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Otago student named 2011 Girdlers’ Scholar at Cambridge

Lecture theatre seats

Tuesday 22 March 2011 8:41am

Photo of Ryan Ammar. University of Otago student Ryan Ammar has won the 2011 Girdlers’ Scholarship to study at the University of Cambridge’s Corpus Christi College.

Ryan will begin reading for an English Tripos (a Bachelor’s degree) at Cambridge later this year. The 18-year-old is a former Head Boy at Timaru Boy’s High School (TBHS) who was awarded a Leaders of Tomorrow Scholarship at Otago.

Administered by Universities New Zealand-Te Pōkai Tara, the Scholarship is funded by the Girdlers’ Company, which traces its foundation back to medieval times as a craftsmen’s guild. The award, worth £25,000 per annum, is offered to one New Zealand “all-rounder” each year.

“We are delighted with Ryan’s selection,” says Ian Rees of the Girdlers’ Company. “He will be the 47th Girdlers’ Scholar and the Girdlers take great pride in supporting this award, which is symbolic of the Company’s warm and close relationship with New Zealand since 1933.”

During his time at TBHS, Ryan received numerous academic, cultural and sporting awards and prizes, culminating with the Dux medal in Year 13. Last year he was selected to represent New Zealand as a member of the Young Shakespeare Company, which travelled to London to perform Macbeth at the Globe Theatre, and in 2009 Ryan wrote and narrated the winning entry to the Royal Society of New Zealand’s Big Science Adventures DVD Competition.

In addition to his top academic record and his success as an actor, Ryan is also a keen musician and an accomplished sportsman. He plays both piano and saxophone and was a member of the prize-winning TBHS Barbershop Chorus. He was captain of the TBHS tennis team, winning the title of South Canterbury Men’s Champion in 2008 and 2009, and he was a South Canterbury hockey representative for four years as a member the First XI hockey team.

Ryan is looking forward to the small-group teaching style at Cambridge and he hopes to be able to combine his interests in Shakespeare’s plays and New Zealand literature while reading for his English Tripos. Long-term, Ryan plans to pursue a career in foreign policy.

With his saxophone and tennis racket in tow, Ryan is looking forward to making his contribution to the tradition of academic excellence and cultural diversity that distinguishes Cambridge’s Corpus Christi College.

About the Girdlers’ Scholarship

One award is given each year for study at Cambridge University’s Corpus Christi College. The deadline for applications is 1 December.

More information on the Girdlers’ Scholarship can be found on the Universities NZ website.

A list of Otago experts available for media comment is available elsewhere on this website.

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