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Alumni news

A word from the Head

alisonfinigan webReaders may have noticed the story in the last issue of the Otago Magazine that referred to the UK Telegraph citing the University of Otago as one of the 16 most beautiful campuses in the world. While it was gratifying to see our campus warmly praised by outsiders in such a public way, alumni and friends of Otago have always recognised the precious legacy of beauty as well as the fine tradition of scholarship that the University’s founders envisaged when they laid the first stone of what is now the Registry building 144 years ago.

The next six years will be busy ones as the University community gears up for what will be a massive celebration of the 150th anniversary of New Zealand’s oldest university in 2019. Many schools and departments will be celebrating their own special anniversaries over this time, as will graduating classes and residential college communities. It will be a time to reflect on all that has been achieved by the University in the past century and a half, and to look forward to what the future holds. For alumni it will be a time to reflect on the part that Otago played in shaping their lives and paving the way to future success. Some may wish to recognise the benefits of their education by giving back to Otago, to ensure that future generations can enjoy the same opportunities.

Look out for more information about the celebrations planned in future issues of the Otago Magazine.

– Alison Finigan : Head of Alumni Relations

Supporting Otago

Annual Appeal 2013

Alumni and friends have generously supported the 11th Annual Appeal and funds raised, to date, will allow us to award a number of scholarships in 2014. The MRI fund has also been a popular choice and support is building for the Chair in Earthquake Science.

We are now reaching out to Otago people living in Australia and other parts of the world to help the University achieve its goals. If you are in a position to give back, you could consider supporting one of the following projects:

  • University of Otago Scholarships: assisting high-achieving, deserving young people to study at Otago
  • Chair in Earthquake Science: to complement a multidisciplinary centre facilitating world-leading research into the fundamental understanding of faults and earthquakes
  • MRI Scanner: for research and clinical use that will enable Otago to continue world-leading research into brain health and body function.

To make a gift to any of theses projects, please visit the Otago Alumni website.
If you are not in a position to donate to Otago at this time, there are other ways you can support your University: by joining or creating a local network, attending one of our Otago alumni events, or simply passing on your Otago Magazine to a friend.

2013 scholars

Twenty-seven first-year students were awarded Alumni, Disabilities and Performance Scholarships in 2013, thanks to generous donations made by alumni and friends in last year’s Annual Appeal. All the recipients are grateful for the opportunity to study at Otago and are determined to do their best to succeed in their crucial first year.

Alumni Scholars full width
Alumni Scholars 2013 (left to right): Morgan Jones, Finn Williams, Brittany Stewart, Kauthar Al-Bahr, Ropafadozo Kadewere, Bridget Moral, Sana Basharati, Zarina Millar, Kasey Dillon, Lea Reihana, Jane Wei, Ashley Cronin, Daniel Smit, Shaun Markham, Greer Mahoney. Absent: Melissa Giddens, Megna Jeram, Clarissa Whitney-Morrison.

Otago's international networks

The University of Otago Canadian Alumni Network

Otago’s Canadian network has, for the past three years, provided funding to help Otago students to study at partner universities in Canada. Hannah Harland, a third-year Ecology student who spent a semester at Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia, sent the following report:

I was lucky enough to be accepted on the summer school course a field study of marine mammals. […] I learnt so much and enjoyed every minute of it. […] We were lucky enough to see hundreds of different marine mammals, including humpback whales, North Atlantic right whales, minke whales, fin whales, white-sided dolphins, harbour porpoises, and grey and harbour seals.[…] This exchange has been one of the most wonderful experiences of my life, and I really want to thank you all for helping to get me there!

The Canadian Alumni network offers alumni opportunities to meet some of the students from Dunedin who come to Canada to study. Being available to assist students on exchange is one of the most valuable (and enjoyable) ways that alumni can support their University. If you live overseas and are interested in supporting a student in your area, please contact Kaitlin Wolf.
The location of the University’s exchange partners can be found on the Otago International Office website.

