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Students gain insight into awards

Friday 16 March 2018 11:55am

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(At back) Alumni Engagement Manager Donnella Aitken-Ferguson and International Office Director Jason Cushen (middle row, from left) guest Alan Portis, Americas Exchange Adviser Graeme France, and student Sean Lau (front row, from left) Donor and funding manager Jude McCracken and guests Santa Portis and Pat Merrilees.

Two events in two weeks have shown how generosity can enhance students’ study and life experiences.

Benefactors Pat Merrilees and Allan and Santa Portis visited the Dunedin campus on 15 March to meet Brian Merrilees Canadian Alumni Travel Awards recipient Sean Lau and Otago staff.

Pat Merrilees, a Bachelor of Science (Zoology and Biology) and Master of Science (Zoology) alumna, said she and late husband Emeritus Professor Brian Merrilees supported travel awards because they believed study abroad programmes greatly enriched Otago undergraduates’ education.

Sean, a second-year Information Sciences student, is looking forward to studying in Vancouver at the University of British Columbia in the second semester this year.

“I’m really pleased to have received the travel award because it means I have been able to focus on study instead of having to balance this with work. Vancouver is also home to many renowned game designers so I may make contacts there. I’m also going to enjoy the outdoors and exploring the area when I’m not studying.”

The other 2018 Brian Merrilees Canadian Alumni Travel Award recipient was history and English student Caroline T-W-Fiennes who is currently studying at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario.

R and E Seeyle - 6 March

On 6 March Ralph and Eve Seelye Charitable Trust board members Kaye Ottaway, Sarah Haydon and James Hill visited the Dunedin campus and joined Alumni Office staff and first- and second-year R and E Seelye scholarship recipients at a luncheon at St Margaret's College.

Students discussed study plans and had lunch with the trustees before James, who had been the Seeyle’s neighbour in Auckland, outlined the couple’s history, their progressive vision for educational opportunity, and the reasons for their generosity.

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