One of the Gold Coast’s pre-eminentbusinessleadersand philanthropistshasbeenawardedan honorary doctorate from Griffith University.
Warrenvon Bibrawas bestowed the title Doctor of the University (DUniv) atone ofthis month’s graduationceremonies,for his distinguished service to the Gold Coast community andGriffithUniversity’s Institute for Glycomics.
Mrvon Bibra said it was anhonourto berecognised.
“Schooling was never one of my greatest strengths–I left at 14 years and 10 months and started working for my Dad,” he said.
“I think my Dad would’ve laughed to see me become a doctor.
“For me, I’m proud of the fact that I’ve come this far and been able to give something back.”
Mrvon Bibra’s career has been marked by a desire to make a positive difference through service to others— something he attributes tohis early upbringing in a close-knit familywithina farming communityinTasmania.
Hisentrepreneurialspirit wasevident at a young age.At17, he travelled to Sydney,where he talked his way into a contract to sell Malibu longboardsfrom his Dad’s service station.
Helaterexpandedthe family business intoa thriving car dealership.
Since relocating to the Gold Coast in 1998, the von Bibra Group has grown into a large enterprise, with an annual turnover of AU$430 million, employingmore than 500 staff.
“I think the secret to my success was being interested in people,” he said.
“You meet all kinds of different people, and within ten minutes, you’ve heard most of their life story.
“I always saw my role as an employer as empowering young people and give them an opportunity to shine. That’s what Griffith is about too.”
As a socially engaged corporate citizen,Mrvon Bibraturned his energy and attention to what his company could give back.
Since 2013, the von Bibra Group has donated over $1.25m tolocal organisations, events, sporting clubs and charities.
Mrvon Bibra’scommitment to the Gold Coast community extends to his long involvement with Griffith University’s Institute for Glycomics.
Since 2003, the von Bibra’s have generously donated to the critical research conducted by the Institute, and were instrumental in attracting a $500,000 donation from The Honda Foundation to establish the Honda Foundation Pandemic Influenza Research Facility.
Institute forGlycomicsDirectorProfessor Mark von ItzsteinAOsaidMrvon Bibra hadbeen crucialsupporter of the University’s research scientists and students.
“The von Bibras have been loyal, long-standing advocates of the Institute, with a special interest in supporting our research students through scholarship opportunities,” he said.
“As a consequence of their significant and on-going support, we established the Sally & Warren von Bibra Honours Scholarship Scheme in 2003, which they generously sponsor every year.
“If you do the math, that equates to eighteen years of supporting the nation’s future scientists — truly remarkable.”
Mrvon Bibra said supporting the work of Griffith University’s Institute for Glycomics was “anhonourand privilege”.
“We are ableto support them in their fight against diseases of global impact; diseases that affect and devastate so many people’s lives each day.”
“We feel confident that our financial donations are helping to shape a brighter, healthier future – a future filled with hope.”
Mrvon Bibra joined more than 2,700 Griffith graduateswhowill attend ceremonies in Brisbane and on the Gold Coast this month.
These ceremonies are for the Graduating Class of 2020 who missed out on in-person events last year due to COVID.
Those unable to attend this month have the option to attend a future ceremony to celebrate their achievement and each ceremony will be live streamed, soabsentfamily and friendscan still be a part of the occasion.
Individual ceremonieshave beencapped at 420 graduatesto ensureGriffithcomplieswithCOVID-Safe Plansforvenues.