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Alumni scholarships open doors for students

Wednesday 25 March 2020 11:24am

A warm welcome was extended to all our new alumni scholarship students by senior academic and professional staff at a function at the beginning of March.


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Otago’s 2020 alumni scholarship students at the Welcome function in March.
Photo courtesy of Sharron Bennett


In her welcome speech, Vice-Chancellor Professor Harlene Hayne said every year thousands of students apply for a scholarship and each scholarship recipient is very carefully selected not only on academic excellence grounds, but also on the basis of their own personal story.

“For many of you who are in the room this evening, your particular scholarship was made possible by a donor. An individual who, like you, got their start here at the University of Otago and wanted to pay that forward by giving you a similar opportunity.”

She said that more than 40 years ago she was standing in a room on the other side of the world receiving her own scholarship.

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“Not a day goes by that I haven’t reflected on how that scholarship changed the course of my future and my family’s future. So I really understand what it’s like to be in your shoes.”

In additional to their academic studies, Professor Hayne said “we want you to learn to pay forward your own experience here by giving your time and your talent and your energy not only to other people at the University of Otago but to the wider community as well”.

Two of the scholarship recipients at the function were Harry Press and Jermaine Pepe, who were awarded the Alumni of the University of Otago in America Inc. Rugby Performance Entrance Scholarships.


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Alumni of the University of Otago in America Inc Rugby Performance Entrance Scholarship recipients Harry Press (left) and Jermaine Pepe.
Photo courtesy of Sharron Bennett


Harry, who is from Wellington and studying for a Bachelor of Science in Exercise and Sport Science, says the scholarship meant he was able to afford to come to Otago this year and it will also help pay off his fees in the next two years.

Jermaine, who attended Rangiora High School and is studying for a Bachelor of Commerce, was offered places in both the Crusaders and Otago Rugby academies. “The scholarship was the deciding factor,” he says. Training started in the second week of term, and they’re enjoying their respective colleges Selwyn and Studholme.


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Donna-Rose McKay Disability Support Scholarship recipient Kaylee Metcalfe (left) and Callis Trust Performance Scholarship recipient Anna Talbot.
Photo courtesy of Sharron Bennett


Anna Talbot from Auckland received a University of Otago Callis Trust Performance Scholarship for Dance, and she especially values the connection with the donors.

“I love how donors have given it, it’s more special and personalised, and I like how we can thank them.”

Anna is studying Health Sciences and says the scholarship means she won’t have to get a part-time job so she can spend more time studying and working towards her final goal. “It makes all the hard work worth it, I’m very happy and very grateful.”

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Otago Law Scholarship recipient Emily Marlow.
Photo courtesy of Sharron Bennett

Otago Law Scholarship recipient Emily Marlow took a gap year after finishing school and has headed to Otago from Palmerston North.

She says receiving the scholarship was a very nice surprise. She’s flatting for her first year, and says the scholarship is “super helpful, it means I can buy a new laptop and eat proper food.”

“I’m loving it down here, it’s so pretty, my friends took me for a tour of the campus and I couldn’t believe the Clocktower.”

Alumni Student Scholarships give many of our brightest young people the chance to receive a world-class university education.

For some students, it is the only way they can overcome the hardship barriers associated with attending university. These life-changing scholarships give our talented young people the chance to reach their full potential, and as such are a vital investment in New Zealand’s future.

The alumni scholarship fund includes student scholarships funded by the generosity of many individual donors. The alumni office also administers scholarships provided by donors or organisations, including:


Visit our website for more information about the scholarships