Royal Society of NSW News & Events

Royal Society of NSW News & Events

Society Fellow, Robert Whittaker, awarded an Honorary Doctorate by Western Sydney University

Professor Jennifer Westacott and Professor Robert WhittakerRecently the Society learned of an Honorary Doctorate being awarded to our Vice-President, Emeritus Professor Peter Shergold AC FRSN, by Western Sydney University at its recent October 2023 graduations. The RSNSW Council was also delighted to belatedly learn of the same honour, an Honorary Doctor of Letters, being awarded to another of our Fellows and Council Member, Adjunct Professor Robert Whittaker AM FRSN, at the recent end-of-year graduation ceremonies at WSU.

The citation for Professor Whittaker (pictured with the Chancellor Professor Jennifer Westacott AO), read by the WSU Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Professor Deborah Sweeney, noted that he is an influential leader in the building profession, having played a prominent role in raising professional standards both within New South Wales and more broadly across Australia. He is a Chartered Builder and Principal of Holdom Whittaker, a consulting firm for builders, building surveyors, and engineers. 

Robert Whitaker has worked in the building sector for 40 years, commencing during his undergraduate studies at UTS. For the past two decades, he has been an entrepreneur and leader in the construction industry, holding a number of senior positions of trust, including that of member and chair of various national and state committees and judging panels such as the Professional Excellence in Building Awards Committee. His counsel continues to be sought by State and Federal Government policymakers and the broader community, with some of his formal roles including a ministerial appointment on the NSW Property Services Advisory Council, membership of the Discipline and Accreditation Committees of the former NSW Building Professionals Board, and Chair of the former National Building Professionals Register. In these positions, Professor Whittaker was instrumental in recognising and subsequently addressing the need for more transparency in the attainment of professional standards across the building industry.

Professor Whittaker is highly committed to the advancement of the building profession in tertiary education, in which he continues to be proactive. He is an active participant on external advisory committees for a number of universities, resulting in adjunct professorial appointments at the Universities of Canberra, Newcastle, and Western Sydney. His contributions have led to the inclusion of professional ethics and personal accountability as essential components of construction management degrees at these and other universities in the sector. Within the vocational sector, he has served for many years as a member of the National Industry Reference Committee for Construction, together with various technical advisory groups for trade and paraprofessional qualifications. 

Robert Whittaker was appointed a Member of the Order of Australia in 2014, for his ‘significant contribution to the building and construction industry as a leader and educator’. He is a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Building, the Royal Society of New South Wales, and the Australian Institute of Quantity Surveyors, a Member of the Society of Construction Law (Australia), and a Companion of the Institution of Engineers Australia.  

The Council of the Royal Society of New South Wales warmly congratulates Robert Whittaker AM FRSN on this latest recognition of his career in, and commitment to, the building industry in NSW and Australia.

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