Rhonda and Terry White have been presented with a rare honour which recognises their dedication to the profession and the community.
Today, the two each received the degree of Doctor of the University from Queensland University of Technology. It is the first time in QUT’s history that a husband and wife, and also past Alumni, have been awarded Honorary Doctorates.
In bestowing the awards, the University recognised Rhonda’s distinguished service to the community and the significant contributions she had made to the pharmacy profession, including the education of pharmacists and retail practices.
Terry was acknowledged for distinguished service to the community, in particular through public office, and the leadership roles he has played within the pharmacy profession.
“Both Terry and I have always been proud to belong to the Alumni of a university that is ranked as Australia’s top university under 50 years old – although it must be said it stands on the foundations of over a century of predecessor institutions,” Rhonda said.
“We consider ourselves lucky to have begun our careers graduating from one of those institutions and we thank QUT and its Governing Council for the recognition today,” she said.
The couple’s dedication to the profession has made the White name synonymous with the pharmacy industry.
Terry opened his first pharmacy in 1958 at Woody Point, while Rhonda opened her own pharmacy at Clontarf in 1964. In 1994, they went on to establish the country’s first national pharmacy franchise, Terry White Chemists, together with son, Anthony White.
The group has since grown to become the largest pharmacy network in Australia with approximately 500 pharmacies nationwide.
“Australia’s community pharmacy industry has changed significantly since we first started out in business,” Terry said.
“While the role of a pharmacist has always been about serving the health needs of local communities, over the years, the part these highly trained professionals play in the broader healthcare industry has evolved and expanded to include the delivery of a range of patient-centred healthcare services.
“QUT’s willingness to work collaboratively with industry over the years has supported the important role of pharmacists through the development of innovative professional services to support the best possible health outcomes for Australians.
“Importantly, as the role of pharmacists continues to change into the future, the commitment shown by QUT to pharmacy will support ongoing innovation within the sector to the benefit of both the community and the industry.”
Rhonda and Terry White both graduated as pharmacists from the Central Technical College, a predecessor institution to QUT.
The Honorary Doctorates add to a long list of achievements for the pair, who have previously been inducted into the Queensland Business Leaders Hall of Fame and appointed Officers of the Order of Australia.