Vice-Chancellor Professor Paul Greenfield . . . UQ will always be the people's university
Vice-Chancellor Professor Paul Greenfield . . . UQ will always be the people's university
3 June 2010

The University of Queensland scooped the pool when Premier Anna Bligh announced the prestigious Queensland Greats Awards today.

UQ was named as a "Queensland Great" at a ceremony in the Roma St Parklands , and in addition, all five individual recipients of the awards have connections with the University.

The Vice Chancellor, Professor Paul Greenfield, said he was honoured to accept the award on behalf of the 180,000 graduates and the numerous staff who have worked at UQ since its inception a century ago.

Professor Greenfield said when UQ opened for classes in 1911, it had 83 students and a £10,000 budget. It was established as "the people's university" of Queensland.

A century later, UQ has 40,000 students from more than 130 countries, and budget of approximately $1.3 billion.

"It has established a national and global presence but it is still a people's university," the Vice Chancellor said.

"The students and staff of UQ, along with many friends and supporters, have made UQ the great institution that it is today.

"UQ will always remain a university for the people," he said.

Premier Bligh said Queensland Greats were individuals and institutions whose achievements had played a significant role in Queensland's history and development.

"This is a prestigious award given to those Queenslanders who are an inspiration to us all and I congratulate the 2010 Greats on their achievements," Ms Bligh said.

In its Centenary year, UQ joins a small and select list of only four other institutions that have been named as "Queensland Greats" over the life of the awards: Blue Care (2009), the Royal Flying Doctor Service, Queensland section (2008) Surf Life Saving Queensland (2007) and Mater Misericordiae Health Services (2006).

The individual winners announced yesterday were:

Sir Llew Edwards, who had made valuable contributions to the field of education in his long-standing role as UQ Chancellor from 1993 to 2009, Ms Bligh said.

This was in addition to the lasting international impact from the wildly successful World Expo 88 in Brisbane, of which Sir Llew was in charge, and his earlier roles as Deputy Premier and Treasurer.

Professor Michael Good, AO, the director of the Queensland Institute of Medical Research and a conjoint Professor in Population Health in the UQ Faculty of Health Sciences was honoured for his lifelong commitment to helping to "prevent disease and improving the treatment of those who are sick".

Ms Bligh said Professor Good had pioneered the development of vaccines for malaria and streptococcus A, which causes rheumatic fever and rheumatic heart disease and afflicts large numbers of indigenous Australians.

Dr James Edward (Eddie) Liu OAM, was awarded a Doctor of the University honoris causa through UQ's Faculty of Arts and Faculty of Behavioural Sciences in 2007.

Premier Bligh said Dr Liu was internationally recognised as a prominent Chinese community leader in Australia and had been a driving force in the preservation of Chinese cultural heritage in Queensland.

He had been instrumental in developing Brisbane's Chinatown into a vibrant multicultural environment attracting millions of tourists a year. He worked tirelessly for charity and sponsored gifted students and promoted Chinese language and Asian history through Queensland universities.

Dr Liu was a key driver behind the restoration of Brisbane's first Chinese temple, "Joss House", at Breakfast Creek, which dates from 1886.

Ruth Hegarty was honoured as a "Queensland Great" for her lifelong work pursuing social justice for Indigenous people.

Premier Bligh said Mrs Hegarty was the spokesperson for the "Stolen Wages" campaign and had been a key government adviser through her work with groups including the Aboriginal and Torres Strait islander Advisory Board, and the Domestic Violence Council.

University of Queensland Press published Mrs Hegarty's book Is That You Ruthie? which won the David Unaipon Award in the 1998 Queensland Premier's Literary Awards, and the sequel, Bittersweet Journey, in 2003.

Her books document her personal history as one of the Stolen Generation and her childhood living in the Cherbourg dormitories.

Former Queensland premier Mike Ahern AO, who has a UQ Bachelor of Agricultural Science degree, was announced as a Queensland Great for his contributions in politics, business, philanthropy and community service.

Other UQ-associated "Queensland Greats" in previous years include former Vice Chancellor John Hay (2007), medical researcher Professor Ian Frazer (2006), actor Geoffrey Rush (2006), scientist Professor Peter Doherty AC (2003), author David Malouf (2003) and Arts patron Dr Philip Bacon (2009).

"Since 2001, 50 Queenslanders and five institutions have been named Queensland Greats and all of them are honoured in a plaque display at Roma Street Parkland," Ms Bligh said.

The Premier also today launched the Queensland Greats electronic information booth at Roma Street Parkland.

"Alongside the plaque display of the 50 Queenslanders and five Queensland institutions, visitors to the Parkland will be able to find out more about the Queensland Greats and how they've contributed to Queensland," she said.

Queensland Week is celebrated each year and this year runs from 29 May to 6 June 2010. The Queensland Greats Awards have been running for 10 years.

Media: Fiona Cameron, UQ Communications ph 07 3346 7086