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Toowoomba leaders honoured at USQ

Two of Toowoomba’s most distinguished sons have been awarded Honorary Doctorates from the University of Southern Queensland.

Former Queensland Police Service (QPS) Commissioner Ian Stewart and Heritage Bank Chair and Betros Bros Managing Director Kerry Betros received Honorary Degrees in front of thousands at USQ Toowoomba’s Spring Graduation ceremonies.

Mr Stewart was the face of reassurance during times of state emergencies such as floods, fires and cyclones, and last week the former Commissioner was awarded an Honorary Degree of Doctor of University for his distinguished service to the community.

“It’s a dream come true. Being a Toowoomba boy, born and bred, having studied at this University and now being given this Doctorate, I am so honoured and grateful,” Mr Stewart said.

After more than 45 years of service and six years in Queensland Police’s top job, Mr Stewart announced his retirement this year.

The Honorary Doctorate is another feather in Mr Stewart’s well-adorned cap which includes qualifications from the US Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Leeda Program, where he has a Master of Public Policy and Administration. 

Toowoomba business identity Kerry Betros received an Honorary Degree of Doctor of Business, recognising his lifetime of service to Toowoomba in business, commerce and management.

“It has been the greatest honour of my business career and my life to receive this award, and I am truly humbled by it,” Mr Betros said.

During his address at the morning ceremony, he spoke of his family’s fruit and vegetable business which started more than 80 years ago by his father and brother.

“My first memories of business are of a very young school boy working for pocket money in the school holidays doing the worst possible jobs such as emptying the scraps bin,” he said.

“When I look back from where I am now it has sure been a long, interesting and fruitful trip.”

Mr Betros completed a Bachelor of Business, in 1991 he became a director of the then Heritage Building Society, and in 2012 became the Chairman of Heritage Bank.

“Without the benefit of my studies and degree from USQ, I would never have gained this opportunity. And the message I learnt and would give to graduands is to realise how valuable and respected your award from USQ is,” he said.


man speaking at lectern