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Four Honorary Doctorates to mark sesquicentennial

Archway building blossom

Wednesday 15 May 2019 4:26pm

Four University of Otago Alumni will be recognised for their life’s work and their contribution to the University, New Zealand and the world during a special graduation ceremony on 1 June.

Former Prime Minister Bill English, the first female medical graduate of Pacific descent, Papalii Dr Viopapa Annandale-Atherton, internationally-renowned Kāi Tahu archaeologist Professor Atholl Anderson, and global expert in women’s rights and children’s issues Brigid Inder will receive Honorary Doctorates of Laws.

The conferment of degrees takes place during a special Convocation Ceremony, which is being held on the Saturday of Queen’s Birthday Weekend as part of the University’s 150th celebrations.

The ceremony is an historic event which includes musical items and speeches.

In announcing the Honorary Doctorates today, Vice-Chancellor Professor Harlene Hayne says it is a reflection of the calibre of the University’s graduates that four alumni, showcasing such high-level success in diverse fields, could be selected for the honour.

“One way that we are celebrating our 150th anniversary is by recognising outstanding alumni.

“The work of these honorary doctorate recipients has been exemplary. They are leaders in their respective fields and together they follow in the footsteps of outstanding graduates throughout our history. As a university community, we are proud to bask in their reflected glory”.

For more information, contact:

Fiona Clarkson
Manager, Communications Advisory Service
Tel +64 3 471 6272


Bill English image

Sir Bill English

Sir Bill, a former New Zealand Prime Minister, Deputy Prime Minister and Leader of the Opposition, was a resident of Selwyn College and graduated from the University of Otago with a Bachelor of Commerce and Bachelor of Arts in 1985.

More about Sir Bill English.

Viopapa Annandale-Atherton image

Papalii Dr Viopapa Annandale-Atherton

Papalii Dr Viopapa Annandale-Atherton, who graduated from Otago with a medical degree (MBChB) in 1964, has championed work related to improving health outcomes for women and children’s health, including sexual, reproductive and public health.

More about Papalii Dr Viopapa Annandale-Atherton.

Atholl Anderson image

Professor Atholl Anderson

Professor Anderson, Emeritus Professor Australian National University, is a distinguished scholar of national and international standing. He is noted for his work in the Pacific and Indian Oceans and is a prize-winning historian of the Māori past and Kāi Tahu tribal and post-contact history.

More about Professor Atholl Anderson.

Brigid Inder image

Brigid Inder

Physical Education alumna Brigid Inder OBE has been an advocate for gender equality and women’s rights for more than three decades.

More about Brigid Inder.