chancellor and President, Professor Tim Brailsford, in the Loggia atop the Arch. Invitees were a mix of staff who had served 25 and 30 years.

Steve Guttormsen, a 30-year veteran, recalled being offered a job as a 24-year-old and arriving to a construction site.

“You could only be invited to come,” Mr Guttormsen said. “There were no jobs advertised.

“At the beginning the law school and the business school were the only buildings open and to get over to the University Centre, because it was a construction site, you had to take a tunnel.

“You had to go subterranean to get over to those buildings.”

Mr Guttormsen began his career at Bond in audio-visual services producing promotional videos for the university but went on teach in film and television.

He is now the Technology & Teaching Support Manager in the Faculty of Society & Design.

“I've had career progression, enjoyed my job and become part of the furniture,” Mr Guttormsen said.

“I've had the opportunity to do some degrees -- I've a Master of Film and Television and I’m completing an MBA --  and my daughter Taylah also attended Bond.

“She was a baby in a pram at my 10-year service ceremony and now she’s about to graduate with a degree in criminal psychology.

“She's now working for Probation and Parole. She did an internship and they snavelled her up before she even graduated.”

Dr Beata Webb, Assistant Professor of Applied Linguistics in the Faculty of Society & Design, said she was proud the university had stayed true to its founding principles.

“I joined the team in the language teaching area and I have just had a fantastic 30 years,” Dr Webb said.

“We have managed to retain the individuality we have always had as a university.

“I think what's changed is the world outside us because those early years were very difficult. People simply did not accept a tertiary institution that would be private and independent.

“I remember going to conferences and people would look at my badge and they would say, 'Oh, you're from Bond? You mean you're still there?’

“Thirty years later we are still here and people don't think the way they did because the landscape has changed, the world has changed."

Dr Webb said it was fulfilling to see her former students thriving around the globe.

“I've had some incredible students over the years and it's wonderful to see what they do now, twenty or thirty years later.

“I have high-ranking diplomats and professors all over the world who used to be my students, so that network is just incredible.

“I've always been able to establish personal relationships with the students, with the staff around here, so it is not just a faceless group.”

Professor of Accounting Keith Duncan has also served for 30 years.

“I'm also an inaugural student,” he said. “I came here originally as a PhD student but they were short-staffed when I arrived, partly because Professor Steven Johnson, the first Dean of the Bond Business School, had passed away.

“I landed, went to a student hall and they said, ‘Well, you're doing your PhD but you're also teaching, and you've got a week and a half to get ready’.

“I had been a lecturer somewhere else but it was still a challenge.

“But I had wanted to get away from the government employee mentality. I wanted to get to something fresh and I thought, ‘I'll give this a bash’.”

Professor Duncan said he still gets a kick of seeing his students succeed.

“You get these emails. They start, ‘You probably don't remember me but...

“And it could be a former student from South Africa or Japan.

“I had a student who studied accounting and philosophy. He worked in the finance industry all around the world and the last contact I had with him, he was on stage in the UK.

“You're a small part of where these students end up.

“I've loved the whole time. We've achieved something and I'm very proud of it.”

New members of the 25-year club this year are Bond Business School Teaching Fellow Neva Maxim and Student Housing Administration Officer Kerry Wells.