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entrance scholarship recipients

Donor-funded Alumni Entrance Scholarship recipients for 2024 at a welcome event in Allen Hall Theatre.

Otago’s Allen Hall Theatre played host to the 2024 Alumni Entrance Scholarship recipients at a gathering at the University recently.

This year, 75 Alumni donor-funded scholarships have been awarded to first-year students. These include those funded through the Alumni Entrance Scholarships Appeal; Alumni in America; Elman Poole; Graeme and Mary Fogelberg; John F. Ward Southland Scholarship; R & E Seelye; Ralph Moir Surveying; Commerce and Pacific Scholarships; Yarrow South and 71-73 Alumni Frank Leong Entrance Scholarship: Freely Received, Freely Give (Matt 10:8).

Development and Alumni Relations Office Director Shelagh Murray welcomed the students to Otago and spoke about how many of the donors had received scholarships themselves and wanted today’s students to experience the same benefits they had received.

“As these donors generously give back to the University, their financial support helps a new generation of students on the pathway to success, by easing financial stress and enabling you to immerse yourselves in your studies and life at the University,” says Ms Murray.

Scholarships bring opportunity, relief and celebration

Alumni scholarship recipients have travelled from around the country to study at Otago, something which for many may not have been possible without the support of the scholarship.

Alumni Appeal Entrance Scholarship recipient Olivia Railton, is studying Health Sciences First Year (HSFY) and says the scholarship has been “life-changing”.

“It makes everything possible, it’s completely changed the course of my life,” says Olivia, who is from Waikanae.”

These sentiments are echoed by HSFY student Lily Greenwood, from Christchurch.  “It takes a lot of pressure off, not having to work, it feels much more sustainable, and makes coming down here easier to fund and makes it more possible.”

Two donors who wish to remain anonymous have provided generous scholarships for Commerce and Pacific students. Pacific scholarship recipient Rachel Faumuina, from Auckland, is studying HSFY, and says the scholarship means she won’t have to get a job and will be able to spend more time on her studies.

Also receiving a Pacific scholarship, HSFY student Riki Sagato, says the scholarship, “helps me and my family financially, mentally and physically, and I don’t need to work because of it. Thank you!”

Student scholarship story

71-73 Alumni Frank Leong Entrance Scholarship: Freely Received, Freely Give (Matt 10:8) recipients for 2024 at the Donor-funded Alumni Entrance Scholarship welcome at Allen Hall Theatre.

71-‘73 Alumni Frank Leong scholarship recipient, Jodi Jefferson, has come from Tākaka in the Top of the South. Jodi attended Golden Bay High School and plans to study Law and History. “The scholarship is very good as it helps ease some of the stress, letting me focus on my studies,” says Jodi, who is living at Salmond College.

Fellow ‘71-‘73 Alumni Frank Leong scholarship winner and Salmond College resident, Stella Littlefair attended Kerikeri High School and is following in the path of her mother, who also attended Otago. Stella plans to major in Zoology for a Science degree. “It’s really taken a lot of the stress away. I’m so happy to have received this award.”

Ruby Stretch-Treweek is also a ‘71-‘73 Alumni Frank Leong scholarship recipient for 2024. Originally from the UK, Ruby is of Ngāpuhi descent. She attended Otago Girls’ High School and is flatting in central Dunedin, planning to study Forensic Analytical Science for a BSc. “I’m really grateful for the scholarship it helps me out significantly with my finances.”

Alumni in America Scholarship recipient Benji Kynoch attended Central Hawkes Bay College and is taking a BSc in Energy Science and Technology, with a minor in Zoology. This year he is living at 192 Castle College. “It’s awesome, I am very grateful. It will help me with hall costs and reduce the stress of fees,” he says.

Also studying HSFY, Alumni Appeal Entrance Scholarship recipient Izzy Dyson, from Christchurch, is the first in her family to go to university, and her parents weren’t comfortable with the idea of her flatting. “It’s given me the ability to move down here, without it, it wouldn’t be possible for me to live in the halls.”

Phoenix Whalley, also from Christchurch, says the course she wanted to do, in Health and Physical Education, was only offered at Otago, but without the Alumni Appeal scholarship she wouldn’t have been able to afford to go to university. “When I received it [the scholarship] it was crazy, my mum was crying.”

Emma Saunders from Whangārei is studying for a BSc, majoring in Neuroscience, and wouldn’t have been able to afford the cost of the hall without the Alumni Appeal scholarship. “My parents couldn’t afford to help me as they both had injuries that meant they couldn't work anymore, also I have a younger brother. I worked three jobs in high school saving for this. The scholarship pays for a big chunk of the accommodation, I probably would not be able to come here without it.”

Oceania-Blue Joblin-Ross, who has also received an Alumni Appeal scholarship, says they’d have been “pretty much homeless” if they hadn’t received the scholarship, as they have been living in a caravan with their sister and four-year-old nephew, in Ōpōtiki in the Bay of Plenty.

“We drove down, we put everything into the car and wobbled across on the ferry.”

Oceania-Blue, who is doing a double major in Computer Science and English, says they came to Otago mostly for the Exchange Programme offered by the University, and wants to take the opportunity to study in California.

Oceania-Blue says they wouldn’t have been able to afford to come to Otago without the scholarship, as it has helped pay for accommodation in Te Rangihīroa College, which they wouldn’t have been able to afford otherwise.

“I will definitely be able to work less. I imagined when coming down here I’d have to get job immediately, now I have time while settling in, a buffer to figure out where I am in the city.”

Interested in coding, Oceania-Blue wants to create video games. “My passion is story-writing, I want to use computer science and the skills I gain to create video games and digital products that tell stories.”

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