Robert Foo Hee Chong, AM - Federation University Distinuished Alumnus award on 28 June 2016
Mr Robert Foo Hee Chong was awarded Distinguished Alumnus of Federation University Australia on Tuesday 28 June 2016.
This award recognises the recipient’s exceptional contribution to a chosen field of endeavour, and their pursuit of excellence in everything to do.
Robert was nominated for outstanding service to the community and his pre-eminent contribution to community health and local government.
Robert arrived in Australia from Malaysia in 1962 and studied applied Chemistry at the School of Mines Ballarat (a predecessor institution of Federation University Australia). After graduating, Robert joined Monsanto Chemicals as a Chemist/Research Assistant. Later he joined the Commonwealth Department of Air, which later changed to the Royal Australian Air Force.
When Robert moved to the Blackburn area in the early 1970s he saw a need to support recently arrived Chinese immigrants living in his community. He founded the Chinese Community Social Services Centre, served as the President of the Federation of Chinese Associations (Vic) Incorporated, founded the Box Hill, Waverley and Knox Chinese Senior Citizens Clubs. He served as President of the Community Council of Ethnic Issues and advocated the Federal Government for the establishment of a Migrant Information Centre in East Melbourne.
Due to his strong advocacy for migrant support services, Robert was invited to serve on the newly established Board of Migrant Information Centre for East Melbourne for 7 years, and was then appointed by the Victorian Minister of Health to the Board of Eastern Health. Since 2011 Robert has served as Chair of the newly established Eastern Health Foundation.
Robert was elected as a councillor at the City of Whitehorse in 1997 and re-elected in 2012 for a sixth term. During this time he served two terms as Mayor.
Robert has made outstanding contributions to the community of eastern Melbourne for over 25 years, and has been awarded an Order of Australia Medal, Centenary Medal and Member of the Order of Australia.