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Role of Chancellor

Council inside banner

The Chancellor is the formal head of the University and chairs a team of Council members in strategic decision making and oversight of the University's operations.

The Chancellor's most public role is conferring degrees and diplomas at University graduation ceremonies.

Chancellor-J-Ward-Graduation1

Other ceremonial and ambassadorial duties are undertaken by the Chancellor, ensuring the high standing of the University is maintained in the wider community, both in New Zealand and overseas.

The Chancellor is elected on an annual basis by the members of the University Council.

Mr John F Ward BCom (Otago) FCA CFInstD is the current Chancellor and has held that role since 2009. An appointee of the Minister for Tertiary Education, he has been a member of the University Council since 2003 and served as Pro-Chancellor in 2007 and 2008.

Former Chancellors of the University of Otago

1869-1871
The Rev. Thomas Burns DD(Edin)
1871-1876
Sir John Larkins Cheese Richardson
1876-1879
His Honour Henry Samuel Chapman
1879-1894
The Rev. Donald McNaughton Stuart DD(St And)
1894-1909
His Honour Sir Joshua Strange Williams MA LLM(Camb)
1909-1912
The Hon. Sir James Allen MA(Camb)
1912-1925
The Rev. Andrew Cameron BA(NZ) HonLLD(Edin)
1925-1933
The Hon. Sir Thomas Kay Sidey BA LLB(NZ) MLC
1933-1945
William John Morrell MA(Oxf)
1946-1955
The Very Rev. David Craig Herron CBE MC MA(NZ) HonsDD(St And)
1955-1970
The Rev. Hubert James Ryburn CMG MA(NZ & Oxf) BD(Union) HonLLD(Otago)
1970-1976
Thomas Kay Stuart Sidey CMG LLM(NZ) HonLLD(Otago)
1976-1982
The Very Rev. John Spenser Somerville ONZ CMG MC MA(NZ) HonDD(St And) HonLLD(Otago)
1982-1992
James Archibald Valentine BCom(NZ) HonLLD(Otago) FCA
1993-1998
Judith Olwyn Medlicott CNZM MA LLB HonLLD(Otago)
1999-2003
Sir Eion Sinclair Edgar KNZM BCom HonLLD(Otago) FCA ACCM
2004-2008
Lindsay John Brown MNZM BCom HonLLD(Otago)