Alumni of the University of Otago in America, Inc (AUOA)

A key goal for the AUOA Board in 2013 is to set up regional groups across the country which will allow more alumni to get together for social and professional networking.

The first of these groups has been established in the Mid-West as an initiative spearheaded by alumnus Rohan McKenzie, who organised a gathering for a small group in a downtown Chicago bar on 4 May. Alumni from the region enjoyed a convivial couple of hours sharing Otago memories and discussing the recent performance of our sports teams. They also made plans for another gathering in late August/early September and are keen to hear from others who might want to be involved. If you’re interested, please email Rohan

Further regional network events are planned for late June/early July, when Alison Finigan, Head of Alumni Relations, will be visiting the US.

San Francisco: Saturday, 22 June. Organiser: Geoff Nichol.
Washington: Monday, 24 June. Organiser: Alison Finigan.
New Orleans: Saturday, 29 June. Organiser: Andy King.
Los Angeles: Wednesday 3 July. Organiser: Alison Finigan.

If you live in the vicinity of these centres, or anywhere else in the US, and you’re interested in finding out more about alumni in your area and how to network with them, we’d love to hear from you. Email Geoff, Andy or Alison at the addresses above.

The University of Otago Foundation for Malaysia

For the past three years the University of Otago Foundation for Malaysia has generously funded an award that recognises the contribution of an outstanding student from Malaysia to the student community. This year’s winner is third-year medical student Eric Lim, who has shown an extraordinary commitment to his fellow students through his work as vice-president (2012) and president (2013) of the Otago Malaysian Students’ Association (OMSA). Eric was the prime mover in the Malam Malaysia performance last year, showcasing Malaysian culture to Dunedin audiences. Eric also networks with staff and the wider community to provide opportunities for Malaysian students in the areas of volunteering, internships and career counselling. He is leading the way this year as OMSA prepares to celebrate its 50th anniversary in September. All alumni who participated in OMSA activities over the past half century are warmly invited to return to Dunedin for the festivities.

The Foundation for Malaysia is proud to assist students like Eric and is keen to see this support extended. Tan Sri Datuk Amar Leo Moggie, a director of the Foundation, is leading a campaign to raise awareness among Malaysian alumni about how they can help. The aim is to build a significant fund that can be used for awards, scholarships and other key projects within the University. The Foundation has already secured a notable tax advantage on donations from Malaysia that will make it much easier to give to these worthwhile endeavours. Tan Sri Leo encourages alumni to join him in supporting this great opportunity for current and future students, their families and their country.

To make a donation please contact Ms Ong Suan Yi at 60-3-21611000.

Donations can be made by direct credit to the University of Otago Foundation for Malaysia account:
Name of Bank: Public Bank Berhad
Address of Bank: KL City Main Office, Ground Floor, Menara Public Bank, 146 Jalan Ampang, 50450 Kuala Lumpur
Current Account (MYR) No: 311-859-6401
Swift Code: PBBEMYKL

Cheques may be made out to the University of Otago Foundation for Malaysia and mailed to the following address:
University of Otago Foundation for Malaysia
C/- O & M Management Consultants Sdn. Bhd. (38053 M)
Unit C-6-5, 6th Floor, Block C,
Megan Avenue II,
No. 12, Jalan Yap Kwan Seng,
50450 Kuala Lumpur.
Donors will receive an official receipt from the Foundation suitable for tax purposes.

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Be active, be social!

The Development and Alumni Relations Office is re-launching its website, with the theme “Be active, be social”. New features include:

  • Where in the World Are You?: an overview of where Otago graduates are living
  • A section to keep you up to date with alumni news and events
  • A revamp of Your Otago Link: update your alumni profile to gain access to services offered by the University.

Recent alumni events

Upcoming events, reunions and university celebrations

Keep in touch

Address for correspondence
Development & Alumni Relations Office
University of Otago
PO Box 56 Dunedin

Physical address
Alumni House
103 St David Street

Telephone 64 3 479 4516