The name Clipsal is well known to Princes students through the Clipsal Innovation Centre and the annual Clipsal Innovation Lecture. Students would also know the name Clipsal through the life-saving safety switch and the range of products manufactured under this name by Gerard Industries, one of South Australia's most successful companies.
Robert Gerard is the Managing Director of Gerard Industries, which was founded in Rundle Street, Adelaide, as Gerard and Goodman by his grandfather Alfred Edward Gerard, in 1907. The company established its headquarters in Bowden in 1936 and today the diverse global operations of Gerard Industries are managed from there. In South Australia alone the company has operations in Adelaide, the Barossa Valley and Strathalbyn, where it employs thousands of South Australians.
Robert Gerard's support for Princes follows the wonderful contribution of his father, the late W. Geoff Gerard, CMG, who was the driving force and first president of the Prince Alfred College Foundation.
Robert Gerard, through the endowment of a hi-tech learning facility, acknowledged the long relationship between members of the Gerard family and the school. Prince Alfred College students have become the beneficiaries of his generosity, with the opening of the Clipsal Innovation Centre in 1996. Later, support for Princes students expanded with the introduction of the Clipsal Innovation Lecture and the Gerard Industries Scholarships, which were initiated by Robert Gerard and promoted by his cousin John Gerard (PAC 1954-1963).
Robert Gerard served as the centenary year President of the Prince Alfred Old Collegians Association in 1978. In 2003, the 125th anniversary of the association, he was made, along with John Gerard, an Honorary Life Member.
Sport, cultural activities, health, and young people, through the Duke of Edinburgh's Award in Australia program, are just some of the many activities Robert Gerard has supported. His patronage and his role as a business leader were recognised with the conferment of an Officer of the Order of Australia in 1999 and South Australian of the Year in 2000. He was the first old scholar to be appointed to the Board of the Reserve Bank of Australia in 2003.