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USC to award Folk Festival leader

The man who for more than 30 years has led a team of staff and volunteers to deliver one of the world’s biggest folk festivals will become an Honorary Senior Fellow of the University of the Sunshine Coast.

Bill Hauritz is the Executive Director of the Queensland Folk Federation, a not-for-profit organisation that produces the Woodford Folk Festival over six days and six nights every December.

He will receive the honorary award at USC’s Graduation Ceremony from 3pm on Thursday 1 October. Media are welcome to attend.

His vision and commitment helped transform the original 1987 event at the Maleny Showgrounds into an internationally-renowned festival featuring more than 2,400 performers in 25 venues on 200 hectares of parkland called Woodfordia.

An aggregate attendance of 120,000 people a year visit the celebration of music, arts, dance, circus, comedy, education and children’s activities, with the organisers also investing heavily in site rehabilitation and sustainable practices to minimise environmental impact.

“The humbling thing about this award is that it’s presented to me,” he said. “As the Festival Director, I’m taking the credit for the inspirational and hard-working people past and all around me. It will be on their behalf that I’ll be accepting this award.”

Mr Hauritz said his dedication to the community was a privilege. “It’s great to get up in the morning to work on a project that can make the planet just a little better.”

His links with USC have been personal and professional. His son Tom has a USC business degree and the QFF’s Deputy General Manager Kim Pengelly is also a USC business graduate.

The festival has worked with interns, graduates and researchers on studies ranging from climate change adaptation to GIS mapping. A recent partnership is providing even more students and staff with research and educational opportunities.

“USC is very serious and ambitious about education and the staff are so professional and so eager in what they’re doing,” Mr Hauritz said. “Innovation and environment are the key words in a new world and USC is a beacon for our futures.”

USC will award a second Honorary Senior Fellow on Thursday 1 October. Retired auditor Phil Procopis, whose work for the Criminal Justice Commission was among his career highlights, will receive the accolade at the 10am Graduation Ceremony.

Mr Procopis played an instrumental role as a foundation member of USC’s Audit and Risk Management Committee from 2003 to 2011.

His three terms provided experience and insight while improving accountability and performance across the University, including developing a transparent terms of reference, audit and assurance strategy.

He said he had enjoyed the opportunity to serve a smaller university that was innovative, enthusiastic and growing, and appreciated the recognition for work that historically went unrecognised.

— Julie Schomberg

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