From left: Professor John Hay, AC, Premier Anna Bligh and QBI Director Professor Perry Bartlett at the 2007 opening of the Queensland Brain Institute (QBI)
From left: Professor John Hay, AC, Premier Anna Bligh and QBI Director Professor Perry Bartlett at the 2007 opening of the Queensland Brain Institute (QBI)

Professor John Hay has led and inspired thousands of inquiring minds during his time as Vice-Chancellor and President and, in doing so, has helped to build the Smart State.

I have been a member of the Queensland Parliament throughout Professor Hay’s 12-year tenure and have witnessed his visionary dreams taking shape.

Professor Hay has steered our state’s oldest university to greatness.

Under his leadership, UQ was named Australia’s University of the Year by the Good Universities Guide and has become the nation’s most successful university for national teaching awards.

He has overseen the establishment of an impressive number of research centres including the Australian Institute for Bioengineering and Nanotechnology, the Institute for Molecular Biosciences, the Queensland Brain Institute, the Centre for Clinical Research, the Sustainable Minerals Institute and the Centre for Advanced Animal Science.

For me, the magnitude and long-term significance of Professor Hay’s achievements stand out against a backdrop of my personal memories.

So much has changed since I attended The University of Queensland and these changes now help fuel our economy. Deservingly, Professor Hay was awarded a Centenary Medal for contributions to higher education and made a Companion in the Order of Australia.

He is one of Queensland’s greatest ambassadors for education and academic advancement and this was recognised by the Queensland Government through his appointment as an official Smart State\ Ambassador in 2005 and his naming as a Queensland Great in 2007.

Professor John Hay, I thank you and I commend you for your immense contribution to education, research and innovation in Queensland.