The Taree Universities Campus now has an Indigenous voice on the board, with the appointment of Pastor Russell Saunders OAM as a member.
"We are so excited to have Russell join the Taree Universities Campus board. His connections will be invaluable for us," Taree Universities Campus (TUC) CEO, Donna Ballard said.
"It is vital for us to have an Indigenous member on the board."
Uncle Russell is ideally situated to become involved in the governance of the non-profit organisation as he works at Taree High School and has contact with with other high schools through the AECG (Aboriginal Education Consultative Group).
Uncle Russell is encouraging young Indigenous people to take up tertiary study, and says he is excited to be on the board.
"It is vital for us to have an Indigenous member on the board."- Donna Ballard, CEO Taree Universities Campus
"It's something I never took lightly," he said.
"With what I know and what I see, and the need that I know is there, I just feel I need to be here so I can give some advice, and some of my knowledge and understanding of how my people think, and what my people need. It's something that's always been in my heart and the timing is right for me to be here.
Dr Alison McIntosh, chair of the board, says the entire board is "absolutely thrilled" that Russell has accepted the appointment.
"Pastor Russell Saunders OAM is so well regarded throughout the community, and he has had a huge role to play, especially in places like Taree High School, in education within the area," she said
Russell has such a tremendous rapport with people and has earned so much respect.- Dr Alison McIntosh, Taree Universities Campus chair
"Russell has such a tremendous rapport with people and has earned so much respect. It's going to be tremendous for us to work with him on the board."
Dr McIntosh said she understands that Taree is the only Regional Universities Centre to have an Indigenous person on the board.
"So we're very happy to be able to sprout that, and I'm sure that what Russell brings will be of tremendous benefit to all of us," she said.