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Award of an Honorary Doctorate: Degree of ‘Doctor of Pharmacy honoris causa’ – Mr. Terry White AO

Tuesday, 18th July 2017 – The University of Queensland Faculty of Health & Behavioural Sciences

Graduation Ceremony

Citation by Professor Peter Høj
Vice Chancellor & President – University of Qld


Adjunct Professor Terry White AO is an entrepreneurial pharmacist who has had far-reaching impact as a leader and innovator in business, community service, politics and health care delivery.

Mr White started out in the 1950s as a pharmacist’s apprentice, completed a Certificate of Pharmacy, and bought his first store on Brisbane’s bayside outskirts in 1958.

Today, his name is recognisable across Australia because the Terry White Chemist group, which he founded in 1994 with his wife and fellow UQ alumnus, Rhonda White, is the country’s largest pharmacy franchise network.

It employs more than 10,000 people and offers internships and opportunities to pharmacy students and graduates – including many from UQ.

Through the decades, Mr White has influenced the evolution of the community pharmacy sector and its increasingly sophisticated role in multi-disciplinary health care.

Leading by example as an innovator and early adopter, his focus has been on measures that enhance professionalism and directly benefit community health.

For instance, he helped establish the forerunner of the Australian College of Pharmacy, as a vehicle for professional development and the teaching of business management skills.

He drove the establishment of the Pharmacists Advisory Committee in order to improve rigour in drug scheduling.

And his stores have promoted pharmacy-based clinical services, being among the first in Queensland to offer vaccinations as part of an effort to improve the State’s immunisation rates.

Whilst Mr White has achieved more in pharmacy and business than most accomplish in a lifetime, this has not been his only career.

After returning to formal studies in the 1970s, to undertake a Bachelor of Arts with majors in public administration and economics at The University of Queensland, he entered Queensland Parliament as the Member for Redcliffe.

His decade-long political career included three years as Minister for Welfare Services and a stint as Leader of the Parliamentary Liberal Party.

His extensive record of community service includes co-founding the Australian Liver Foundation and being inaugural Chair of Nudgee College Foundation.

He chaired a legislative review committee that led to the creation of the workers’ compensation scheme that continues to cover most Queensland employees. He then served as Deputy Chairman of WorkCover Queensland.

Today, 60 years after he graduated as a pharmacist, he is Chair of the Metro South Hospital and Health Board in Brisbane.

The many accolades he has received include Officer of the Order of Australia; Queensland Great; Queensland Father of the Year; and Ernst and Young Champion of Entrepreneurship. He is an honorary life member of The Pharmacy Guild and a member of the Queensland Business Leaders Hall of Fame.

Chancellor, I present to you Adjunct Professor Terry White, Officer of the Order of Australia, Certificate in Pharmacy of Brisbane Central Technical College, Bachelor of Arts of this University, Doctor of the University honoris causa of Queensland University of Technology, Fellow of the Australian Institute of Company Directors, and Fellow of the Australian Institute of Management, for the award of Doctor of Pharmacy honoris causa bestowed by the Senate of The University of Queensland.”

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