Philip Clark AO

Honorary Doctor of Laws

Citation delivered by Professor Glenn Salkeld Executive Dean of the Faculty of Social Sciences University of Wollongong on the occasion of the admission of Philip Marcus Clark as a Doctor of Laws (Honoris Causa) on 26 April 2019.

Chancellor, I present Philip Marcus Clark.

Throughout his professional life, Philip has been committed to the betterment of life for all Australians. He has done this through his work with government, the corporate world, universities and the community.

After spending his youth running around with his red setter Woofler on the family homestead near Quirindi, Phil’s family moved to Sydney. Although he admits to ‘coasting through’ school and the early years of university, he eventually settled down, earning degrees in law and business. As a young man, Phil had many experiences that shaped his work ethic and his concept of social responsibility. Significantly, landing in the centre of anti-Vietnam War riots in Manhattan, being wrongfully detained in Johannesburg by the South African secret police, and working with Master Solicitor Theo Walker who did his best to mentor Phil in the legal profession, but eventually imparted the sage advice that Phil might be better off pursuing a career in business.

Taking the lessons learned from wonderful mentors and significant life experiences, Phil forged a successful corporate career; but alongside these personal achievements, Phil has also provided exceptional service to society. This is demonstrated through his participation in the not-for-profit sector as Director of organisations such as the Garvan Foundation, the High Resolves Foundation and the Australian Indigenous Mentoring Experience (AIME). An outstanding leader with a wise head and a steady hand, Phil has successfully navigated the intersecting worlds of bureaucracy, industry and academe. His impressive leadership at a national level was clearly demonstrated during 2015 to 2018 when, as Chair of the Cooperative Research Corporation (CRC) Advisory Committee of Innovation and Science Australia, Phil guided the program through a process of renewal, delivering tangible benefits to all stakeholders. This process was especially fraught, involving re-alignment of program objectives and creating true links between research and industry leading to genuine economic growth for the country. With clear and consistent guidance he was able to implement CRC goals, contributing to a cumulative total of over $14 billion of direct economic effects for the country.

In 2015 Phil was appointed Chair of the Early Start Advisory Committee at the University of Wollongong, an initiative integrating teaching, research and community engagement. In this role he led Early Start in its crucial start-up phase, overseeing the creation of the Discovery Space and the establishment of the 41 Engagement Centres throughout rural and remote NSW. The latter was a key part of ensuring accessibility in all communities, particularly those with the most socio-economically disadvantaged families. His leadership has been crucial to the success of Early Start and has provided tangible benefit to families in the Illawarra and beyond.

While Phil has had success in the professional world, he considers his greatest achievements to be personal. His family – his partner Maria, and their three children Marcus, Bronson and Mia – have been a positive influence in Phil’s life: reminding him about the importance of personal growth and maintaining healthy relationships and congratulating him on his skiing and fly-fishing successes. His grandfather, Sir Marcus Clark, was also a guiding force in Phil’s life: a community-minded philanthropist, his grandfather was instrumental in shaping Phil’s philosophies around social responsibility. Phil also inherited his grandfather’s abiding love of stamp collecting, and we wish him well in his next endeavour: completing his collection of the 1850s “Queen on Throne” two penny stamp.

Phil was appointed a Member of the Order of Australia (General Division) in 2007 for his contribution to the development of national law firms and encouraging corporate involvement in community programs. In 2019 he was appointed an Officer of the Order of Australia for his services to education, to research and infrastructure investment, and to the not-for-profit sector. The award acknowledged his commitment to improving the lives of all Australians.

Chancellor, today we honour Phil for his significant leadership and contribution to the advancement of research-driven innovation in Australia and for his distinguished service to the University of Wollongong. It is a privilege and a pleasure to present Philip Marcus Clark for a Doctor of Laws, honoris causa.